Some additional tools to help you control an unruly meeting are summarized below:
- If the board anticipates a heated discussion at a meeting, attempt to diffuse the problem prior to the meeting by discussing concerns with the upset individuals prior to the meeting;
- Require owners who wish to speak on a topic to sign up at the beginning of the meeting, rather than calling on raised hands during the meeting;
- Set specific time limits for any owner desiring to speak, which should be uniform for all speakers;
- Allow an owner to only speak once on a particular topic;
- Appoint a committee to investigate the issue and report back to the board;
- Have the association’s attorney present, which can help to reign in emotions.
While many associations have conduct-of-meetings policies and set ground rules for meetings as described above, it is the responsibility of the chair of the meeting to retain control and follow the policy or ground rules.
The chair of the meeting must be organized, composed and remain calm. If the chair is faced with a particularly hostile or difficult owner, the chair should first warn the person and call him or her to order. If the difficult owner refuses to come to order the chair should ask the disruptive owner to leave the meeting. This should be a last resort, however. An alternative to removing the disruptive person is to adjourn the meeting and reconvene again when emotions have cooled.