Effective Communication Key to Building Strong Community

When you began your position on the Board of your community association, you probably thought about what you, based on your life experiences, might be able to bring to the Board. Perhaps you are an accountant or a contractor. Perhaps you are an attorney or a landscaper. Due to the diversity of issues you will address on the Board, nearly every profession or trade has something to bring to the Board table.

Still, probably the single most important skill you can bring to the Board is the ability to communicate with others. As a Board member, you will find yourself communicating with other Board members on a regular basis and with other homeowners on a basis more regular that you might imagine. Harmonious communities all have boards that communicate effectively with each other and with other homeowners.

When communication is lacking, situations that don't have to get out of hand can do so quite quickly. Miscommunication causes alienation of homeowners, inefficient board dealings, and general discontent in the community. We also find that it is often at the point that communication has completely broken down that we, as attorneys, are brought on board to handle the situation. While we are always happy to take your calls, we believe that many misunderstandings can and should be addressed through communication prior to legal involvement.

Here are some things to think about when handing a difficult situation. Keep in mind: this list is by no means exhaustive and every situation is different.

1.Listen!
2.Learn to recognize and acknowledge the concerns of others.
3.Express your position in a measured and clear manner. Try not to allow emotion to creep in.
4.Be aware of the impact your position has on others.
5.These are just the very tip of effective communication. When an issue arises, or if you are just generally interested in effective communication, research ideas from others. Communication is an old art and there is no shortage of information available.

If legal action cannot be avoided, keep in mind that adequate communication with your attorney is equally as important. The service your attorney is able to provide you will only increase with clear and concise information. Make sure you communicate all the facts of the situation, as well as what outcome the association hopes to achieve through legal involvement. The outcome, especially, may drive the legal action, if any, that is required and is, therefore, and important piece of the communication puzzle.

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