At least annually, real estate associations hold voting meetings to elect directors, approve Bylaws or accept audited financial statements. Most often the voting is done at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
For some, AGM might mean Aggravating General Meeting. This is often true, not only for the members and voting delegates, but for those leaders officiating the meeting.
So why all the angst? Well, for one, it’s once a year – and if you are the President, you don’t get to practice. I have been to many AGM’s and felt the President would rather have a root canal. The meeting is run under Robert’s Rules of Order and it can be real tricky.
The biggest challenge, however, is having the voting delegates thoroughly understand what is being voted on and being properly trained on how to debate and decide. This is especially true at the Provincial and National levels, where delegates are so spread out, and may not have had enough dialogue in advance to make an informed decision.
So what can we do?
Let’s start with the chair of the meeting, the President. He or she needs to practice in advance; understand the flow of the meeting; review Robert’s Rules of Order and identify contentious issues beforehand. Having a Parliamentarian in attendance is ideal.
OREA past president, Tim Lee, (the grandfather of our leadership courses) suggests proper training for voting delegates.
A few boards that I know of, like Brampton and Windsor, have volunteer and voting delegates’ orientation; making sure they know their role and how to prepare for their meetings.
Far more preparation and discussion must happen before the voting meetings so that delegates can debate from a position of knowledge, not rumours or here-say. This was evident a couple years ago when CREA introduced Rate-Your REALTOR®. I am not commenting on the merits of the program, but many delegates had very different information and knowledge of the subject.
Consider town hall meetings to discuss upcoming votes so delegates have time to understand and contemplate the topic.
Hopefully it will be – Ready, Set, Vote!