They say public speaking is one of the most common fears. Imagine you’re a first term board president who doesn’t have a lot of experience in public speaking. Especially not to a group as large as your HOA. Especially not to a meeting where a contested issue may come up.

I’m afraid I won’t know what to say if someone brings up an unusual motion, or complains about something during the “new business” section of the meeting. What can I do to make sure I handle this huge, important meeting professionally?

Parliamentary Tip: Create a meeting script, plus have on hand sample scripts for “contingencies” such as handling a contested motion or a disruptive member. Lots of parliamentary resources, including the websites of professional parliamentarians Jim Slaughter and Nancy Sylvester, have sample scripts that you can adapt for your meeting.

Scripts are most useful when you are formally presiding over a meeting. They help keep you on track and give you the confidence to run any meeting efficiently and professionally.

Knowing when NOT to follow a script is important too. For example, don’t simply read from a script during the question and answer section of a meeting. Even if you’ve carefully planned ahead and scripted answers to the tough questions you’re expecting, try to speak directly to owners when answering those questions.

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