Tips For Surviving Your Next Trustees Meeting

Private Property South Africa
Shaun Wewege

Meetings are never fun at the best of times. In the working world you only attend them because your boss forces you to be there or if you are self employed, they are directly related to you making money. When it comes to meetings that don’t have a bearing on money, interest begins to wane a little more. Sure, you’ll attend parent-teacher meetings, but generally, any gathering of people where issues need to be discussed can be considered a snoozefest.

Unfortunately, homeowners have one extra type of meeting to attend: the trustees meeting. Every once in a while residents in a complex or estate will need to gather to discus issues that affect them. In reality, a two hour meeting will feature about twenty minutes of discussing pertinent points and the rest be dedicated towards shouting or having bored people raise issues that are miniscule. Like what to do about those pesky runners who run on the pavement for all of about 15 seconds as they pass the complex. Or what to do about those “damn useless gardeners” who didn’t trim the bushes. Oh the horror!

Here are the top five tips for surviving your next trustees meeting.

1. Eat before you go. It’s a fact that low glucose levels can impair decision making and chances are that you will have to vote on something. Another reason for eating before you go is that someone will no doubt suggest something silly, like poisoning the birds because they make a noise outside her window. Before you know it your meeting will have dragged on past midnight.

2. Shout. You’d think people would prefer being reasoned with and addressed like adults, but if the way decisions are made are anything to go by it seems as though shouting works. If you are shy like I am, a nip* of brandy before the meeting helps (*read “bottle”).

3. Take snacks, preferably popcorn. The reasons for needing popcorn are twofold. Firstly, you’ll be stuck discussing white lines that are not clearly painted that are ruining someone’s life for some time and need to stave off hunger. Secondly, someone is going to start a massive argument over the protocol for security guards signing in guests. It’s the only entertainment you’ll have in an otherwise boring event.

4. Be a troll. If you have a high tolerance for pain and don’t need to be up too early in the mornings disagree with everything said and give contrarian suggestions to each topic discussed. When all else fails accuse a body corporate member of stealing. The meeting may take ages and probably end in a fist-fight, but you will never again receive snotty letters stating that your attendance is vital.

5. Use logic. In such meetings logic and reasoned thinking can be a great way to cause upset. For example, a complex I once stayed in decided that the best way to simplify the guest sign-in process was to institute different types of sign-in registers or mechanisms for different types of guests. By pointing out that this will take more time for guards who work long shifts and may actually slow the entry process down (which was part of the reason we held the meeting), I ensured that I never invited to the year-end social.

If all else fails take a pointy stick. It gets people’s attention and if you need to make a run for the door before being lynched, it helps clear the path.

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