Businesses must often conduct board meetings in order to decide what course of action they should take and to evaluate what they are doing. During these meetings, a board should follow basic parliamentary procedures – rules that keep a meeting organized, civil and efficient. To put an order of business, called a motion, on the table at a board meeting, you must introduce the motion, provide the opportunity for debate and hold a formal vote.
Raise Your Hand
Stand so that the chairman – the highest presiding officer at the meeting, usually the president of the board – sees you wish to speak. You may not stand when someone else is speaking and must wait your turn to be recognized. In less formal meetings, it often is acceptable to raise your hand instead of standing.
Wait for the Floor
Listen for the chairman to recognize you. He should say, "The board recognizes [your name]" or something very similar. This recognition gives you "the floor" – or authority to speak.
Raise the Board Meeting Motion
Say "I move that" and then state whatever it is you want the board to do. After you state your motion, another member of the board must say, "I second the motion" in order to show that at least one other person agrees the board should address the motion.
Discuss the Motion
Allow others on the board to discuss the merit of the motion and to present amendments to the original motion. You may make your own amendments or withdraw the motion altogether at this point if you like.
Listen for the Restatement
Listen to the chairman restate your motion after the board has thoroughly discussed it. The way the chairman restates the motion is the way the motion will be adopted. The chairman has the right to refuse your motion if it is out of order.
Take a Vote
Wait for the chairman to ask for a vote on your motion. He should say, "All those in favor, say yes" or something similar, followed by "All those opposed, say no." Following the vote, the chairman must announce the result of the vote. He also must offer instruction to corresponding members of the board related to the motion. The motion must have a majority vote or quorum dictated by your business procedures in order to pass and become a resolution.
If the motion is something about which you feel very strongly, do not let your emotions get the best of you during the discussion for the merit of your motion. Act professionally, presenting facts. Facts are often more persuasive and show you've done your homework and know the topic under consideration.
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