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Tapping the full potential of Community Meetings

MAIN IMAGE: MAIN IMAGE: Danie van der Merwe, Director WeconnectU

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Ask any Community Manager in charge of multiple Bodies Corporate and HOAs about their biggest challenges and you’ll find two recurring themes:

  1. Overwhelming volumes of emails and phone calls
  2. Innumerable community meetings

These challenges are fairly easy to understand when you look at the scope of a Community Manager’s role, which includes:

  • Overseeing community budgets and finances
  • Managing various projects
  • Acting as primary point of contact and relationship manager for all stakeholders
  • Reporting to key stakeholders like trustees and directors
  • Running and overseeing crucial meetings where strategic decision are made

You may notice that these responsibilities closely mirror those of a corporate Managing Director. Instead of safeguarding the value of a business, however, Community Managers safeguard their community’s most valuable assets – their homes.

Of course, unlike your average MD, Community Managers typically handle not one or two, but up to 20 or 30 communities. With average communities housing between 150 and 250 residents, that means Community Managers often serve as the primary contact point for between 4500 to 6000 people!

No wonder Community Managers are swamped with emails and phone calls, and meetings!

Thankfully, WeconnectU has solutions to both challenges. Today’s we’ll focus on the community meetings side of the equation, and how you can tap into the extraordinary potential they hold.

Key challenges of Community Meetings

Legally, Community Managers are obligated to conduct at least one AGM and four trustee meetings for each community, every year. These meetings are more than just legislative hoops to jump through, however.

They serve as vital touchpoints for Community Managers to engage with their communities and drive progress on critical, high-impact matters. These include strategic decisions, approving budgets, and selecting new trustees (to name a few).

As important as they are, these meetings create their fair share of challenges, including a heavy workload made worse by increasing complexity.

The workload

Any meeting takes time and effort to prepare and run. A recent survey of 400 Property Managers revealed just how much time and effort community meetings take.

  • Average preparation, running, and conclusion time for an AGM: 7 hours
  • Average preparation, running, and conclusion time for a Trustee meeting: 4 hours
  • Average number of annual meetings per community: 5

For a typical Community Manager managing 20 to 30 buildings, that means 100 – 150 meetings per year. That’s an average of 575 hours or 72 full working days spent in or on community meetings.

Increasing complexity

Community meetings have always had their complexities. Traditionally, they were held in person, often after hours, and required organising both venues and catering, for example.

The pandemic-driven transition to online meeting formats solved some of these inconveniences, but added a few of its own. For example: popular meeting platforms like Zoom and MS Teams aren’t designed to facilitate compliant AGMs and voting, which makes calculating quorums and voting results based on participation quotas extremely difficult.

Post-pandemic, the meeting environment has become even more complicated, with Community Managers now expected to facilitate hybrid meetings combining both online and in-person elements. This has significantly increased the time and effort burden.

Unlocking the value of Community Meetings

So how can Community Managers overcome these challenges to unlock the full value of Community Meetings?

The first step is to understand what that value is.

While often viewed as an annoying obligation (by managers and communities alike) community meetings also present managers with a valuable opportunity to:

  • Showcase industry knowledge and experience through expert advice designed to guide (and impress) trustees and owners
  • Influence key community decisions to support optimal outcomes
  • Display leadership and expertise, spotlighting their professional value

In order to tap into this opportunity, however, Community Managers need to focus on two, key themes:

1. Maximising value extraction

To maximise the value extracted from community meetings, Community Managers need to get to grips with both the controllable and uncontrollable elements they face.

That means identifying what can be controlled, before, during and after the meeting, and applying best principles to successfully manage these elements to enhance meeting outcomes.

It also means understanding what cannot be controlled (e.g. the attitudes and behaviour of attendees) and developing strategies to prevent and/or manage unpredictable situations as they arise. This could include embracing proactive communication, actively fostering a positive meeting environment, and addressing challenges as they arise to prevent escalation.

Did you know? WeconnectU advocates for the development of a Community Meeting Manifesto to guide and standardise all community meetings, ensuring consistent and effective practices across the industry.

2. Minimising time and effort spent

Efficient meeting processes that leverage technology as an enabler can significantly reduce the time and effort involved in community meetings, enhancing their value by reducing their cost.

Standard Operating Procedures should be developed for both pre- and post-meeting activities, including agenda creation, invitations, participant engagement, voting and follow-up actions.

Today’s Community Management technology solutions make this process much easier, while also facilitating seamless meeting management, voting and documentation. Technology can also be used to enhance communication, automate many administrative tasks, and ensure accurate record-keeping, saving Community Managers countless hours.

Up next

In the upcoming months, we’ll be running a series of articles delving more deeply into these two Community Meeting Management optimisation themes. Stay tuned for more valuable insights and practical strategies that empower Community managers to derive the ultimate value from their community meetings.

About WeconnectU’s MeetingSpace

WeconnectU offers a truly end-to-end Community Meeting Management tool called MeetingSpace. It solves all the major challenges related to community meetings, whether conducted online, in-person or a combination. MeetingSpace as a meeting solution has proven extremely effective at helping community managers conduct more professional community by ensuring that meeting are more compliant and manageable.

REQUEST A DEMOhttps://weconnectu.co.za/contact/

READ OUR BLOGhttps://weconnectu.co.za/news/ 

CONTACT US – 086 999 0756

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