you are inexperienced in chairing formal meetings, such as the club
Annual General Meeting or the monthly club meetings, this resource
provides some helpful hints.
The chairperson and/or president ’s
role is to control the meetings, accept motions and amendments, rule on
points of order and see that the wishes of the meeting are carried out
correctly and expediently. In this document, the president is referred
to as the chairperson.
Meetings do not have to be run formally all the time. It is up to the
chairperson to decide how formally each meeting will be run. There are
times when you, as leader, must know the essential rules in order to:
Meetings are necessary for:
Running purposeful and participative meetings can be challenging. Common experiences include:
These issues are not always easy to address, but meetings can be more
effective if they are well planned with a clear purpose, effectively
chaired and focused on decision-making.
The agenda is the basis of any meeting and provides direction,
structure and purpose. The agenda should be drawn up jointly by the
chairperson and secretary and should be followed in order, unless the
meeting directs otherwise. The agenda and any relevant information
should be circulated prior to the meeting so that members may attend the
meeting prepared to make a well-informed contribution.
The club rules should specify a quorum – a specified
minimum number of eligible members who must be present at a meeting to
make the proceedings valid at the specified starting time.
If necessary, the chairperson may use his or her power to delay the
appointed starting time to give every opportunity for the necessary
number to be present. Upon being satisfied that a quorum is present, the
meeting should be formally declared open.
If the numbers at the meeting fall below the quorum at any stage
during proceedings of the meeting, no further decisions should be made.
Club rules may allow partial attendance at meetings and therefore the
meeting can continue.
Declare the meeting officially open. This is important as the business of the meeting is recorded from this point on.
Identify the meeting by quoting the specific title and class of it,
e.g. make the opening a firm statement – “I declare this regular
(monthly) meeting of (South City Youth Club) open”.
It is the chairperson’s duty to ask for any corrections to the
minutes of the previous meeting (amend if necessary) and then call for
the motion – “it is the wish of the meeting that I sign these minutes
(as corrected, if they were amended) as a true and accurate record of
the previous (monthly) meeting held on (date)”.
The sole purpose of confirming or adopting minutes is to ensure their
accuracy. Reading lengthy minutes in detail is unnecessary, boring and
destructive to a meeting.
A simple formula for reports:
This format keeps reports to the point. The recommendations (when
appropriate) are similar to a ‘motion’ to give the executive something
definite to discuss.
All items of business requiring a decision must come before the
meeting by way of a motion and if passed, becomes a resolution. A motion
should be proposed before the chairperson allows any debate or
discussion on the topic. This promotes an orderly discussion. Once a
motion has been moved the chairperson should make sure discussion does
not depart from the point.
The mover, standing and addressing the chair, introduces the motion –
“I move that...”. This introduces an item of business for the meeting’s
scrutiny and has the floor when there is no other motion before the
The mover must state their case to the meeting on that motion only
and may not be interrupted by the chairperson unless the motion is
frivolous or ridiculous and is unlikely to be seconded.
The motion should be clear, concise and unambiguous and not be
introduced to the meeting until it is clear. The mover is granted right
of reply at the end of the debate.
This implies there is support for the motion. The speaker must
introduce his/her support with, “I second that motion”. The seconder,
who has no right of reply, may speak when he or she seconds the motion
or reserve a speech until after further debate.
If there is no seconder the motion lapses.
Immediately after a motion has been proposed and seconded the
Chairperson can save time and cut out repetition by declaring, “Does
anyone wish to speak against the motion?” If no, the motion may be put to the vote.
If yes, the order of debate should be speaker
against, then for (i.e. alternately), with no speaker (except the
seconder’s reserved speech and mover’s right of reply, point of order,
or personal explanation, e.g. correcting a misquote) speaking more than
If an amendment is lost, the original or previously amended
motion again has the floor and the latest amendment is not incorporated
into the motion.
At the end of a debate, the chairperson puts the motion to the vote. Different forms of voting are by:
Unless specified otherwise in the club rules, a simple majority vote
by voices is often enough to cause the chairperson to declare the
result. If there is any doubt on the voice vote, the chairperson may
call, or be called upon by a member, for a show of hands. The club rules
should nominate the necessary majority needed to ensure motions are
Unless someone demands a ballot or division immediately after the
voice or show of hands vote had been declared, the decision of the
chairperson is binding. If there is an equal number of votes for and
against on the first and second show of hands and after a ballot, the
proposal is rejected.
The club rules should provide for voting power of the chairperson who may have:
If the motion (as amended) is lost, the meeting proceeds to the next item of business.
A person in the chair leads but does not direct. Although he/she
controls procedure and conduct, that person oversees the meeting, which
is conducted for the benefit of the members.
A chairperson should have the following phrases on the tip of his or her tongue:
Do not submit enquiries with this form.