The Leadership of the Board has developed a description of the mission of each committee. Refer often to the one for your committee because it will help ensure a focus on the your goals.
Your Committee is not necessarily limited only to the goals established by the officers, but these are the most important objectives for your Committee to reach during the year. If, after achieving its objectives, the Committee wants to pursue other activities, please consult with the Board of Directors or the Executive Officer.
Responsibility of Committee Chairs
As Chairperson of your Committee, you carry several basic responsibilities. It is necessary that you understand the structure and operation of the Board, and how your Committee is one of many important parts of the organization. You are responsible for knowing the Committee’s previous activities, for completing unfinished projects and for meeting the goals for the year.
You must keep your Committee’s attention focused on its work. If your Committee discusses matters that bear on other committees in the Board, you are responsible for referring those issues to the appropriate committee.
You are responsible for:
- the orderly and efficient conduct of Committee meetings;
- for maintaining open communication among members;
- for encouraging participation;
- for moving the Committee toward a consensus or decision;
- and for maintaining accurate and concise records of each meeting.
You are also responsible for periodically evaluating the performance of Committee members, both collectively and individually, to determine if the Committee is fulfilling its purpose and meeting its goals. In choosing Committee members, focus on individuals who are knowledgeable in the area of operation.
To help you meet these responsibilities the Executive Officer of the Board will serve as the liaison to your Committee. Seek advice and assistance from this individual whenever it is needed. The Executive Officer is responsible for the administration and execution of decisions made by your Committee, is familiar with the Board’s operations and processes, and will be able to answer your questions about procedural matters.
All information requests, mailing addresses and contacts given should be clearly stated as the Berkshire County Board of REALTORS®. Further, for a continuation of products and source data, when information or products are requested from outside vendors each should be routed through the Board Office, which will be forwarded to each committee Chairperson immediately.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Berkshire County Board of REALTORS® can be counted upon to provide assistance to your committee when called upon, and a staff person will be assigned to attend and participate in the committee’s activities. When assistance is requested, the Committee Chairperson should consult with the Chief Executive Officer or their designated staff liaison. The chair should work with staff to articulate goals, develop agendas, indicate what staff should be featured on meeting notices, engage volunteers, and report to the Board of Directors and members.
Improve Participation in Meetings
Source: REALTOR® Magazine Online
Preparation is the principle ingredient of a successful committee meeting. After you have acquainted yourself with the Committee’s purpose and goals, review the minutes of previous meetings. This will provide a background of the Committee’s decisions, actions and recommendations. It can help prevent your Committee from repeating previous activities.
Working with your staff liaison, develop an agenda for your meeting at least one (1) week in advance of the meetings. The agenda is used to focus your Committee’s attention on its work in an orderly fashion.
In most cases, Committees will meet on a regular basis and should be held at the Board office. All Committee members routinely receive notice of the meetings by e-mail or website posts from the Board office. The Board Office must coordinate all committee meetings, especially if they are held off premises.
As Chairperson, you are responsible for starting the meeting on time. It must also be ended on time so that your Committee member will be able to meet his or her own individual schedules. A record of attendance is kept at each meeting.
The Chairperson is in charge of the meeting. If you are unable to be present for the meeting, arrange to have the Committee’s Vice Chairperson or another Committee leader serve as acting chairperson for the meeting. The person chairing the meeting is a coordinator and motivator. It is important to communicate in advance what you are trying to accomplish at a specific meeting. This indicates to the group that you have thought about the purpose of the meeting. People will do more if they know what is expected, because people like to perform well.
Another reason for communicating the agenda in advance is that people do not like to be surprised. Being clear about goals will reduce the possibility of someone’s hidden agenda detracting from the meeting. Every effort should be made to solicit the participation of all members of the committee. Welcome new ideas, suggestions and alternative plans. Encourage open discussion of disagreements. From this exchange of views, a consensus is reached.
Don’t wait for tardy members! It encourages a tardiness culture and wastes the time of punctual people.
A competent Chairperson who acts as a “meeting chauffeur” is crucial: He or she is responsible for seeing that the group arrives at it’s agreed upon destination. A good moderator has good people skills. He knows how to deal with difficult people without alienating anyone in the group. The Chairperson’s job is to keep the meeting on track, summarize the group’s decisions and highlight what action should be taken. Critique the meeting just before adjournment. This 5-minute exercise allows people to share constructive ideas and improves future meetings.
»»»» Please Note: Committee meetings should be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order, and actions take the form of motions.
Motions that affect the policy of the Board or which deal with the Board’s finances need additional approval.
- A motion affecting policy must be referred to the Board of Directors;
- A motion dealing with finances must be referred to the Finance Committee.
- A motion dealing with programs must be referred to the Program/Continuing Education Committee.
As Chairperson, you should be certain that the Finance or Program Committee is given the background of the motion before either committee votes to recommend action to the Board of Directors. Rely on the advice of the Executive Officer in determining which motions need to be referred to the above mentioned committees.
As Chairperson, you are responsible for the accuracy of the minutes that record your Committee’s actions at each meeting. You may appoint a Committee member to take the minutes. Be sure you review these minutes prior to the next Board of Directors meeting or Committee meeting, whichever comes first.
REPORTING TO THE DIRECTORS
As in most Boards, the Board of Directors has the final approval of committee actions, usually after the committee has made recommendations. The Chairperson of each committee is required to report Committee actions to the Board of Directors. You may choose to report in person at the Directors’ meeting or you may file your report by submitting the validated minutes.
Verbal reports are encouraged if your Committee’s action involved the Board’s policy or finances. This will allow you to answer any questions that the Directors may have. We ask that you file a written report with the Executive Officer as well, so that we may post it on the website under your byline. It will also ensure that your report receives proper attention during the Directors meeting and will be saved for future reference. Please note: Committee Chairs will receive meeting notices for all Board Meetings and should maintain the confidentiality and safeguards of the material, as agreed upon in the Leadership Agreement signed at the beginning of the year. Chairs are typically welcome to participate in discussion at the Board meetings, with at the President’s discretion.
If your committee is making a recommendation or requires approval of the Board of Directors, you should notify the Chief Executive Officer so that all relevant facts can be obtained before the meeting and special time allotted for discussion.
All programs proposed by the Committee must be presented to the Board of Directors. In instances where programs are to be held, it is the responsibility of the Committee to research and select the facility and caterer (if any) and the responsibility of staff to engage the facility and caterer. It is the responsibility of the Committee to engage the speaker.
The Board’s legal counsel acts as an advisor to the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer and should only be contacted by the President or the CEO. If it is necessary for counsel to meet or consult with your committee, you must make prior arrangements with the CEO well in advance of the meeting. If an emergency arises, please consult with the CEO.
LEADERSHIP AND PARTICIPATION
An effective Chairperson will lead by personal example. Enthusiasm is contagious and open discussions encourage participation. The Chairperson must take the initiative in setting the tone and tempo of the Committee, as well as its direction. Do not expect more from your Committee members than you do from yourself. Delegate responsibilities to the members, and rely on them to produce results. Fulfill all the commitments you make to the Committee as a group and to the members individually. By being candid and equitable, by listening and respecting individual opinions, you can inspire your Committee members to participate to the fullest.
As a general rule of thumb, 10% of any organization’s membership will become active participants. To ensure that all Board members are aware of Board activities, the Committee Chairperson is responsible to provide a briefly written description of Committee activities for monthly publication in the board newsletter, the Berkshire Bulletin.
To assist in the enhancement of the REALTOR® image, each Committee Chairperson is responsible to coordinate with the CEO regarding PR on programs being conducted.