6 Tips on How to Become a More Effective Board Member

effective-board

Serving on the board of your homeowners association (HOA) or condo community association can be a very rewarding experience. You’re able to have a greater impact and influence on how things are run and be an integral part of decision making. But given the importance of these tasks, it is a job to be taken seriously and one you must be prepared to assume. When vying for a spot on the board, make sure you’re ready for the commitment and dedication to making your community an even better place to live and resolving issues that arise.

Here are a few ways to boost your effectiveness as a board member:

1. Read the governing documents

This may seem obvious, but make sure you’re familiar with the rules and regulations of your community before you’re tasked with trying to enforce them. If you’re unsure about something, know where to find these documents so that you can do some research before responding. Putting everything online using Evercondo can be a great way to stay organized and quickly find what you need. It’s hard to fault someone for not following the rules if you’re not even sure what the exact rules are. Plus, familiarizing yourself with these documents can help you to develop better process improvements or projects.

2. Seek mentorship

If you’re new to the board, turn to more experienced members for guidance. Talk to others who served on the board and find out what they wish they had known when starting, or if they have any tips. Glean insight from them on how you can ensure you’re doing your part and making a positive difference. Experienced board members also have better knowledge about how issues were handled in the past and what has worked and not worked.

3. Read up on Association news

It’s a good idea to stay abreast of any legal issues that may affect how your condo association is run. This could include topics such as rent, leases, building approvals, safety concerns, contracts, and much more. Stay current on what is happening not just locally, but nationally as well and how it may impact your association and its residents. Don’t forget to inform residents as you learn more too.

4. Participate in professional development

There is always more to learn. Be proactive in participating in professional development and refining your skills. Organizations such as the Community Association Institute (CAI) offer workshops, seminars, and courses specifically for board members and other leaders. If your budgeting skills aren’t quite up to par, or you’re struggling with conflict management, take advantage of learning opportunities.

5. Keep an open mind

Just because something has always been done one way does not mean that is the only way. Be open to implementing change and figuring out ways to do things better. Listen to residents and try to work with them to find agreeable solutions and create positive change that will benefit the association for the future.

6. Get to know residents

Now that you’re on the board, you’re a face of the HOA or condo association. Introduce yourself to residents and be actively involved in the community so that people know who you are and you’re not just another faceless name making decisions. Building trust and positive relationships can help smooth the way, improve the sense of community, and increase buy-in.

Becoming a board member can be a wonderful way to give back and know that you’re making a difference. Just make sure that you’re ready to assume all of the responsibilities that come with it and are passionate about what you’re doing.

Evercondo is the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick and useful communication between community managers, HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or sign up for a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy today!

5 Tips to Improve Communication with HOA Communities

Improve HOA communication

Communication is key in any relationship, and Condo and HOA communities are no exception. In order to foster a more peaceful environment, curb violations, and reduce misunderstandings, the board should strive to keep community members in the loop.

Well-educated members are often more satisfied and engaged with the association. And fortunately, HOAs have a variety of resources at their disposal to enhance communication and keep members informed.

1. Maintain an Updated Website.

The community website is a go-to resource not just for current residents, but also for future residents. Make it a one-stop-shop where people can find the information they’re looking for. Public access can include all of the basics about the community, its amenities, and events. A resident portal can include copies of all governing documents, forms to fill out for approvals or repairs, forms for questions or complaints, information about service providers, and updates on community events or happenings.

2. Send out Regular Newsletters.

Have a consistent schedule for the newsletter, whether it’s once a month, once a quarter, or twice a year, and stick to it. This way members know when it is coming and that it will actually arrive. Include updates about important events, upcoming projects or repairs, shout outs to recognize volunteers or success stories, and polite reminders about rules to keep in mind – especially if there have been issues with people violating certain terms.

3. Keep Emails Short and Relevant.

No one likes to have their inbox bombarded with multiple emails from the HOA each week (or day). Focus on using email blasts for the most important or time-sensitive issues. Keep messages short and to the point so that members are more likely to take the time to read them in their entirety. Decide what information should be sent via email and what is better left for the newsletter or website.

4. Make use of Social Media.

Most people are active on multiple forms of social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any combination thereof. Use these platforms to your advantage. Create pages for the HOA and use them to engage with residents, provide interesting articles and helpful tips, and promote the community. This can be a fast and simple way to reach more people.

5. Take advantage of Software and Apps.

Keep all of the HOA communications organized in one place and have access to important files and folders by using programs such as Evercondo. You can easily manage facility requests, disseminate announcements to all residents, track service requests, and much more. Society is becoming more technology-centric than ever, so it makes sense for HOAs and community managers to use the programs and apps that are available to improve operations and communication.

When residents are regularly informed about what is going on in the community and board members are all on the same page with projects and tasks, it can make condo management run more smoothly. Taking the time to listen to residents and find out what information they feel is important or areas they feel communication is lacking in can also help to direct communication efforts. Use this feedback along with available resources to set up a system that works for your community.

What are some ways that your condo or HOA community stays engaged with residents? Share your stories, tips and tricks in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo is the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick and useful communication between community managers, HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or sign up for a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy today!

6 Ways To “Go Green” in Your HOA or Condo Association

Go Green In Your HOA

There are more than 7 billion people on the Earth. We take up a lot of space and use a lot of resources. That makes implementing eco-friendly practices even more critical to preserve the environment and the resources that we do have. Trees can be cut down in the blink of an eye, but they take years to grow. HOAs and Condo Associations can do their part to protect the earth by going green and making more conscious decisions to be eco-friendly.

Here are just 6 ways your HOA or condo association can implement to start making a difference:

1. Use Paperless Communications

One of the biggest ways HOAs and COAs can be proactive is by cutting back on the amount of paper waste they create. Instead of sending out newsletters, fliers, and forms that will soon find their way into the trashcan, make use of electronic options. Create a spot on the community website or portal where governing documents, request or application forms, and other communications are kept. Send email blasts, electronic newsletters, and digital reminders instead of printing out countless pages of information. Software programs such as Evercondo can make managing and organizing electronic communications and files simple by having everything in one place.

2. Install Motion Detectors

Instead of keeping lights on all the time, use motion detectors so they’re only activated when needed. This can be done for both indoor and outdoor lights and significantly reduces energy usage. Motion sensors can also be a deterrent for suspicious activity because the lights pop on when movement is detected.

3. Use Energy-Efficient Appliances

Encourage homeowners to choose energy-efficient appliances when buying or replacing appliances in their home. Associations can also choose to use these types of devices in common areas such as business centers or clubhouses. Make sure they’re Energy Star Certified.

4. Service HVAC Systems Annually

Ensuring that the HVAC system is running efficiently is a great way to save energy and prolong the life of these systems. Regular maintenance can help to identify problems and keep the heat or air conditioning from being a drain on electricity because they are not functioning properly.

5. Promote Recycling

Many HOA and COA communities have recycling programs in place, but residents may not be taking full advantage of them. Post visual signs near recycling areas and send reminders about exactly what types of materials can be recycled. Residents may not realize that they can discard certain types of cardboard, paper, plastic, or other material. By simply raising awareness and educating homeowners, the HOA can help keep more waste out of landfills.

6. Plant Native Plants

When landscaping the area, use plants that are native to the region and are hearty. They often require less watering and maintenance. Pick plants and shrubs that are appropriate for the amount of sunlight, shade, and rainfall that the area receives. Consider installing an irrigation system to help control water usage, or limit watering to early morning or later in the evening so that it has time to soak in before the heat of the day.
Adopting more eco-friendly practices and going green can help with managing costs in the Association while also cutting down on unnecessary waste and energy usage. We only have one Earth, so we should be doing all that we can to protect it for generations to come.

What other ways have you found to go green in your HOA or condo community? Share your stories, tips and tricks in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo is the leading #gogreen web and mobile platform that facilitates quick and useful communication between property managers, HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or sign up for a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy and green today!

5 Tips For Hiring A Good HOA Community Manager

hoa-community-manager-hiring

Choosing a community manager is one of the most important decisions that a HOA and condo board will make. Talk about pressure! You need to be careful in your selection because the people who work on your community’s management team—especially those on-site—will affect quality of life for residents. So it’s important to make a smart choice.

When you hire a community management firm, they run the day-to-day operations of your community. It’s crucial to do your research when hiring a community manager so you’re confident they have what it takes to fit into your community and run things properly.

Apart from having good communication and conflict resolution skills, community managers need to have certain traits in order to be successful. Here are five tips for finding the right fit for your community:

Evaluate your last manager.

Unless you’re hiring because your community is moving from a self-managed model, your existing manager either quit or was fired. So when you choose another community management firm, board members should evaluate the last one for clues about what was missing. Be objective in your evaluation. Make a list of what you liked about the last community manager and what needs to be improved under the new firm.

Shop around, with intelligence.

Your HOA’s other service providers likely work with a number of community management firms, so ask them for recommendations. Check with people you know living in other communities, too—happy residents usually have good managers. Make a short list of the best candidates and research their reputations. Search them out online; ask for references and follow up to see how they performed for past clients. Ask references about their strengths and weaknesses as a manager. Are they accountable? How are their accounting, deadline juggling, and communication skills? If you’re evaluating large management companies, ask for the names and credentials of the team members who will provide the actual service in your community (such as the senior manager, onsite manager, or administrator) so you can research them online and check their references.

Ask the right questions.

Find out exactly what services are offered by the different community management companies you’re considering, and ask for a complete list of management fees so there are no hidden surprises. Ask about their expectations from the board, too: sick days; time off for professional development; offsite meetings; etc. Ask about their vendor relationships (do they get multiple quotes for services and have relationships with multiple vendors for the same service?); back office skills (is a live person available 24/7 in cases of emergency? Are HOA finances kept by a qualified, certified financial expert? Are they up to date on all laws governing the running of a condo or HOA?); and about their experience as community managers (for example, a gated community HOA wouldn’t hire a firm that has only managed high-rise condos).

Look for experience and credentials.

Not all property management companies are created equal. Firms that have been in business for years have a longer track record of staying current with best practices and regulatory changes. But make sure their experience covers all aspects you need: landscaping, governance, pest control, waste and recycling, special projects, etc. Verify the firms’ and individual managers’ industry designations to make sure their credentials meet your standards.

Meet with them in person.

All board members should have a chance to meet prospective managers and talk face-to-face. This way you can evaluate how well they listen and relate to people. A good community manager needs great communication skills and the ability to interact with many different people and personalities, while keeping the community’s logistics in order. You want someone proactive and resourceful who is also personable and level headed. Someone responsive, who returns calls and keeps open lines of communication so everyone in the building—residents and workers alike—feel heard. (Bonus points: give extra consideration to prospective managers who are savvy enough to use Evercondo to communicate, manage, organize and optimize operations.)

Have you ever hired a property manager? How did you choose the right person or firm for the job? Share your stories in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo is the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick and useful communication between property managers, HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or sign up for a free trial to see how we can keep your HOA and condo communities happy while saving your community managers tons of time.

3 Tips To Avoid Pet “Headaches” and Issues In Your Condo

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Source: https://fineartamerica.com

Pets are part of the family. But what happens when someone’s four-legged family member urinates in your condo lobby? Once the mess is cleaned up, how do you prevent Fido from making it a morning ritual? Beyond that, what actions can managers take to ease friction between pet owners and their neighbors who may fear or dislike animals?

In condo lifestyle advertisements, you sometimes see developers promoting their communities as “pet friendly”. For them it’s a competitive advantage—they offer rooftop dog runs, outside pet park areas, doggie spa baths. Anything to entice their target market: owners of pampered urban pets.

But being “pet friendly” happens on a spectrum in condo communities. Because the Condominium Act gives corporations the freedom to spell out specific pet policies for their buildings, rules range between pets being forbidden on one extreme, to pets being encouraged on the other.

The fact is, condo living and pets only coexist peacefully when the rules are clear and people follow them. And even though the rules are written into a condo’s governing documents, not all residents may be fully aware of what is and is not allowed.

Nor can you be sure everyone will follow the rules, even if they do understand them.

To avoid untenable scenarios, managers and boards need to make sure that pet ownership rules are as transparent as possible for residents. These three tips can help you define it:

Clarify the pet policy in the governing documents.

Make sure the condominium by-laws have a section dedicated to pet policies that spells out specific rules for pet ownership. For example, the maximum number of pets allowed per unit; forbidding commercial breeding; requiring all pets to be screened and registered before they move in. The more detailed you are in your by-laws (and the more transparent you are with residents), the easier it is to lay down the law.

Beware of “grandfathers” condo bylaws.

Condo bylaws are amended and pet policies change over time. For example, a community may decide to prohibit certain dog breeds and enact a new law to that effect. Existing pet owners are usually protected by “grandfather” bylaw clauses, which can make the rules seem ambiguous and certainly harder to navigate. Make sure the rules are spelled out clearly for residents, new and old. Include relevant dates that establish exactly when grandfather rules apply. Managers should get to know which residents fall under these special cases so they don’t try to enforce new rules on current pet owners.

Plan out violation procedures to help alleviate conflict.

No one wants to be the pet pariah of the building. But that doesn’t stop certain people from sneaking their 45-pound dog out at night because the condo bylaws state a 30-pound limit. This can lead to awkward conflicts between neighbors and detract from the community’s overall quality of life. To alleviate this, make sure you have established procedures for dealing with pet owners who flout the rules—and a communications plan for notifying them of what to expect if it continues.

Do you consider your condo to be pet friendly? How are conflicts over pet ownership rules resolved? Share your stories in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

How To Write Emails That Get The Job Done

effective-email

How many times have you ask yourself “Why doesn’t she get back to me?” I mean, seriously, how long does it take for someone to reply to an email. It only takes a few minutes but why does it take so long. Getting someone to do something is hard, it’s even harder when you’re asking your customers (a.k.a. the board members) via email. The importance of writing a good email cannot be overemphasized. Things need to get done and your emails to your residents need to be good. Period.

Formalities aside, a good email is a simple one. Easy enough to be understood by a 5th grader (i.e., 10 year old). Here’s a good example, why use 5th grader when you can clearly choose to use “10 year old.” In other words, why make the reader think?

To master the art of effective email writing, property managers can borrow from the lowliest form of communication: direct mail copywriting.

Direct mail copy is, well, direct. It’s persuasive, politely blunt, and makes it easy for recipients to respond. All those flyers and letters that go from your mailbox straight into the recycling bin—they’re a goldmine of inspiration.

You simply transfer those direct mail attributes to your email writing, and bammo. Timely responses in your inbox. Here’s how:

Use short, simple language.

Write your emails for clarity to avoid confusion on the part of recipients. Be succinct. Clearly explain what you want using the fewest possible words. (Top tip: remove unnecessary qualifiers – words like “very”, “really”, “extremely” – that lessen the impact of your message. It’s better to use one powerful word than two or three mediocre ones.) Long blocks of text are subject to the “tl;dr” (too long; didn’t read) phenomenon. Instead, write short, to-the-point sentences. Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs that list things. Limit paragraphs to four or five lines so they’re easy to skim—you should see lots of white space in the email message field.

Focus on a single topic.

People have short attention spans. Don’t overload them with too much information crammed into one message. Each email you send to board members should include details only relevant to the specific point you’re trying to make. Resist the urge to add a “p.s.” or ask about other (unrelated) issues.

Be specific in the “Subject” line.

A good subject line lets recipients know what your email is about right away. Write subject lines using detailed language instead of vague phrases like “Questions for you” or “Ideas to consider” and instead use something like “Feedback needed: Agenda items for 2017 AGM.” (This also makes emails easier to find if you have to search your inbox for them later.)

Remember that size matters.

There’s a reason direct mail copy uses bold lettering, big headlines, and fine print. It guides the reader’s eye to the most important messages. For email, make sure your messages are readable on a mobile phone, where most people will open them. This means using precise language to keep copy as short as possible; using at least an 11-point font for body text and a 22-point font for headlines; and having a clear call to action in the subject line.

Have an obvious call to action.

Create a sense of urgency that encourages board members to act right away. Whether it’s a contract deadline, a maintenance issue, or an event they should attend, explain in 10 words or less exactly what action you want them take. Make sure to use “active voice” rather than “passive voice”.

Examples:

  • Hit “reply” and type “Yes” to RSVP today.
  • Feedback due ASAP to meet next week’s deadline.
  • Reply to accept this meeting time or suggest another.

Do you find that board members are responsive to your emails? How do you encourage timely responses? Share your stories in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

5 Productivity Apps For HOA & Condo Managers

5 Productivity Apps for HOA and Condo Managers

Welcome to another Evercondo “tech tips” post, where we share some of the best apps and technology solutions out there for helping property managers, board members and residents get more done with less time.

We all want to be more productive in life. Fortunately we live in a time when helpful technology is plentiful and cheap—it’s never been easier to find web and phone apps that make it simple to stay organized at work and at home. Here are five of our latest favourites:

Unroll.Me (Free; iOS)

Gain control of your inbox by getting rid of junk mail and unwanted subscriptions in just a few clicks. Simply go to the Unroll.Me homepage and click on the “Get started now” button. Signup is easy (either provide your email or sign in via Google or another service). Unroll.Me gives you the option to unsubscribe from junk emails right away; keep them coming into your inbox; or to compile them into a single “Rollup” of all your subscriptions in a single place. You can choose to have your Rollup delivered in the morning, afternoon, or evening to read at your leisure—clean, simple and convenient.

LastPass (Free and paid versions; Android, iOS, Windows)

Login passwords are one of modern life’s biggest hassles. Having to remember them, having to create them each time you sign up for a new service—it’s safe to say passwords (while necessary for data security) are a waste of time. Naturally there’s an app for that. LastPass remembers your passwords (and keeps them secure) so you don’t have to. We like the LastPass Premium app ($12 per year). It’s a password vault, strong password generator and browser rolled into a single mobile app. You can sync your password vault so the LastPass browser automatically fills in forms and login details on websites, either through the in-app browser, Safari or Chrome. You can also use LastPass on all your devices for free.

Todoist (Free and paid versions; Android, iOS, Windows)

The human brain is hardwired to keep thinking about unfinished tasks. This may have worked thousands of years ago when survival was the main priority. But in today’s multitasking world it can lead to stress, overwhelm and burnout. We’ve found that Todoist is a great tool for getting things out of your head and onto your to-do list. From there it’s much simpler to organize and prioritize tasks and projects, so you know exactly what to focus on and when. Keep track of everything you need to get done and plan your day for maximum focus and productivity with Todoist. The app lets you share projects, delegate tasks, and collaborate with anyone.

Nudgemail (Free and pay-by-donation; all devices)

Maybe you dream of attaining the “zero inbox” level of productivity (or maybe you simply want a more manageable inbox). In either case, Nudgemail may be just the solution. Most of us are bombarded with e-mail requests every day. Setting up calendar alerts for each new meeting time or appointment; sending ourselves reminder emails so we don’t forget important tasks; figuring out a foolproof system for never missing a follow-up or to-do item—these are the challenges we face inside the inbox. The beauty of Nudgemail is that it turns any email service you use (the software works with all email clients and on any device) into a productivity app for creating simple reminders or follow-up notifications. So if a supplier emails you about placing an order next week, you simply forward that email to “nextweek@nudgemail.com” and Nudgemail will send it back to your inbox seven days later. Or if a resident emails you with a question that can wait until tomorrow, just forward it to “tomorrow@nudgemail.com” and deal with it when it arrives the next day. The program comes with a variety of commands (including the handy “EOD@nudgemail.com” which arrives at 6 p.m. for emails you need to address by end-of-day).

Plan (Free; iOS)

If you use more than one project platform for your work, Plan might be the tool you need to bring it all together in one place. Think of Plan as a work concierge—one that organizes projects and tasks from all the tools your team may use in a given day: calendars, email, JIRA, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Github. Use the app to plan out your day. Block chunks of time to work on important tasks; create meetings and invite teammates; view your upcoming day, week and month to stay on track. See all your action items in one place so you don’t have to worry about something slipping through the cracks.

What are your favorite productivity apps? Tell us about them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo is the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a live demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

5 Apps That Makes Life Easier for Condo / HOA Managers

apps-productivity-hoa-manager
The tech world today is more advanced and sophisticated than ever. There’s a lot that the condo / HOA management industry can benefit from but with so many options out there, where do we even begin? That’s why we will be featuring some of the best apps and technology solutions that can benefit you as a manager, board member or resident. Here are the first 5 apps that we think will help you get more done with less time.

Your workday as a manager is hectic, jam-packed with tasks to get done. But all too often your attention is hijacked by demands or situations that interfere with your other priorities. We can’t all afford a personal assistant and with only 24 hours in a day, you need technology to help you do more in less time.

A property manager’s job would try the patience of a Zen monk. Typical days are hectic and crisis-filled, making it tough to balance the overflow of “inputs” (building emergencies, requests for information, resident complaints, etc.) on top of your already-full plate.

Fortunately, technology can help take some of the pressure off and make your days easier to manage. Here are 5 easy-to-use apps for getting things done more efficiently:

Slack

Team messaging – real time communication that works. Its a chat app and who says managers and board members aren’t a team. We believe that communication between board members and property managers should be a constant activity and not just a once in a week or month chore. Slack can really get things moving and keep your inbox clean.

Grammarly

Billed as “the world’s most accurate grammar checker”, Grammarly is a free Chrome plug-in app that helps you write mistake-free on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and most other web platforms. It corrects more than 250 types of grammatical mistakes and poor vocabulary usage with word-choice suggestions that instantly improve the readability of your copy.

Boomerang

Both a mobile app and Gmail plug-in, Boomerang gives you more control over your email habits. The app lets you write emails in advance and schedule them to be sent automatically whenever you want. You can also use the app to set follow-up reminders for sent emails, so important replies don’t slip through the cracks. Boomerang is available in a free version (with 10 messages per month) as well as three other paid versions that offer more features and unlimited messages.

Calendly

One of the most frustrating things about booking meetings with the board or other groups is keeping track of the “when are you free?” back-and-forth email conversations. Calendly eliminates that problem without the need to give up control of your calendar. You simply set your availability preferences to ensure meetings only happen on your time, and keep all details of your existing appointments private. It checks your Google or Office 365 calendar for conflicts, so you’re never double-booked. The app has a free version as well as moderately priced premium and pro versions, and it can be used on a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Evercondo

Sure we’re tooting our own horn, but hear us out. Ever wondered whether your residents actually read the bulletins you sent out? Our bulletin feature allows managers to send out important notifications to all residents via email, SMS, push notification and voice calls with tracking capability. This means, when a resident opens up an email of your bulletin, it will be tracked and logged for your reference. No more worries. It’s magical. You can try Evercondo free for 30 days—sign up today to see why thousands of property managers, condo associations, and HOAs rely on it to optimize their daily operations.

What are your favorite productivity apps? Tell us about them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

3 Useful Tips on How to Deal With a HOA Resident Like Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Don’t get us wrong. We’re not taking any political positions. It’s just the reality of living in a multi residential community. We live with all sorts of people and among them are those who exhibit strong personality quirks like The Donald. It’s important for community managers and board members to be able to deal with it; Here are 3 useful tips to help you when the need arises.

Donald Trump’s tough and take-no-prisoners negotiation style is in many ways a hallmark of his success in both business and reality TV. Heck, it helped him win the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. However, it’s not something that most people can handle and if not dealt with properly in a condo or HOA community, it can cause unnecessary conflicts (i.e. lawsuits) and awkward situations for the manager, board member and residents.

Now imagine if Donald Trump is a resident living in your building or HOA. Not just a resident, but a board member. How would you handle someone like The Donald? What would your board accomplish if meetings were continually hijacked by “that” person with strong opinions, prone to emotional outbursts, and the inability to back down in an argument?

Here are three useful tips you can use to tame the beast!

1. “Flow with the wind, not against it.”

A Trump-like character is a “think out loud” and passionate person. They speak their mind without a filter and refuse to argue rationally at times — facts can sometimes mean less to them than their feelings about an issue. What can we say. People do tend to get out-of-control when they are passionate about an issue or topic. You have a better chance of successfully negotiating with them if you accept who they are rather than fighting against it.

Knowing their dominant, aggressive communication style, you can adapt your own negotiating style to complement and harmonize with theirs. This complementary approach was shown to have the best outcome in a recent study on conflict management from Harvard Law School. As a Zen master would say “Flow with the wind, not against it”.

when-dealing-with-difficult-people-try-a-complementary-approach-pon-program-on-negotiation-at-harvard-law-school-2016-11-16-16-12-14

2. Keep an open mind. Embrace change.

Whether you agree or disagree with them, a strong character will always rock the boat and challenge assumptions. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Trumps of the world are often “change agents” who want to disrupt the status quo. This can have a positive outcome in the long run and dealing with change gracefully makes you a better manager.

3. It’s all in your mindset.

Go into a discussion with the mindset that difficult people are there to help you improve your management skills. It’s an approach that will help you be unflappable in the face of their bullying or accusations because unfortunately, ignoring these people won’t make them go away. When you see them as “allies” helping you raise the bar on your interpersonal skill-level, it gives you a broader perspective towards life. (Bonus: if you can handle the most challenging person in your building, you can handle anyone!)

Do you have any other ideas or tips for handling the “resident Donald Trump” in a community? If so, share them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities warm and happy.

6 Practical Communication Tips for Busy Condo & HOA Managers

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Effective, regular communication is your key to an efficiently managed condo or HOA community and happier residents. In fact, an official “communication plan” will help you better manage risk and relationships in your job. Here are 6 practical tips that you can start using today.

Poor communication is often the cause of tension or conflict within a managed community. Proof can be found in a multi-year survey of condo owners in Ontario (which collected data from 40 percent of the province’s condo corporations).

lack-communication-condo-hoa

Almost half of the respondents (49 percent) said “lack of communication from boards of directors and/or managers” was the most common problem. Respondents cited frustration, fear, and other negative feelings due to:

  • Lack of information about board meetings
  • No response from boards and managers to enquiries or requests for information
  • Confusing accounting reports
  • Unexplained fee hikes/maintenance costs/special assessments

With all the other responsibilities a property manager juggles each day, good communication tactics may not be top of mind. But clear, open communication that speaks to your audience actually makes your job easier.

Good communication improves retention rates, builds community bonds, and educates residents about property management policies and procedures.

Fortunately, effective communication is a skill that can be developed easily and enhanced even more with the right tools. So get started on a communication plan for your community with these helpful guidelines:

1. Know your key message

Be clear in your communications by sticking to a single topic in each “message transmission” sent to residents. This is true no matter what format you’re using to communicate. Whether it’s an email to a single resident, a bulletin board post, or a seasonal report, have one clear message to avoid confusion.

Topics that matter to residents include:

  • Work orders and service requests
  • Amenities bookings
  • Problems and complaints
  • Building events
  • Condo board meetings and AGM
  • By-laws and fees
  • Fire safety and emergency testing

2. Use plain language

With millions of words in the English language to choose from, it’s easy to be misunderstood if you use unfamiliar words to get your point across. Vocabularies differ in size. The number of words (and their meanings) each person knows will vary due to environment, culture, and life experience. But when you speak or write in “plain language” you’re using words that everyone knows—a core vocabulary of about 300 familiar words used most often to express meaning and intent, usually without misunderstanding. Plain language excludes jargon, acronyms, legalese, and slang. The simplest, shortest way to say something in plain language is usually the best way.

3. Broadcast your achievements

Use your community blog or newsletter to let residents know what a great job you’re doing. Share good news about building improvements and upgrades—the freshly painted lobby, blooming garden, new hallway carpet—anything that residents will appreciate. Making the news public shows your commitment to open communication as well as your responsiveness to property maintenance.

4. Plan ahead

Map out a yearly timeline in your plan for communicating with residents and owners. Monthly meetings, calendar events, regular maintenance procedures that require alert notices—anything with a clearly defined date can be scheduled ahead of time to be posted or sent automatically. Organize all notifications, announcements and communications in one place for a strong, unified sense of ownership. Post information on discussion boards to kickstart conversations between owners/residents and property management, the board, and each other. The open communication creates a positive feeling of community—notifications, events, news, and other updates can be shared among residents and owners quickly and easily.

5. Encourage feedback (and provide feedback channels)

Communication goes both ways. Make sure residents know that your property management team is available to hear their questions, comments or concerns. Arrange annual meetings with residents/owners to get feedback in person to better understand their priorities. You can also send out surveys (online, or printed) to track how satisfied residents are with the property management and to suggest areas for improvement.

6. Technology is your best buddy

Maintaining a good flow of communication is not easy, especially when you are dealing with a community of hundreds of residents. Luckily, we now live in a world where you can even feed your dog through a smartphone. Take advantage of technology. Make it your best buddy to help you communicate better with your residents. (Shameless plug coming) A community management platform like Evercondo helps you send emails, SMS, push notification and voice broadcasts to your residents in just a few clicks.

Do you have any other communication tips for property managers? If so, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.