It’s annual meetings time for many villages. The pressure is on to attend to all the regulatory and operational tasks like company updates, sharing facts, figures and numbers, discussing maintenance and operational concerns.
Here are a couple of tips.
It will pay great dividends if you keep the whole process ‘positive’, especially as annual meetings can see concerns raised that negatively affect the overall purpose of the meeting.
Think about the words you are using, the tone, facial expressions, body language and responses.
It is very easy to be defensive. However it is more productive to remain calm; remember it is NOT personal, and focus on the opportunity for improvement.
Concerns can be raised by one or a small group of residents that have previously been dealt with. Or new concerns and opinions expressed.
Think of the concern/feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
Give all concerns due consideration, seek consultation from relevant stakeholders, respond in a positive manner and think about whether the issue need to be included on the continuous improvement plan.
Keep your team positive too. If the Annual Meeting has moments of hostility or was perceived as challenging by your team present at the meeting, it is important to quickly regroup with them and support them with the knowledge and attitude of the possible positive outcomes.
Remind the team that out of adversity often comes great solutions. Minimise any negative hallway chatter amongst your team by keeping them informed.
Annual meetings are also a great opportunity to strengthen relationships with residents. Here are some ideas.
- Update your residents on the good news stories of the organisation. Examples could be real life staff achievements (which might even be outside of work) or positive changes you have made to processes for the benefit of the residents
- If you have one, invite someone from Head Office they won’t know and ask them to share a bit about themselves and what they do.
- Go over Safety and Evacuation plans to provide a sense of peace of mind.
- Remind them of local and village events (upcoming Carols/pageants, Club celebrations, Community activities, Village Christmas planning, Bushfire planning sessions)
- Add value – invite a relevant guest speaker, share knowledge about local services, allied health providers or a topic that is relevant to the village culture (spring gardens, volunteering, etc.)
Like the Maya Angelou saying, which particularly applies to working with communities, “Do the best you can until you know better, then do better”.