How to Preside a Meeting

You are made presiding officer at a meeting. You find yourself standing before the assembly.

What will you say?

1. Call the meeting to order.

“The meeting will please come to order.”

2. Then say:

“Is there any business to be brought before the house?”

3. If a motion is presented say:

“Is there any second to the motion?”

4. When a motion has been made and seconded, say:

“Is there any discussion?”

5. Call any person to order who attempts to speak without first addressing the Chair.

6. Allow full discussion of all debatable motions.

7. When the discussion has ended say:

“Are you ready for the question?”

8. If there is no further discussion say:

“It has been moved and seconded that (repeat the exact words of the motion.) All in favor please manifest by raising the right hand.” Then call likewise for a vote of those opposed. Announce the final result.

9. Permit debate on the following motions:

(a) Any ordinary motion.
(b) Any amendment.
(c) Any amendment of an amendment.
(d) Postponement of a question.
(e) Referring a question to a committee.
(f) Any appeal from a decision.
(g) Any question of privilege.
10. Prohibit debate on the following motions, and call for an immediate vote:
(a) To divide a motion.
(b) To withdraw a motion.
(c) To lay the question on the table.
(d) To consider the previous question.
(e) To read a paper.
(f) A call to a point of order.
(g) An objection.
(h) To suspend the rules,
(i) To take a recess,
(j) To adjourn.

11. Call for a vote upon any amendment before you call for a vote on the question itself.

12.. In case of any disorder say:

“The meeting will please come to order.”

13. If the disorder becomes entirely beyond control say:

“The meeting stands adjourned.”

14. Speak of yourself as “The Chair,” and never as “I.”

15. Do not debate or speak at length on any question unless you call another member to preside for the time.

16. Speak loudly and clearly.

17. Try to be absolutely fair.

18. Do all in your power to make the meeting move quickly.


Think out the words you will use in presiding at a meeting of your organization.

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