Surveys have found that speaking in public is one of many people’s top fears. Perhaps that’s one reason why, when preparing for homeowner meetings, the president usually spends most of his or her time anticipating how best to handle difficult issues, and comparatively little time preparing for the president’s report.
It’s natural for a president to want to be sure that, during a homeowner meeting, the “opposition” doesn’t give other owners a mistaken impression about issues or board policies they disagree with. Unfortunately, presidents often ask us about parliamentary techniques to keep “the opposition” from bringing up, or talking too much about, difficult issues. Such a focus on defensive tactics could lead a president to miss an important opportunity to demonstrate positive leadership.
Always give a president’s report during a homeowner meeting. The president’s report is your opportunity to “play offense”, not defense by, among other things, explaining your vision for the community and how the Board’s policies are going to help achieve that vision. Be sure to prepare that report thoughtfully, using good public speaking techniques. For example, keep your report brief, well-organized, meaningful and positive.
Too often the president’s report is only a short list of past achievements, maybe including some upcoming events. Although this is useful information, it shouldn’t be the core of your president’s report. Instead, your primary message should be about your vision and encouraging others to share it. Yes, even if you aren’t running for the Board again!
Any organization, including a homeowners association, runs best when its leader has a positive vision for the organization and motivates others to share that vision — and take action. Even if you aren’t running for the Board again, you have the opportunity to do something very positive for the good of your community by sharing your vision. That’s why you ran for the Board in the first place, right?
Sample “vision” questions to ask yourself when preparing a president’s report:
- What is my vision for this community?
- Why did I run for the Board?
- What is the most important thing the Board can do to make this community better over the next year?
- Who are the leaders of this community and what have they done over the past year that I admire?
- What past achievement of the Board am I the most proud of?
- What upcoming activity am I the most excited about participating in?