Guidelines For Efficient Board Meetings


What are Parlimentary Procedures?

1. A set of rules that helps people work together in groups efficiently

    a. Speeds up meetings

    b. Maintains order

    c. Ensures equality for all Members


Duties of a Parliamentarian

1. Effective meeting management

2. Reviews agenda before the meeting

3. Advises the president during the meeting as needed

4. Make the president look good!

5. Makes sure the organization’s rules are followed


General Principles of Parliamentary Procedures

1. All members have equal rights, privileges, and obligations; rules must be administered impartially.

2. Full and free discussion of all motions, reports, and other items of business is a right of all members.

3. Only one question can be considered at a time.

4. Members may not make a motion or speak in debate until they have risen and been recognized by the chair.

5. No one may speak more than twice on the same question. No member may speak a second time on the same question if anyone who has not spoken on that question wishes to do so.

6. Members must not attack or question the motives of other members. All remarks are addressed to the presiding officer.

7. In voting, members have the right to know at all times what motion is before the assembly and what affirmative and negative votes mean.


Rights of a Member

1. Attend meetings

2. Make motions

3. Debate motions

4. Vote on motions, unless special rules apply, then only persons legally entitled to vote may vote.

5. Nominate for office

6. Serve as an officer


Duties of Members

1. Attend meetings

2. Obey the rules of the organization

3. Work to achieve the goals of the society

4. Fulfill any assigned duties


Order of Business

1. Call the Meeting to Order

2. Opening Ceremonies (optional) a.Pledge of Allegiance, Creed, Roll Call

3. Reading and Approval of Minutes

4. Reports of Officers, Boards, and Standing Committees

5. Reports of Special Committees

6. Special Orders

7. Unfinished Business

8. New Business

9. Program (optional)

10. Announcements

11. Adjournment


Eight Steps to Handling a Motion

1. Stand and be recognized

2. Make the motion

3. Second the motion

4. State the motion

5. Debate the motion

6. Put the question

7. Vote on the motion

8. Announce the results


Rules of Debate

1. Debate is not in order until a motion is stated by the Chair

2. The maker of the motion has the right to debate first

3. Each member can speak twice for ten minutes each time on a motion

4. All debate must be germane (related to) the motion

5. Do not attack other members in debate

6. Avoid using names and refer to officers by title


Rules Governing the Consideration of Motions

Some motions require more than a simple majority vote to pass. If a motion takes away a members right it requires a 2/3 majority. Some examples are Call for the Question or Orders of the Day, Previous Question, Limit or Extend Debate, Discharge a Committee, Rescind a Motion, Objection to Consideration, and Suspend the Rules.



1. A motion to adjourn may be made by any member. It may be made during the consideration of other business, although it may not interrupt a speaker.

2. The motion to adjourn is out of order when the assembly is arranging for the time and place of the next meeting.

3. When it appears that there is no further business to be brought before the assembly, the chair, instead of waiting for a motion, may simply adjourn the meeting.


  1. Unless special rules apply, all members may vote. Example: where an assembly only allows one vote per organization, club, or department . Then only persons legally entitled to vote may vote.
  2. Unless special rules apply, a majority decides. A majority is more than half of the votes cast by persons legally entitled to vote, excluding blank ballots or abstentions.
  3. Unless otherwise provided for, voting is by voice vote.
  4. Any member may request a division of the assembly if there is uncertainty as to the true result of the vote.



The duty of the secretary is mainly to record what is "done" by the assembly and not what is said by the members. The minutes should show:

1. Kind of meeting,
2. Name of the organization or assembly;
3. Date/time of meeting and place
4. The fact of the presence of the regular chairman and secretary, or in their absence
the names of their substitutes
5. Whether the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved, or approved as corrected, and the date of the meeting if other than a regular business meeting;
6. All main motions (except such as were withdrawn) and motions that bring a main question again before the assembly, stating the wording as adopted or disposed of, and the disposition--including temporary disposition (with any primary and secondary amendments and adhering secondary motions then pending;
7. Secondary motions not lost or withdrawn where needed for clarity of the minutes;
8. Previous notice of motions;
9. Points of order and appeals, and reasons the chair gives for the ruling;
10. Time of adjournment.

The secretary should sign the minutes, and in some societies the minutes are also signed by the president. When the minutes are approved, the word "Approved" should be written on the minutes with the secretary’s initials and the date.

The essentials of a record should be entered, as previously stated, and when a count has been ordered or where the vote is by ballot, the number of votes on each side should be entered. When the voting is by roll call, a list of the names of those voting on each side should be entered, and those answering “Present”, and enough names of those present, who fail to respond, to reflect that a quorum was present.

Source of Information:

The Tenth Edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised: The book on parliamentary procedure for parliamentarians and novice club presidents. Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised is this country's recognized guide to smooth, orderly, and fairly conducted meetings.