One of the biggest complaints we hear from homeowners all over the country is the lack of communication from the Board. No communication to your homeowners fosters the appearance of subversive activity, even though we know anyone can attend the Board meeting that simply is not enough. The wrong communication can be just as damaging, how often you have seen a newsletter that is a list of “don’t do this, don’t do that”, this really does not qualify as communication.
So let’s agree that positive communication to your homeowners, about your activities and generally what’s going on in the community is a good thing. It will help promote a feeling of belonging for your homeowners, help control the naysayers and maybe even develop of sense of community. After all, you the Board are the servants of your homeowners, make them feel a part of and they will support you completely. And without knowing what they want how can you accomplish this service? Now we all know that some of the things homeowners might want are not practical, impossible or at times ‘intelligently challenged”, but that doesn’t mean their thoughts should not be heard and it especially does not mean you should not communicate why or why not something might be considered. If it’s complicated, make them part of the process, committees, committees, committees. After all if they are not willing to participate they cannot really complain. (Well they can)
So let’s talk communication. With all the technology at our finger tips you would think that would be the easy part, but formulating a plan and the best method sometimes can be a challenge. With the advance of social media, new possibilities for communication have been brought to the forefront. Recently I met with an HOA Board that used twitter to communicate almost all information. It did not take much time the Board committee and management sent our short twits of Meeting dates, reminders, community interest activities, Board meeting summaries, etc.. It was also used as a director to the community’s website for more in-depth information. The homeowners surveyed felt completely in the loop, and a positive side effect was reduced communication to the Board and management via traditional formats thereby allowing more productive time for both.
Develop a communication plan, a good start is to ask your homeowners via a survey what they would like to be kept apprised of, choose a media and you’re off. Of course use common sense in the information conveyed and discusses with your counsel any legal restrictions they might be in your state.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. George Bernard Shaw