A pastor of a local church had a church member who was a superb English teacher. The teacher was always using perfect elocution, pronunciation and vocabulary when speaking. Also, she was very concise in her remarks. Realizing that his use of the English language was not always as precise as it should be, and often overdone, the pastor said to the teacher, “I know I sometimes murder the English language when I speak.” The teacher complimented him clearly by using just five words, “Ah, but you communicate effectively!”
Indeed, communicating is important in every sphere of life. This is especially true when it comes to Home Owners Associations. Some HOA communities are ineffective simply because they fail to communicate as they should. Keeping home owners up-to-date with ongoing projects, upcoming events, changes in rules, etc. is critical to the well being of the community.
The best means of communicating is through the use of email addresses, an effective web presence, a bulletin board at the exit of the community and the use of a phone tree (an automated calling service that can send a voice message to the phone of every owner).
It has long been said that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Communicating needed information lets home owners know that you care about them, their properties and their concerns. This goes a long way in uniting home owners and gaining their support and respect.
Each year the HOA board should do a communications review to investigate how effectively they are communicating with the owners. Looking at complaints by owners and using a survey for home owners to express their approval or disapproval with the information they receive is an excellent way to test how successful the board is with the information they share. On the survey, the board can also allow the home owners to share new ways they would like to receive information. Simply allowing people to express themselves reveals a personal touch that everyone appreciates.
Making mistakes in communication can be costly and dangerous. A man tells the following story: “About five years ago the battery in my beat-up VW Beetle had died because I left the lights on overnight. I was in a hurry to get to work on time so I ran into the house to get my wife to give me a hand starting the car. I told her to get into our second car, a prehistoric oversized gas guzzler, and use it to push my car fast enough to start it. I pointed out to her that because the VW had an automatic transmission, it needed to be pushed at least 30 mph for it to start. She said fine, hoped into her car and drove off. I sat there fuming wondering what she could be doing. A minute passed by and when I saw her in the rearview mirror coming at me at about 40 mph, I realized that I should have been a bit clearer with my directions.
Communicate well, or pay the consequences!