Tuesday, September 10, 2013

We Remember

There are certain events in history that those who lived through them will never forget. If you were alive in 1941, you will never forget the Pearl Harbor attack. Everyone alive in 1963 remembers the Kennedy assassination. Certainly the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are like that.
Sept. 11, 2001 was a Tuesday. I was on vacation is Disneyworld.  As we were getting ready to head out, I walked past the TV which had the Today Show playing a little after 9 o’clock, they talked about what had just broke on the news involving a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City.
I assumed it was some sort of bizarre accident. Then, I we watched, a second plane collided with the Towers. As news was unfolding of four planes hijacked, one tower collapsed, and potentially thousands killed, as a New Yorker my heart sank and thoughts went to my daughter in college about 40 miles up the Hudson River from what I was witnessing on television.

It seemed that we were witnessing the equivalent of World War III. It was easy to imagine more terrorist attacks on American soil. “Where will it all end?” we wondered, “and what should we do?” I seriously thought about getting in the rental car and driving to New York immediately. We had already been informed that the President had grounded all flights for the foreseeable future and we were stranded in what used to be the “happiest place on earth” but now was eerily silent. Of course, this was a day few of us will ever forget.
The incidents of 9/11 provoked a lot of conversation. Immediately following 9/11, there was an increase in expressions of patriotism. American flags were everywhere. But in the years since 9/11, patriotism has waned  somewhat as the threat level went from red to orange and time healed our shocked minds.

This week is the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and the war on terror continues, talks of new military action against Syria are being debated in Washington. We must never forget what happened to us on that day. We can never lose our sense of patriotism that we had that day. The 2001 terrorist attacks caused people to rally around their nation’s flag and we need to do this now more than ever as the country stays divided amongst itself. As we honor those who lost their lives that day, remember their families who have endured. Many of those family members went on to join the military to protect us back at home and lost their lives. We are a proud nation that should never turn against itself and always rally to support our troops, our elected officials and most importantly, those grieving on this September 11th.
I hope to see every home in ever community I manage proudly displaying the American Flag on this day.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Speak Easy

Whether you’re making a presentation to the association board, at work for your boss or out in the community, speaking in public is no easy task. Once you overcome the nerves, you need to be coherent, informative and interesting. As community manager's, we have a great need to be effective communicators. While being able to verbalize our message is important, keep in mind that the most important skill to develop as a communicator is the ability to list!
Here are a couple keys to grab and keep your audience’s attention: 

  • Talk about their concerns. Begin your speech by broadly discussing the issues important to your audience. Describe the problems or challenges that are on their minds. If you start there, you can get their attention and lead them to where you want to go.
  • Keep it simple. Fine tune your main message. Be selective about the details and drive the main points home, otherwise you risk losing people’s attention.
  • Anticipate what your audience is thinking. When you express one view, it’s likely the audience will begin thinking about other, unstated parts of the subject. Anticipate the questions and concerns that may come up and address them.
  • Learn to pause. Pause to let the audience catch up, let them rest, let words resonate and to give the impression of composure and thoughtfulness. There are no set rules for the right time to pause. It takes practice. Try breaking up / your paragraphs / like this / into short phrases. / Take a breath / at each mark / to teach your body / and mind / to slow down.
  • Master your body language. Focus on a single attribute, such as relaxed, fluid, calm or assertive, and begin acting it in the everyday things you do. If you choose to focus on calmness, once the behavior becomes a part of your routine, practice calmly walking up to the front of a room, calmly arranging papers and calmly delivering your speech.
The best way to become a good public speaker is practice. Find a local Toastmasters International club at http://www.toastmasters.org to perfect your approach.

- See you next week!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Are Your Rules Reasonable?

Are Your Rules Reasonable?

Your association has a number of rules and regulations that unit owners are asked to observe so the association can maintain property values and quality of life. Does your board always try to be reasonable with the rules by following the guidelines below? If you believe a rule fails the “reasonable” test, let the board know your professional opinion. Hopefully, they will consider how we can improve it. 

Ÿ Does the association make every effort to enforce rules uniformly, taking into account the consequences? 

Ÿ Developing rules for the sake of having rules is unnecessary. Does the association develop rules only if they’re really necessary? 

Ÿ Are all of your rules are based on proper authority—either the governing documents or state or local law? 

Ÿ Don’t make rules to limit your activities. Is the association trying to ensure that each resident can enjoy the community free from the disruptive or harmful behavior of others? 

Ÿ The association should really not want to punish anyone. Try to make rules that encourage understanding and compliance. 

Managers are often faced with the issue of enforcing a rule that is unenforceable. It can be discouraging to send violation notices to violators knowing that the board will not stand behind enforcement action. It is even more problematic when managers fail to return to the violation after the prescribed remedy time to follow up to see if the issue has been corrected.
Encouraging your board to establish reasonable, enforceable rules that pass the “reasonable” test above is a big step. Standing by you in your enforcement efforts will quickly send word to the unit owners that the association is serious in having all members follow the rules to maintain a happy community.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Are Community Residents Happy?

Are Community Residents Happy?

Do you know you are among the more than 60 million Americans who live in homeowners associations and condominium communities? We think most residents are happy living in our community—and we certainly hope you are among them—but how do these 60 million residents feel about their own associations? Are they happy with their elected boards? How do they feel about the rules? 

The Foundation for Community Association Research, an affiliate of Community Associations Institute (CAI), sponsored a recent national public opinion survey to answer these and other questions.  Here are some of the key findings:
·         71 percent of residents say they are satisfied with their community association experience. Only 12 percent express dissatisfaction and 17 percent are neutral on the question.

·         89 percent believe their association board members strive to serve the best interests of the community, while 11 percent say the opposite or they aren’t sure.

·         76 percent say their professional managers provide value to their communities, while 24 percent say the opposite or they aren’t sure.

·         70 percent believe their community association rules “protect and enhance” property values. Only 2 percent say rules harm property values, while about 29 percent see no difference or didn’t know.
We’d like to think that we would do even better than the national averages. If you feel differently, please let us know what you think we can do to make your community a better place to live. If you’re especially pleased about your community, share that too!  It’s always good to know we’re on the right track.