Holding Effective Condominium Board Meetings

Evaluations work. A very effective practice for Board members is to evaluate the quality of their Board operations. Many times, Board members do not know what they do not know about their own Board. Board evaluations are mandatory in many for-profit industries. These Board members know it is critical to regularly conduct short, practical evaluations of their Board operations, and then act on the results of those evaluations during the year.

Evaluations need not take a long time — many times, even 15 minutes a year from each Board member to complete a short questionnaire, followed by half an hour to discuss results and plan a strategy for improvement.

Some boards may feel they do not need assessments. I would suggest that these boards complete the free Board assessment tool offered by BoardWalk Consulting. This assessment should also be completed confidentially. If your board scores anything lower than an eight on any of the five criteria, then it may be time for an evaluation to find and correct deficiencies in your operations.

Before you undertake the exercise to evaluate your board, make sure everyone is onside with this exercise and the first question to ask is, what are we evaluating? There are different assessments that can be completed, like board effectiveness or individual board members. Individual board member performance should never be evaluated until everyone has been educated on their role within the board. It can be demoralizing to be evaluated against criteria you were not aware was part of your responsibility. We will focus this article on board effectiveness as a whole.

Here are some sample questions to help evaluate your board performance. Have your board members complete the survey, and then summarized the answers. Instruct your board members that the survey should be completed quickly and with honesty, do not over think the answers.

Some points to consider before implementing the assessment.

1. Make sure your questionnaire is relevant to your corporation and the items you wish to measure. Your board members will lose interest answering irrelevant questions.

2. In order for evaluations to work, everyone must be open and honest. The only way to accomplish this is to ensure confidentiality in the questionnaire. Have an independent third party prepare the summaries.

3. Don’t try to be too comprehensive in your assessment.

Commit to acting on the results of your survey. These evaluations tools give an excellent picture of a board weaknesses and strength. Their power is proven. If there is no follow-up to these exercises, then they are simply a waste of the time and energy of your volunteers.

– Board has full and common understanding of the roles and responsibilities of members, management and staff within the corporation.

– Board receives regular reports on finances/budgets, products/program performance and other important matters.

– Board effectively communicates to the community.

– Board meetings facilitate focus and progress on important matters.

– Each member of the board feels involved and interested in the board’s work.

– The board members receive regular training and information about their responsibilities.

– New board members are oriented to the board, including a board operation manual, the corporations Declaration, By-laws and the Act, as well as their roles and responsibilities as board members.

– Board organization is documented with a description of the board and board committee responsibilities.

– The organization has at least the minimum number of members on the Board of Directors as required by their bylaws or the Act.

– The board has a process for handling urgent matters between meetings.

– The board has an annual calendar of meetings.

– Meetings have written agendas and materials relating to significant decisions are given to the board in advance of the meeting.

– Conflicts among directors do not interfere with the Board’s work.

– Our financial monitoring and control systems enable us to quickly identify errors and protect us from most criminal activities.

– I am proud to be a Director of this corporation.

The responses should ranked as simply “Agree or Disagree”, collected and summarized. I like to view the summaries in bar graph format.

These summaries for each question can then be used to determine if there is a problem in a particular area, and can also help prioritize areas to focus for improvement.

Condominium Corporations would do well to take note of the practices of boards in highly effective companies. While the industries may be different, the need for effective decision making structure is the same.



Source by Tracey McLellan

Data Acquisition: Closed-Ended Questionnaire Response Format

Interviewer and coder bias are removed because the interviewer is simply checking a box, circling a category, recording a number, or punching a key. Reading response alternatives may jog a person’s memory and provide a more realistic response. Also, because the option of expounding on a topic is not given to a respondent, there is no bias toward the articulate. Finally, the coding and data acquisition process is greatly simplified.

There is a difference between a pre-coded open-ended question and a close-ended question. An open-ended question allows the respondent to answer in a freewheeling format. The interviewer simply checks the points on the pre-recorded answers as they are given. Probing is used, but a list is never read. If an answer is given that is not pre-recorded, it is written verbatim in the ‘other’ column. In contrast, the closed-ended question requires alternatives to be read or shown to the respondent.

Traditionally, the data acquisition process has separated the two-item response option from the many-item type. A two-choice question is called dichotomous and the many-item type is often called multiple-choice or multi-chotomous. With the dichotomous closed-ended question, the response categories are sometimes implicit. For instance, how would you respond to the following question: “Did you buy gasoline for your automobile in the last week?” Obviously, the implicit options are “Yes” or “No”, regardless of the fact that a respondent may say, “I rented a car last week and they filled it up for me. Does that count?” the questions would still be classified as dichotomous closed-ended.

The simplest form of data acquisition is a closed-ended question or dichotomous choice. They are easy to administer and usually evoke a rapid response. For example, limiting the responses to a simple “Yes” or “No”, “Agree” or “Disagree” or “Greater than” or “Less than”. Many times a neutral or ” no opinion/don’t know” option is added to dichotomous questions to take care of those situations. Sometimes the interviewer will jot down “DK” for “Don’t know” or “NR” for “No response” if the neutral option is omitted from the data acquisition questionnaire.

Dichotomous questions are prone to a large amount of measurement error. Because alternatives are polarized, the wide range of possible choices between the poles is omitted. Thus, question wording is very critical to obtain accurate responses. Questions phrased in a positive form may well result in answers opposite from those expressed in a negative format. In questions requiring a “Greater than” or “Less than” response, response may vary. These problems can be overcome using a split ballot technique. One-half of the questionnaires are worded with greater than listed first and the other half with less than first. This procedure will aid in reducing potential bias.

Each type of closed-ended question has unique disadvantages. For the dichotomous data acquisition form, frequently the responses fail to communicate any intensity of feeling from the respondent. In some cases, the matter of intensity does not apply, as for the previous example on gasoline purchasing, but instances do arise in which the respondent feels very strongly about an issue but the intensity is lost in the dichotomous data acquisition form. The multiple response closed-ended question has two additional disadvantages. First, the researcher must spend time gathering the list of possible responses, secondly the range of possible answers. If the list is too long, respondents may become confused or disinterested.



Source by Michael Russell

FAQS About Juries and Jury Duty

For anyone who has faced the request for jury duty, or has wondered how it works, this is the article to read. Below you will find a series of the most frequently asked questions about juries, jury duty, and more. If you are concerned about a recent jury duty request, or have missed your jury duty appearance, contact a trusted criminal defense lawyer for advice on what to do next. In the meantime, read the questions below for answers to your initial inquiries.

What is the Age Requirement to Serve as a Juror?

The national age requirement to be an eligible federal court juror is 18 years old. Those over 70 years of age may request to be excused from jury duty.

How Did the Courts Get My Information?

It varies from state to state. Check with your county clerk’s office for information about how your city gets your information for jury duty. For example, in Indiana, they use the State’s voter registration and Supreme Court’s Jury List to find prospective jurors.

Is Jury Duty Mandatory?

Yes, jury duty is mandatory and you must attend; however, it is not technically illegal for someone to fail to appear, so there are no criminal consequences.

What Happens if I Fail to Appear?

If you fail to appear after receiving an official summons, there are no legal consequences or penalties; instead, you will simply be placed back into the jury pool for future selection.

What Happens if I am Unable to Make My Summons Date?

In the initial questionnaire (Juror Qualification Questionnaire), you are not yet being summoned. The actual summons will come at a later date, after the second questionnaire. When you get the second questionnaire (Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire), you can list the dates you are unable to serve in Part 1, Question #7. If you are unable to serve the majority of the one month term requested, you will need to fill out a hardship request form. If you cannot serve because of a medical condition, submit a Physician’s Statement with your initial questionnaire (Juror Qualification Questionnaire).

What is the Difference Between a Trial and a Grand Jury?

Grand juries are different from trial juries because they are assembled in order to determine whether or not there is enough probable cause to persecute. They do not rule on guilt or innocence. In fact, grand juries only hear arguments from the prosecution, not the defense.

What Kind of Case Will I Be At?

Most cases are civil, but you may be at a criminal case. You won’t know anything until the juror introductory assembly.

I Served Jury Duty in a County Court Already. Why Am I Called to Serve Again?

You must also serve in a federal court. Then you are exempt from jury duty.

I Already Filled Out a Questionnaire. Why Do I Have to Fill Out Another?

Sometimes the Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire comes months after the Juror Qualification Questionnaire. And since your information could have changed in that time, they send a second questionnaire to confirm accuracy.

I Filled Out the Questionnaire, But I Forgot to Send it in Within the 10-Day Deadline. What Do I Do Now?

Just send it in as soon as possible. The courts understand people go out of town, vacation, or have other circumstances in their life, so there is no penalty, you will just be on a waiting list.



Source by Sarahbeth Kluzinski

Why I Always Insist on a Client Questionnaire

It is a truism to say that no writer can write clearly with impact and persuasiveness if he does not know what he is talking about.

In other words, my writing can only be as good as the information and understanding I have on the subject-matter concerned.

I call finding out everything I need to know to execute a writing project the discovery process.

The discovery process

In my experience the best way to go about the discovery process is to get the client to fill in a detailed questionnaire.

Each questionnaire I send out is purpose-written and tailored for the individual client and the particular writing project.

The amount of detail in the questionnaire will depend on my existing relationship with the client and any work I have undertaken for him in the past.

With a new client the questionnaire will be more detailed than it would for be in the case of a client for whom I have worked previously, as I would already know quite a lot about the client company.

My questionnaire will have several sections as necessary.

These will be designed to gather information on the:

  • Audience for the written work
  • Objective or purpose of the assignment
  • Product(s) or service(s)
  • Client company

Audience

The first thing I have to determine is the audience, ie who will be reading the copy I will write. The amount of detail I need about the audience will vary depending on what I am writing.

For example, if I am writing an annual report, the audience will be a company’s shareholders and other stakeholders, such as financiers, bankers and so on. There will also be a need to ensure compliance with legal requirements. But I would not need any more detail than that about the audience.

However if the copy is sales literature of some sort, the amount of detail I will need will be much greater.

Whether the client is selling a product or service… I would need to know about the market, the motives of the buyers and their main concerns with regards to price, delivery, performance, reliability, maintenance, etc.

The questionnaire would be expanded accordingly.

Objective

One of the main purposes of the questionnaire would be to determine the exact purpose of the copy… to transmit information about a product or service, or generate or answer enquiries, make sales, build brand recognition, and so on?

Every piece of corporate writing for public consumption will contain a call-to-action (CTA) that, if it is not plainly explicit, is implicit.

I would need to know the CTA, ie what the client wants the reader to do after reading the copy.

As examples, the CTA could be a call to… buy now… send for technical specifications… ask for a proposal or quotation… or sign up to a mailing list. There are many more possible CTAs.

Knowing the purpose of the copy enables me to focus on what the copy is supposed to achieve while I am writing it. Of course, copy may have more than one objective.

Product or service

Once the questions about who I am writing to and the why are out of the way, the questionnaire would then focus on finding out as much as possible about the product or service concerned.

These questions would cover the features and benefits (in detail)… the competition and how the product or service compares with the competition… the technologies involved… the problems the product or service can solve… its positioning in the market… etc etc

This third section would mean asking the client for all the firm’s literature on the product or service. These would include brochures, catalogues, copies of advertising (online and offline), technical papers… anything that helps me to get a clear idea of the product or service.

Company

To write the best copy that I can, I need reliable background information on the company. In other words, I need to understand in a general way why it exists and what makes it tick.

When dealing with a customer for whom I have worked previously, I would probably have most of this information to hand.

Where I am entering into a relationship with a new client I would need to posit detailed questions on the company, its values, markets, ambitions etc. I would probably need to peruse its mission statement and its most recent annual report.

Responsibilities

I find that, once I have the information I need, the writing process is easy. It’s the research or discovery process that is the most onerous part of the job.

As the writer I am dependent on the client for the information I need to write the copy… but it is my responsibility to guide the client so that I end up with that information.

This means that the client has two main duties:

  • provide all the information I ask for, making sure that it is as accurate as possible, and
  • reading and commenting on the draft copy in a timely manner and being very specific about any changes required

As the writer, my responsibilities cover:

  • making sure I articulate clearly all the questions to which I need answers
  • making sure I get all the answers
  • writing the best copy possible
  • revising the copy as requested
  • keeping the client’s project confidential
  • tendering unbiased advice as necessary

As I said before, the writing is the easy part



Source by Paul D Kennedy

Know The Important Stroke Self-Efficacy Questionnaire

A stroke occurs when the supply of blood to the brain decreases and the brain stops receiving enough oxygen or nutrients, causing brain cells to die. Strokes need to be diagnosed as early as possible. Heredity, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are the common risk factors that can lead to stroke.

Symptoms: Everyone should know the following stroke symptoms:

  • Weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body.
  • Loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes.
  • Inability to talk.
  • Trouble with understanding.
  • Sudden and unbearable headache with no apparent cause.
  • Loss of balance or unstable walking.

Stroke Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (SSEQ):

SSEQ is a questionnaire to be used in the recovery period following stroke. It could assist physicians and researchers working in critical stroke care to monitor individual confidence of stroke survivors and develop self-management strategies in patients after discharge. It could be used as a reliable and accurate measure.

Three separate studies were conducted to develop the Stroke Self-Efficacy Questionnaire. A total of 112 stroke survivors took part in the studies and the final 13-item Stroke Self-Efficacy Questionnaire was drawn out. The main objective of this Stroke Self-Efficacy Questionnaire was to find out individual’s confidence in functional performance after stroke.

Following are the 13 items of the Stroke Self-Efficacy Questionnaire; you can yourself mark “Confident” or “Not confident at all” and see how confident you are now after the stroke.

  • Get yourself comfortable in bed every night.
  • Get yourself out of bed on your own even when you feel tired.
  • Walk a few steps on your own on any surface inside your house.
  • Walk around your house to do most things you want.
  • Walk safely outside on your own on any surface.
  • Use both your hands for eating your food.
  • Dress and undress yourself even when you feel tired.
  • Prepare a meal you would like for yourself.
  • Persevere to make progress from your stroke after discharge from therapy.
  • Do your own exercise program every day.
  • Cope with the frustration of not being able to do some things because of your stroke.
  • Continue to do most of the things you liked to do before your stroke.
  • Keep getting faster at the tasks that have been slow since your stroke.

Stroke survivors can make the above self-analysis during their restoration period. It provides them strong belief, courage and confidence that they can do some physical activities that may have been difficult for them since their stroke.

Awareness Campaigns To Spread The Knowledge

Weekly programs and seminars at hospitals and research centers help in raising public awareness. Stroke awareness campaigns aim to inform the public about stroke symptoms and treatment. National Stroke Awareness Month is May and the recognized color for stroke awareness is red. Personalized products are the best choice to spread awareness for any cause or campaign. Use fashionable silicone wristbands with custom messages, as they are the perfect inexpensive promotional tool. They come in various styles, colors and widths. If you want to design a red personalized wristband with a catchy slogan, such as “I Am A Stroke Survivor”, “I Came, I Fought, I Won”, “Love Your Heart, Help Your Brain”, then slap bands will be the best choice. Wearing stroke awareness wristbands help remind people of the importance to prevent a stroke. A wristband with an inspiring message could help save someone’s life.



Source by Ryan Smith

Questionnaire Context, Order, and Meaning

When designing questionnaires, the order of items on the questionnaire creates a context, or meaning, for the entire questionnaire. Items placed early on in the questionnaire effect the way in which people respond to later questions.

“Each item will be interpreted by respondents within the context of the questionnaire, previous questions and the wording of each item,” notes Gregory G. Holyk, University of Illinois at Chicago, in the Encyclopedia of Survey Research Methods.

To ensure positive use of context in questionnaires, it is important that you clearly define the purpose of the questionnaire. Start writing drafts of items to be included on the questionnaire – items that directly relate to the purpose of the questionnaire. The next step is to put items into a meaningful format (e.g. open-ended, multiple choice, etc.) and order. The order in which items appear can bias people’s thinking and, thus, their responses to your questions.

After introducing the survey’s general purpose and content, the first question should be easy and nonthreatening; it sets the tone. Difficult or sensitive questions are best asked later, once rapport is established.

Items should flow in a logical order, with similar content grouped together. Providing brief directions or a transition statement between sections of the questionnaire helps prepare respondents for a change of pace and lets them know that a different mindset is necessary. It also helps retain interest and attention.

In what order should general/specific questions asked? Some researchers contend that if specific questions are asked first, the attention given to them will influence the responses to general questions. Starting with more specific questions about various aspects of the issues can give respondents some background on which to base their replies to subsequent, general question(s).

Research suggests that context effects are most noticeable in attitudinal surveys. A between-question context effect occurs when the questionnaire contains items about a particular subject, like health care, and then suddenly changes to a totally different subject, like the outcome of a presidential election. A within-question context effect occurs when words frame an issue from an unusual perspective. Example: Holyk proposes that the use of anti-abortion instead of pro-choice affects attitudes toward abortion. The way in which questionnaire items are worded affects responses and ultimately survey findings.

Response alternatives are the ‘multiple choice answers’ from which respondents make their selection. In crafting the questionnaire, you must decide whether or not it’s important that respondents search their memory and recall a response or simply be able to recognize a response from a list. If you provide a list of these choices, or response alternatives, know that you are making assumptions about the range of opinions or behaviors held by the population being researched or introducing your own bias.

The technique of using skip directions (i.e., if yes, go to question 6; if no, go to question 7) can become confusing and time consuming, so should be used sparingly, but when necessary. Enough white space must be left to record answers to open-ended questions, usually about three lines worth of space. The page must not be cluttered, since clutter can lead to errors in responding.

Having taken context effects into account in designing the questionnaire, the questionnaire must be pre-tested. Item wording, format, and order must be revised, as necessary before pre-testing the questionnaire again. A successful questionnaire is one that flows smoothly without leading questions or bias.



Source by Dr. Terrie Nolinske, Ph.D.

Why Is It Important To Pretest A Questionnaire

It is very important to have a pretest for a questionnaire. Pretesting can help you determine the strengths and weaknesses of your survey or questionnaire. By making your main concern for your pretest to have a reliable question format and also a good wording and order. By establishing a correct pretest, your questionnaire will yield better results.

There are two types of survey pretests: participating and undeclared.

Participating pretests show that you tell respondents that the pretest is a sample for determine how; rather than asking the respondents to simply fill out the questionnaire, participating pretests usually involve an interview setting somewhere in a setting where respondents are asked to explain reactions to question form, wording and order. This kind of pretest will help you determine if your questions are understandable for the respondent to answer truly to their best opinion.

When conducting an undeclared pretest, you do not tell respondents that it is a pretest. You have the respondents manipulated into a situation where they feel like this is a real questionnaire. This type of pretest allows you to check your choice of analysis and the standardization of your survey efficiently.

According to Converse and Presser (1986), if researchers have the resources to do more than one pretest, it might be best to use a participatory pretest first, then an undeclared test. Both test prove to show reliable data in regards to just one test. A pretest is made to gain insight into potential mistakes and misinterpretation. It makes room for improvements by results from the pretest.

How surveys are sometimes misused

The main reason for failing surveys to get useful information from surveys is getting misleading information. The maker of the survey has to make sure the participant believes that one understands how to do surveys.

Another reason surveys are sometimes misused is confusing measurement with research and data. Opinion measurement and research are two different processes. In most cases a survey is a measurement tool, not a research tool, for one very important reason. It has little or no chance of discovering anything unexpected about the person’s thinking process over and above the topics it asks about.

Another way surveys are misused is asking useless questions to complicate the problem, participants typically realize they’re worthless and unlikely to have any real impact. Participants may be thinking about many other factors other than the standard items on the survey, but they get no chance to respond with what they really want to say. The purpose of the survey is to understand the participant, not a product or idea. Lastly, poor questionnaire design, Surveys can be tremendously valuable, but only if they measure something worth measuring. Also mistakes include putting too many questions on one survey. Most surveys should have around 20 questions.

Surveys that have a lot of questions create anxiety and a sense of quitting. which actually means trying to do two or more research projects at once, Surveys can be valuable, but only if they measure something worth measuring. Surveys that offer a prize of gift may attract participants that only want the prize of gift. These participants don’t value the questionnaires worth because of this.



Source by David Hale

How to Make Quick Money Online?

Tired of sitting idle at home? Tired of barely managing within limited pocket money? Tired of saying no to your friends every-time they ask you for a party? Well, this will happen no more, because here are some real ways to make some quick bucks online.

Whether you are a college going student or a house wife, a drop-out from school or in between your jobs, now, you can use internet to make fast money. Just put in a very small amount of time and make money in the comforts of your home. Internet offers you various legitimate ways to make money online.

#1. Maybe you cannot use a flowery language to impress your girlfriend or boyfriend, or do not have an extensive vocabulary to floor your peers and bosses, or were never appreciated by your teachers or peers for your innovative thinking; but this cannot stop you from making money online by writing. Just a little sense to understand the topic and a creative bent of mind is all you need to start writing and make up to 1,000 dollars… yes you read it correctly!!Make up to $ 1,000 online just by devoting some hours for writing on a daily basis. Making quick money just by writing was never so easy!

#2. Of all the real ways to make money online, none can be easier than this one. Just spend 5 minutes of your time and fill up the questionnaire posted by the companies online and make loads of money. And if you are thinking it can’t be true that someone would offer you money just to fill up a questionnaire, well, hold the horses of your mind, because this is true!! And it comes at absolutely no investment from your side!! So spare 5 minutes of your time every-time you are online and earn handsomely.

#3. Aware of buying and selling of products, worth millions of dollars, that takes place everyday online? Ever thought of involving yourself in this process to make quick money online? This might sound weird and crazy, but yes! This is one of the legitimate ways to make money online. All you have to do is refer these products to prospective buyers and earn a % on every sale made. It’s one of the best ways to make money online. And you do not need an investment to start!

#4. Another really easy and direct way to make money in on the largest online buying and selling site, eBay. There are many ways to make money on this site, the easiest being buying stuff to resell. You may feel it’s a little difficult to comprehend, but once you start with it, nothing would seem easier than this. All you have to be able to do is buy stuff at a lower rate and sell it at a higher price using your wit!

For more information on these and to find additional ways of making money online, just Google the phrase “make money online” today.



Source by Delmar Wiggins