New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide




New Board Members' Common Rookie Mistakes and How to Avoid them

Amelia J. Adair in Board Operations on December 7, 2012

New York City

Dec. 7, 2012

Failure to start on time. Even if everyone isn't signed in yet or you're not ready to formally start the meeting, stand up at the start time to announce what's going on and when the meeting will start.
Failure to check for a quorum. Write the quorum requirement on your agenda or script, and announce "We have a quorum" once you know for sure.
Failure to allow discussion on a motion. Assuming it's a proper motion, restate it, then ask "Is there any discussion?" before calling for the vote.
Failure to call for the "no's". If you asked the questions "All in favor?" then you must end a vote by asking "All opposed?" even if it seemed unanimous.
Allowing someone else to dominate the meeting. As the chair, you're in charge unless you give someone else permission to speak.
Failure to follow the agenda. If you have to change the agenda, say so, then stick to the amended agenda.  Don't  just skip from topic to topic.
Allowing conversations between members or discussions off-topic. Say "Let's take one person/thing at a time," then acknowledge whoever has your permission to speak or what topic is being discussed.
Becoming defensive. Relax, listen with empathy, and say "Thank you for your feedback."  Your role is not to answer every complaint, but to make sure every member has the opportunity to be heard, and to vote.
Becoming confused. Yes, a lot may be happening during a big meeting.  If things start to get complicated, call for a short recess to get yourself organized.
Failure to listen. Condo / co-op board meetings are wonderful opportunities to learn what your residents think and what's happening in the community. Listen, take notes, and follow up after the meeting.
Amelia J. Adair is an associate at the law firm Hindman Sanchez and a 10-year member of the Community Associations Institute. This is adapted from her article at her firm's website.

For more, see our Site Map or join our Archive >>

Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?