Best Practices for Hosting a Hybrid Board Meeting
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners’ associations (HOAs) and property management companies have changed how they operate. One of the most significant changes is the transition to a remote or hybrid work environment. Within this new work environment, leaders have had to implement hybrid board meetings as a way for managers and boards to stay connected.
With almost 80% of meetings now happening online, it’s important to be well-educated about hybrid meetings and how you can make the most of one. Read on to learn more.
What is a hybrid meeting?
A hybrid meeting is a gathering of both in-person and remote attendees. Remote attendees can join the meeting through a virtual meeting platform such as Google Meet or Zoom. Those who prefer to attend meetings in person have the luxury to do so, while others with health concerns or travel constraints can participate virtually.
What are the pros and cons of hybrid board meetings?
Although hybrid meetings have mostly positive results, hosting them has some cons, too. Here are a few of each.
Hybrid board meeting pros include:
- Increases productivity, punctuality, and participation
- Offers scheduling flexibility
- Improves the chance of reaching the HOA’s quorum (a meeting that can only follow through if the required number of board members are in attendance)
- Eliminates the need to conduct meetings in a large facility
- Scales project timelines and task completions
Hybrid board meeting cons include:
- Lowers engagement because people may not feel comfortable speaking up
- Causes potential disruptions from technical difficulties or slow internet connection
- Results in delays, confusion, or frustration from a lack of presence or engagement
How to Conduct a Highly Effective Hybrid Board Meeting in 10 Steps
As remote work and digital transformation continue to gain traction, hybrid meetings are becoming increasingly popular among boards. Here are 10 simple steps to help you host an effective hybrid meeting that maximizes collaboration, understanding, and productivity.
Step 1. Know your community bylaws
An important part of conducting a hybrid meeting is knowing your community’s bylaws. Depending on the HOA, some boards may have specific rules and guidelines regarding hybrid meetings. If you need more information regarding virtual meetings for HOA in your state, contact your legal team with questions or concerns.
Step 2. Choose a platform
Once you’ve reviewed your bylaws, decide on a virtual meeting platform that’ll suit your board’s needs. Common options include:
- Google Meet - Google Meet provides participants the ability to host high-quality virtual meetings from any device.
- Zoom - Zoom is a digital communication platform that allows participants to connect via video, audio, phone, and chat.
- Cisco Webex – Webex’s tight security will guarantee your meetings remain confidential and doesn’t require a time limit.
- Dialpad – Dialpad is ideal for teams of 10 or fewer and meetings shorter than 45 minutes.
Step 3. Get the right tools
To be successful, your board must have the right equipment. Tools to improve the meeting experience include:
- High-speed internet
- Laptop computer
- HDMI cord
- High-quality speakers
- High-quality microphones
- Monitor or projector
Step 4. Test equipment before holding your meeting
Testing is necessary to run a meeting. To prevent technical errors or interruptions, have your team conduct a test meeting using both speakers and microphones. You’ll save time and won’t need to reschedule. If needed, contact your IT team about technical issues or concerns.
Step 5. Notify participants
A good rule of thumb when setting up virtual meetings is to notify participants at least three days in advance. Since board members have different responsibilities, they most likely have varying schedules. You can do this via email or your property management app, like TownSq.
Step 6. Set meeting rules
To maximize participation, encourage attendees to:
- Find a neutral background without distractions, or use a green screen background.
- Turn on their cameras to be visually present.
- Use the chat box if they have any questions to avoid interrupting the speaker.
Step 7. Assign a meeting facilitator and mediator
Assigning a meeting facilitator and mediator is crucial. By designating these roles, boards can ensure their meetings are productive, and opinions are valued and considered. This also helps to build trust and collaboration, leading to better decision-making and outcomes.
A facilitator guarantees the meeting runs smoothly by keeping everyone on track, managing time, and encouraging participation. In most cases, this can be your HOA president or someone assigned by the board.
A mediator helps resolve conflicts or disagreements during the meeting, confirming all members are heard and everyone makes unbiased and fair decisions.
Step 8: Take meeting minutes
In most cases, meeting minutes, or an official written record of what occurred during a meeting, are required. Hybrid meetings are no exception.
The person responsible for taking minutes must pay attention to the speaking participants. To do this efficiently, the minute taker should have two screens next to one another, so they don’t miss anything during the meeting, including messages in the chat box.
Remember, video recording doesn’t replace minutes. Minutes must be physically written or typed as a permanent form of documentation.
Step 9: Vote on topics during a meeting
With digital voting, participants can cast their votes from wherever they are, and boards get fast, real-time results. And when you have urgent matters like a major leak or architectural requests, holding a vote during your meeting where everyone is present will save you time and stress.
The easiest way to conduct an online vote, depending on the community’s bylaws regarding online voting, HOAs can use third-party platforms like TownSq. The digital voting function allows boards and managers to:
- Create ballots.
- Vote anonymously.
- Get real-time results.
- Analyze data and total votes.
All that in a single platform.
Step 10: Choose a meeting closer
After you wrap up the meeting, have someone stand in as the closer. This person stays until the end to confirm everyone leaves the meeting correctly and properly logs out. The closer can also be responsible for communicating follow-up questions or feedback after the meeting.
Take your meetings to the next level
Because hybrid meetings are more popular than ever, it's essential to know how to host them effectively. Despite potential challenges, online meetings bring many benefits to HOA boards, including increased productivity, flexibility, and higher chances of meeting quorum. If you want to further improve your communication, take a look at how board members can become better listeners.