Community association board members spend a lot of time communicating — whether it’s with one another, community members, vendors or your management company. If communication is ineffective, the whole community could end up paying the price. With so much of an association’s success tied to communication, I want to share a few best practices in a four-part series. In this installment, we’ll look at how letter-writing can keep your board informed and how to make sure your detailed communications are meeting the mark. Click here to read parts one and two.
Formal letter writing can sometimes feel like a lost art amidst the comparatively newer, cooler ways of communicating, but don’t be confused, when it comes to record-keeping, letter writing is still one of the best forms of communications when working with your association board.
Letters and reports in the community association management industry are used primarily to summarize current, past, and future events. They should be simple and as concise as possible and should clearly identify the subject being discussed.
Here are 4 tips to improve your association letters and reports:
- Keep it simple. It is imperative the report is organized in such a manner that a person can follow along without having to struggle going through multiple pages to find information. Keep supporting documentation together and in order and if the content is longer, consider including page numbers and a table of contents. If you’re sending the communication out electronically, you can even add anchors so that each section on the table of contents, goes directly to that page in the document.
- Stick to the subject. Each document or report should cover one main idea. If the topic is complex — a multiphase development project or board meeting minutes, for example — you can include sub-sections, but to keep the message clear and avoid confusion, stick to one idea per document or report.
- Get feedback. When physically presenting a report, allow each attendee to respond for clarification and ensure that every individual in attendance is following along and is clear about the conversation. Check to see if they understand by periodically asking each attendee if he/she has any questions. It’s also a good idea to ask questions about the report to make sure everyone is in sync.
- Provide support. Some attendees might not understand certain documents and may require special training. If you encounter this issue regularly, you should consider offering training services.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kirk Bliss is the President of Associa Arizona. Bliss is responsible for setting strategy, directing management operations, client relations, training, business development, strategic planning and leading local executive associates within the Scottsdale, Gold Canyon and Tucson offices. Work with Kirk!
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