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 the final installment, we’ll review when it’s most appropriate to communicate verbally. You can read parts one, two and three here.
Verbal communication, in my opinion, is the most powerful method of communication. It’s easier to ensure that each party clearly understands one another. However, when communicating verbally to an audience, be mindful of the following guidelines:
- Be sure you have everyone’s full attention.
- Manage inter-communication among parties to make sure everyone in the group receives the same message.
- Try to mitigate interruptions that naturally occur because of a loss of concentration because these could lead to misunderstandings.
- Before action is taken, create a follow-up communication with all parties after a meeting to be sure that everyone was in fact on the same page.
Never assume that everyone is on the same page and has a clear understanding. Slow down, review your current communication procedures and enhance them if necessary. Make every effort to ask questions and allow individuals to have the opportunity to ask their questions. Take measures before implementing an approved project, e.g., send out a quick communication advising everyone the project is ready to commence and find out if there are additional questions and comments. Send follow-up communications on a project as the project moves forward and evolves. Inform everyone involved when a project has been completed.
One final suggestion—when working with groups of individuals on a regular basis, send out weekly updates. When properly executed, these communication suggestions will help ensure that everyone understands and is aware.
The bottom line: each form of communication available has pros and cons; in order to make communication for your community association a success, you should incorporate a mix of these communication methods and get feedback from your teams to determine what works best for you. No matter what your communication strategy, make sure the most pertinent information for your community is always readily available through a community website and keep the lines of communication open through ongoing touchpoints.
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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