Conducting An Effective Meeting


Be sure to have an agenda for each meeting. This will make the meeting run smoothly and less time will be wasted. It also assures that everything is considered and nothing is forgotten. The following is a standard “order of business” from which you can write your agenda:

  • Call to order
  • Roll Call - to determine if a quorum is present
  • Reading and Approval of minutes
  • Treasurer’s report (Placed on file)
  • Reports of other officers
  • Reports of Board or Committees
  • Reports of Special Committees
  • Unfinished Business
  • New Business
  • Announcements
  • Program
  • Adjournment


  • Start meetings on time.
  • Follow your agenda.
  • Write agenda on board or give each person a copy.
  • Have paper and pencil for each member. 
  • Use parliamentary procedure.
  • Find a regular meeting place—quiet, well-lit, well-ventilated, easy to locate.
  • Have a regular meeting time—once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month. If only once a month, be sure to communicate with your members between meetings. (Bulletin board, notes, announcements)



  • Is the meeting location reserved?
  • Are the tables and chairs set up appropriately?
  • Have all of the participants been notified and if necessary, reminded of the meeting time and location?
  • Has the agenda been prepared and printed?
  • Have all of the handout materials been printed, and are they stacked in the proper sequence?
  • Are all individuals making presentations during the meeting properly prepared? Are they also aware of their time allotments?
  • Are special guests, who will make reports and presentations, placed at the beginning of the agenda so there will not be any unnecessary waiting on their parts? Are they also aware of their time allotment?
  • Are the minutes of the last meeting prepared, printed, and ready for approval?
  • Are the items on your agenda placed in order of importance and priority? In the event that time runs out, this will ensure that the most important items have been covered.
  • Have you arranged for all needed audio/visual equipment? This equipment includes: blackboard, flip chart, slide projector, film projector, screen, extension cord, projector table or stand, chalk, eraser, felt tip pens, charts, etc.

On Opening the Meeting

  • The Chair calls the meeting to order.
  • No discussion is in order until a motion is before the meeting.

On Obtaining the Floor

  • When one wishes to speak, one rises, addresses the Chair, remains standing until recognized by the Chair.
  • The Chair usually stands to conduct the meetings so that those wishing to speak can be seen.

On Making Motions

  • A main motion brings a suggested course of action before an assembly.
  • The will of the assembly on this course of action must be determined before another main question may be brought before the assembly.
  • The assembly may express its will on the course of action proposed (unless the motion is withdrawn) by adopting it, rejecting it, amending it, delaying it, or suppressing it.
  • The motion should be stated in positive terms.

Example: “I move that the student council...”

On Seconding Motions

  • The seconder need not rise or be recognized by the Chair.
  • He/she simply says clearly and distinctly, “I second the motion.”

On Speaking

  • The person speaking should address remarks to the Chair.
  • The person speaking should limit all remarks to the question.
  • No one can speak unreasonably long (over ten minutes in ordinary societies), or more than twice on the same question on the same day, without permission of the assembly. No person can speak a second time on the same question if anyone desires to speak or has not spoken on that question.
  • If the chairperson wishes to enter the debate, the individual must relinquish the chair and not preside again until action has been taken on that motion.

On Nominations

  • Nominations do not require a second.
  • A two-thirds vote is necessary to pass a motion closing nominations.
  • Nominations may be re-opened by a majority vote before the election takes place. This may be amended but not debated.
  • Common methods for making nominations are: from the floor, by committees, and by rotation.

On Amendments

  • Motions are amended or modified:
    by elimination - “I move to amend by striking out the words...”
    by addition - “I move to amend by adding the words...” 
    by substitution - “I move to amend by substituting the words...”