The Persuasion Playbook

March 2024

Ever found yourself navigating the tricky waters of a condo or coop board with that one steadfast but hesitant volunteer?  Picture this; a decision hangs in the balance, and despite the collective will of the board, this one individual assumes/possesses the power to halt, delay, or even stop progress.  It’s the classic tale of one person holding the reins, creating a dilemma that echoes throughout the entire boardroom.  Let’s unravel the challenges of breaking through the hesitation barrier for the greater good of your owners.

Let’s dive into the art of persuasion, a skill that’ll turn those hesitant nods into confident approvals, ensuring your coop or condo community thrives.

  1. Understand the Board’s Responsibilities: A coop or condo board’s primary responsibility is to look after the operations and financial well-being of the building and make decisions on behalf of the building’s owners, with a crucial component being to protect, maintain, and enhance property values.
  2. Understand Their Concerns: Before launching into your pitch, take a moment to understand the reservations of your fellow board members, especially that one steadfast but hesitant volunteer.  The new generation of board members envisions more than just quick fixes they seek a brighter and greener future for their communities.
  3. Show empathy: by asking “why” and “if” questions to delve deeper into their concerns. Are they worried about finances, resident satisfaction, or legal compliance? Tailor your approach to address these specific concerns, fostering a sense of understanding and collaboration.
  4. Data Speaks Volumes: Equip yourself with data-backed arguments.  Numbers don’t lie, and they can provide a solid foundation for your proposals.  Whether it’s cost savings, environmental impact, or improved safety measures, make sure your pitch is grounded in concrete data.
  5. Emphasize the Collective Benefit: Remind board members that decisions aren’t just about individual units but the entire community. Highlight how proposed changes benefit everyone collectively – from increased property values to a stronger sense of community.
  6. Highlight the Expert Consensus: Leverage expert opinions and industry best practices. Whether it’s an architect’s recommendation for safety upgrades or an environmental consultant’s insights into sustainable practices, presenting a united front of professionals can be highly persuasive.
  7. Address Potential Concerns Proactively: Anticipate objections and address them before they become roadblocks. Demonstrating that you’ve thought through potential challenges shows preparedness and instills confidence in your proposals.

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

Ready to transform your board into a powerhouse of decision-makers?  Incorporate these persuasive techniques into your next meeting, and watch your ideas take flight.

Remember, you’ve got this!  Happy persuading!

TINA LARSSON is co-founder and co-owner of The Folson Group, New York City’s leading co-op and condo business consultancy.