How to Conduct a Meeting

How to Conduct a Meeting

1. Parliamentary Procedure:

This is a system of rules for conducting a meeting which provides for an orderly way of determining the will of the majority. The system was developed in Parliament that is why it is called Parliamentary Procedure. The points outlined below give a general summary of the rules of this procedure.

2. The Local President is:

(a) The presiding officer at meetings
(b) The impartial Arbitrator
(c) Symbol of order and authority
(d) All discussion is addressed to him (the chair).

3. Time:

It is important that everyone be punctual so that meetings begin and end on time. If the local's by laws or the agenda specifies that a meeting adjourn at a set time the Chairperson may adjourn the meeting at that time. A member may however move that the time be extended. The motion must be seconded and receive a two thirds majority vote to pass.

Where the time of adjournment has not been previously set it may be extended by a simple majority vote against a motion to adjourn.

A motion to adjourn is not debatable.

4. By Laws:

Meetings should adhere to the by laws of the local.

5. Order of Business or Agenda:

This is your program of things to be done. An agenda shall be prepared for each meeting by the President, Secretary, Chairperson or some other member of the Executive. Where possible the agenda should be circulated in advance so that members arrive at meetings prepared to discuss topics. To accomplish this when members are solicited for suggested items to be included in the agenda a deadline should be established. The Chair should stick to this unless, in his opinion, the situation warrants immediate discussion of a particular subject. Pre-informed members are a real time saver at meetings.

6. Minutes:

All Locals must keep proper minutes recording their resolutions and the proceedings of their meetings. At the appropriate time in the order of business the Secretary reads the minutes of the previous meeting and the President requests a motion of acceptance from the floor.

7. Motions:

(a) A motion initiates all business at a meeting.
(b) A member should be recognized by the chair before speaking.
(c) A motion must be seconded before it is discussed.
(d) Only one motion is on the floor at a time.
(e) The mover speaks first on a motion. If several wish to discuss, the chair recognizes each in turn being careful not to allow the same person to speak twice before all others have spoken. If the mover speaks twice on the motion debate is automatically closed.
(f) A motion should be in the affirmative i.e., "I move that we build a hall" rather than "I move that we do not build a hall".
(g) The mover cannot withdraw his motion without unanimous consent.
(h) A motion may be amended.
(i) If defeated a motion cannot be brought up again at the same meeting.
(j) A sample motion is "Moved that this local rent suitable accommodation for our meetings as required not to exceed a cost of $75.00 per occasion".

8. Amendment to a Motion:

(a) Must pertain to the motion
(b) Adds, deletes or substitutes words
(c) Moved and seconded like a motion
(d) Only one considered at a time. There may be more than one proposed and if one is defeated another may be moved.
(e) Sample amendment. See 7(j) "such accommodation to include rest room facilities".

9. Amendment to the Amendment:

(a) Must pertain to the amendment.
(b) Same rules as for the amendment.
(c) Sample amendment to the amendment "separate restroom facilities for males and females".

10. Voting Procedure:

(a) On amendment to the amendment first
(b) Then on amendment
(c) If amendment is defeated a new amendment may be moved, seconded and voted on if desired.
(d) Then on motion (as amended if an amendment carried).

11. General Rules:

  1. Discussion of a motion can only take place after if has been moved, seconded and properly recorded by the secretary.
  2. Discussion opens when motion has been given by the chair ("It has been moved and seconded that...")