Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Present Topics in Groups of Three

“People remember roughly three distinct things from any event, lecture, meeting, book or article,” says, Art Markman, a recognized cognitive physiologist. “This limitation arises because your memory wants to focus on interconnected facts, rather than distinct and independent pieces of information.”

In practice, that means HOA managers and leaders should generally:

For meetings and presentations pick only three main or most important topics to be covered, at anyone time.

Then, focus on just those three items, at a time.

Thirdly, make sure you tell them the three items, discuss the three and then remind everyone of the three (this is the old adage: tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them). 

“I have lost count of the number of meetings I have attended in which the agenda is crammed until it is ready to burst,” noted Markman. “I frequently go to lectures — some of them by researchers who spend their lives studying human memory — in which the speaker makes eight different points in an hour and every person leaves the room with a different impression of what the talk was about.”

Having attended thousands of HOA meetings, there is no question the ones with the most focused agendas, accomplished the more.  Interestingly, it also seems the shorter the meeting, the more that actually gets done. Focus really does count.

While the power of three strategy may not work for all community association meetings all the time, it will often get HOAs better results. 

Read more about effective HOA management at


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