September 17, 2020

New President Toolkit: Conducting a Business Meeting

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Experienced local presidents say that the best run meetings are those that are well-planned in advance.  You should develop an agenda and send it out ahead of time along with minutes form the last meeting and any other materials that might be helpful to have ahead of time.  Good meetings start on time, end on time and do not get bogged down in the middle.  Utilizing Robert’s Rules of Order will help to ensure that your meeting runs smoothly and that all have the opportunity to be heard.

The basics:

  • During discussion, the president never takes sides but should act as a moderator seeing that all issues are fairly debated. Do not use the meeting as your personal “bully pulpit.”
  • All members are equal: in rights, privileges and duties.
  • Order must be preserved
  • Members must be courteous in their remarks and actions
  • Members are free to express their opinions, even if they are in a minority in their views.
  • Business must be conducted efficiently and within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Justice must be done to all by giving them an opportunity to speak and vote.
  • Give everyone wishing to speak opportunity to do so before calling on the same person twice.
  • The president never makes a motion nor debates from the chair without first having appointed someone (the vice president) to preside over the meeting. The person appointed presides over the meeting until the vote has been announced.

Parliamentary Procedure for Local Presidents

The following is a sample agenda you may want to use when you have association board meetings.

Meeting called to order

The president calls the meeting to order and makes the opening remarks.

Roll call, if necessary.

It is important to note that the secretary takes the minutes during a meeting and that attendance of all members, nonmembers, and guests should be recorded in the minutes.  A sign-in is another option if you don’t want to call roll.

Approval of the minutes

Send out advance copies of the minutes so that all have a chance to look them over prior to the meeting.

Minutes should not identify who said what.  Be sure that they provide a broad overview of motions made and votes but do not detail comments and discussion pertaining to specific individuals.

Request any corrections to the minutes.

Treasurer’s Report

No motion is needed to receive the treasurer’s report unless the report is audited.

Reports of officers

Reports of committees

Committee chairpersons who are to report should sit up front.

No motion is needed for adoption of committee reports unless recommendations for association action are made.

Committee recommendations for action

A motion to adopt is usually made by the committee chairperson and seconded by a committee member.

Each motion is discussed and voted up or down before another main motion can be proposed.

The same procedure can be followed for any motion that is made during the meeting.

Unfinished business (old business)

Unfinished business from the last meeting is brought to the floor for action.

New Business

 Other items for discussion or program (if any)*



The president automatically adjourns the meeting, except when there is unfinished business.  Then a motion for adjournment must be made and voted on.