Two essential components of effectively presiding are preparing and following an agenda, and handling motions fairly and consistently.
Sample Meeting Agenda
(Excerpted from the NAP publication, The Chair’s Guide: Order of Business)
- Call to Order
- Opening Ceremonies (optional)
- Roll Call (if customary)
- Reading and Approval of Minutes
- Reports of Officers, Boards, and Standing Committees
- Reports of Special Committees (announced only if such committees are prepared or instructed to report)
- Special Orders (announced only if there are special orders)
- Unfinished Business and General Orders
- New Business
- Program (if a program or a speaker is planned for the meeting)
Procedure for Handling a Main Motion
Obtaining and Assigning the Floor
1. A member rises when no one else has the floor and addresses the chair: “Mr./Madam President,” “Mr./Madam Chairman,” or by other proper title. (In a large assembly, the member gives his or her name and identification.)
The member remains standing and awaits recognition by the chair.
2. The chair recognizes the member by announcing his or her name or title, or, in a small assembly, by nodding.
How the Motion is Brought Before the Assembly
1. The member makes the motion: “I move that (or ‘to’)…” and resumes his/her seat.
2. Another member, without rising, seconds the motion: “I second the motion,” or “I second it” or even just “second.”
3. The chair states the motion: “It is moved and seconded that …. Are you ready for the question?”
Consideration of the Motion
1. Members debate the motion. (See Parliamentary Basics – Discussion).
2. The chair puts the motion to a vote.
The chair asks: “Are you ready for the question?” If no one rises to claim the floor, the chair proceeds to take the vote.
The chair says: “The question is on the adoption of the motion that … As many as are in favor, say ‘Aye.. (Pause for response.) Those opposed, say ‘No.’. (Pause for response.
3. The chair announces the result of the vote.
“The ayes have it, the motion is adopted, and …. (indicating the effect of the vote),” or “The noes have it, and the motion is lost.”