Challenging Meetings and Difficult People

As a body corporate, managing meetings such as Annual General Meetings (AGMs), Extraordinary General Meetings (EGMs), and committee meetings can sometimes be a challenging task. These meetings are crucial for decision-making and are an opportunity for members of the body corporate to voice their concerns and opinions. However, they can often become heated and unproductive. In this article, we will discuss how to manage difficult meetings effectively.

Strategies for Managing Meetings Effectively

  1. Preparation is Key – Before the meeting, ensure that all relevant documents and information are distributed to all members. This includes the agenda, minutes of the previous meeting, financial reports, and any other relevant reports. Members should be provided the legislated time frame at a minimum, to review the information and come prepared to the meeting with any questions or concerns. In order for your queries to be addressed during a meeting it may be a good idea to pose the question prior to the meeting, so any investigations may be done prior to enable the respondent to provide an answer to the meeting.
  2. Set Ground Rules – Establishing ground rules at the beginning of the meeting is essential to manage difficult discussions effectively. These ground rules should include time limits for speaking, no interruptions, and respectful behaviour towards other members. Make sure all members are aware of these rules and are willing to follow them.
  3. Chair the Meeting Effectively – A good chairperson can make a significant difference in the success of the meeting. They should be impartial, clear, and concise in their communication, and should encourage participation from all members. The chairperson should ensure that the meeting is on track, and all agenda items are addressed. Alternatively, you can delegate the role to your body corporate manager on pre-agreed conditions set out in the management contract.
  4. Focus on the Issues – It’s essential to focus on the issues at hand and not allow discussions to become personal. If a member becomes disruptive or personal, the chairperson should calmly remind them of the ground rules and redirect the conversation back to the agenda item. If necessary, adjourn the meeting and reconvene at a later date.
  5. Encourage Participation – Encouraging participation from all members is critical. All members should have an opportunity to express their opinions, and the chairperson should ensure that no one dominates the conversation. Consider using a round-robin approach to give everyone an opportunity to speak.
  6. Follow up – After the meeting, ensure that all decisions and actions are documented and distributed to all members. Follow up on any action items to ensure they are completed in a timely manner.

 

Managing difficult meetings requires preparation, effective communication, and a willingness to follow ground rules. By establishing ground rules, focusing on the issues, and encouraging participation, difficult meetings can be managed effectively. A good chairperson can make a significant difference, and it’s essential to follow up on any actions to ensure they are completed.

Dealing With Difficult People.

Dealing with difficult people in meetings can be a challenging task, but it’s essential to manage them effectively to ensure that the meeting remains productive and respectful. Here are some tips on how to deal with difficult people in meetings:

  1. Listen actively and empathetically: When someone is being difficult, it’s important to listen actively and try to understand their perspective. Listening empathetically can help to defuse tension and show that you value their input.
  2. Stay calm and composed: It’s essential to remain calm and composed, even when dealing with difficult people. If someone is being aggressive or confrontational, responding in kind will only escalate the situation.
  3. Don’t take it personally: It’s important to remember that the difficult behaviour is not a reflection of you personally. Don’t take their behaviour personally and focus on the issues at hand.
  4. Address the behaviour, not the person: When dealing with difficult people, it’s essential to address their behaviour, not the person. For example, if someone is interrupting repeatedly, you can say, “I appreciate your input, but please allow others to speak.”
  5. Redirect the conversation: If a discussion is becoming unproductive, redirect the conversation to the agenda item at hand. You can say, “Let’s focus on the issue we’re discussing right now,” or “Let’s stay on topic.”
  6. Use positive reinforcement: When someone is being constructive and contributing to the discussion, use positive reinforcement to encourage them. For example, you can say, “Thank you for your input, it’s valuable,” or “I appreciate your perspective.”
  7. Seek outside help if necessary: If someone is being extremely difficult or disruptive, you may need to seek outside help to manage the situation. This could include bringing in a mediator or adjourning the meeting and reconvening at a later date.

 

Dealing with difficult people in strata meetings requires active listening, composure, and a focus on the issues at hand. Addressing the behaviour, using positive reinforcement, and redirecting the conversation can help to manage difficult behaviour effectively. If necessary, seeking outside help can also be a valuable strategy. By following these tips, difficult people can be managed effectively, and meetings can remain productive and respectful.

Non-Committee Members at Committee Meetings

Lot owners who are not committee members can attend committee meetings, but they are there merely as an observer. There is no official requirement to allow a lot owner to speak at the meeting and if the chair of the meeting does not feel that allowing the lot owner to speak will be productive or useful, then they have the right to disallow it. However, there are also many positive reasons to allow a lot owner to speak including:

  • The lot owners will feel like they are being listened to and this could be something that helps settle whatever the conflict is.
  • Allowing a lot owner to speak can sometimes save time as it can reduce unnecessary emails and other correspondence that would take place. 
  • The lot owner may have expertise in an area that the committee lacks, which can assist with decision making and be in the best interests of the body corporate.

 

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