Major Henry Robert of the U.S. Army published the first edition of "Robert's Rules of Order" in 1876 to establish standard procedures for group meetings. He based the rules on parliamentary procedure. A main motion in parliamentary procedure presents an item of business to the group for discussion. Other types of motion amend main motions, postpone motions or bring up urgent matters. Follow the same procedure to make any type of motion.

Step 1.

Stand while no one else is speaking and formally address the person presiding over the meeting -- for example, say "Madam Chairwoman" or "Mister President." State your name at a large meeting. Remain standing while the chair recognizes you.

Step 2.

Say "I move to..." or "I move that..." followed by your motion. Sit down and wait for another member to second the motion.

Step 3.

Defend or expound on your motion after the chair has restated the motion and opened discussion -- the person who made the motion speaks first during discussion, if they so desire. Address your comments to the chair.


The correct wording is "I move..." rather than "I make a motion..."

Learn the rankings of the different types of motions to ensure you are making the motion at an allowable point in the meeting.