HOA Board Meeting Decorum
HOA board meeting decorum requires that participants know, understand, and comply with the rules. The chairman of the meeting is charged with enforcing the meeting decorum rules. Also, the board has adopted Robert’s Rules of Order, the chairman should follow the rules of decorum discussed in Robert’s Rules of Order > Rules Governing Debate. They are discussed here:
At the HOA board meeting, Confine All Remarks to the Merits of the Pending Question
- Any members’ remarks must be germane to and have a direct bearing on the question before the board.
- Do not interrupt a speaker who has the floor.
- Every speaker has the right to use his or her time to speak without interruption.
- The chairman must control the meeting to prevent interruptions.
- All members must refrain from attacking a member or his/her motive.
- A member must avoid personalities, and under no circumstances can he attack or question the motives of another member, or call another member a derogatory name.
- The issue, not the member, is the subject of debate.
The moment one member begins to attack another member, the chairman must act immediately and decisively to stop the member, and prevent any recurrence.
Adhere to the Time Restriction
The HOA board should require a time limit, such as 2 minutes, or 3 minutes, depending on the amount of business to be conducted and the overall time allotted for the meeting. Each speaker should be respectful of other members and plan their remarks to fit within the allotted time frame.
The HOA board chairman does not have the authority to allow extra time. Only the board may extend the time. If the chairman believes the speaker should have another minute or two, he can say to the board,
“If there is no objection, we will allow the speaker another 2 minutes.” (Then pause.) Next, he can say,
“Hearing no objections, the speaker has another 2 minutes.”
If there is an objection, then the speaker either has to stop, or someone on the board can make a motion so that the majority of the board can decide.
HOA board members should address all remarks through the chair
Generally, address all remarks through the chair. Avoid the use of members’ names. The proper way to refer to another person is to say “the member” who spoke last, etc. However, in a small board consisting of neighbors, that requirement may be a bit too impersonal. If one’s name is not mentioned in a derogatory manner, using the person’s name should be fine. It’s up to the board how they would like to amend these rules to best fit in with the atmosphere they wish to provide.
Refrain from Disturbing the Assembly
No member may disturb the assembly by whispering or being distracting in any other way.
HOA Board Meeting Decorum Requires Active Listening
Every director should learn how to be an active listener. Here are several suggestions:
- Look at the speaker while she is speaking.
- Try to understand what the speaker is communicating.
- Do not be thinking of your response while the speaker has the floor.
- Try to summarize what you believe the speaker is saying in order to show that you are listening closely and want to understand the speaker’s position.
- Ask questions to more fully understand what the speaker is trying to communicate.