Attending a CAI class in Palm Springs a few years ago the rest of the class audibly gasped when one account manager told us her board meetings lasted 12 and sometimes 15 hours. Granted it was a large community a master community as I recall, but how can anyone stay focused that long. They had meal breaks, she said and they lasted into the late evening. The law in California now makes life easier for boards by requiring that items to be discussed at a meeting must first be noticed 4 days before the meeting. I saw one management company’s answer to that, where they listed in general everything one might possibly talk about as their agenda. I am not sure they do that anymore but that’s hardly in the spirit of the law. I think there are two ways to stay on task and have briefer meetings.
First is to strictly adopt Robert’s rules of order and secondly stick closely to the agenda. One could even adopt a timing limit to each agenda item which when reached causes a motion to table until a later date if not concluded. This could backfire and every motion gets discussed several times before resolution. But, setting the time for adjournment is a valuable tool to end the meeting. Robert’s rules has a bundle of ways to shorten discussion, such as allowing a speaker to only speak once until everyone has spoken and to have the Floor for only say 5 minutes at a time. If one cannot express oneself succinctly in 5 minutes join toastmasters group where 1 minute can seem like an eternity when asked to answer a table topics question.