Maybe itís the mediaís fault, talk radio, reality TV, our
medications, our upbringing or a simple degradation of how we
feel and respect each other, but it seems that pure debate has
been replaced with vulgarities, interruptions and even threats,
both physical and verbal.
One of the worst inventions in terms of human behavior is e-mail
and the ability to text each other. Everyone is a tough guy
behind the key board. People put in print words that they would
never have the courage to say face to face.
Clients are always showing me one e-mail or another where either
a board member, unit owner or renter drops f bombs and terrible
accusations. Some of them are truly stunning and may be
criminal. Others are just rude, crude and plain rotten. When I
see some of the comments men say to women I cringe and
admittedly hope the guy gets his lights punched out one day.
As we all knowÖ..board meetings are often times worse than
e-mails or texts. So how do we maintain decorum? Is it even
possible? Do we let anyone say anything as long as they do it
within three minutes? Do we post rules that say no profanity,
no screaming, no yelling? If these rules are violated, do we
sue? Do we fine?
All of these remedies may be possible, and in many an instance
the right thing to do. But, there may be easier solutions. I
have generally found that people who know they are being
recorded by a video camera are less likely to act nuts. Video
record your meetings. Use a timer when giving people their
three minutes to speak that can easily be seen. Have a firm
rule across the board Ė everyone gets three minutes. No
Finally, if there is genuine concern for violence to occur at
your meeting, hire a police officer to attend. Contact your
local police department and make the necessary arrangements.
This is very common now and works well. People may be
passionate about how they feel, but that passion tends to
diminish when the police officer tells them theyíre going to get
handcuffed if they donít calm down. Itís unfortunate that this
may be necessary, but if we canít talk to each other in a civil
tongue, there may not be much of a choice. Iím open to