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How to Conduct a Successful Meeting
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How to Conduct a Successful Meeting

When you serve as Chapter President, you have a responsibility to be well informed and an opportunity to gain leadership experience.  These successful ideas will provide greater benefits for you and members.  The result of a meeting is likely to be a reflection of your own preparation, knowledge, understanding, practice and skill.  If you are punctual and come prepared, you are likely to accomplish what you set out to do.  If you are aware of the correct procedure and direct it with dignity, you are likely to achieve positive results.



The effectiveness of Chapter meetings is enhanced by your ability to plan your agenda.

One week before the meeting:

  • Organize your meeting so that you know what is going to happen and when.
  • Confirm the participation of Chapter Officers, Committee Chairpersons, and guest speakers.  Advise each participant of the time allotted for his or her part of the meeting.
  • Ensure that a notice of the meeting time, place and planned program is sent to all members (the Chapter newsletter is an appropriate medium).

Before calling the meeting to order:

  • Obtain guest information from Sergeant-at-Arms or other appointed member as appropriate.
  • Obtain information on visiting NPMA members from Sergeant-at-Arms.
  • Announce program changes. 

Presiding over a meeting:

  • Follow proper parliamentary procedures when presiding.
  • Call the meeting to order ON TIME; don’t handicap the attendees by starting late.

    Order of Business:
  1. Call to order by the President
  2. Introduction of guests:  When there are visitors present, chapter meeting procedures should be explained briefly.  You are more than Chairperson of the meeting.  You are a host, and should make the Chapter’s procedures clear to visitors and new members.
  3. Minutes of the preceding meeting are read by the Secretary (May be approved as read or approved with additions or corrections.).
  4. Monthly statement of Treasurer:  “received as read and filed for audit” (Chair so states)
  5. The President calls for reports of standing committees.
  6. Unfinished business is next in order.
  7. New business
  8. The program: The program is part of the meeting.  The President presides throughout but the Program Chairperson makes a report.
  9. Adjournment.  At the end of the meeting, invite visiting NPMA members to comment.  Before adjourning, thank the Program Chairperson, visitors, and guests for attending.  Close the meeting with brief and appropriate remarks.  Occasionally call the members’ attention to an article in the NPMA magazine or Chapter newsletter.  Don’t ask, “Is there anything more?”  You should know the answer to this question.  Say instead that the meeting is adjourned and say it on time.
Paraliamentary Procedure

In presiding over a meeting, the Chapter President should keep in mind the fundamentals of parliamentary procedure.  Only a working knowledge is required.  Parliamentary procedures should be used as are needed.

Fundamentals of Parliamentary Law:

  • Justice and courtesy to all.
  • Do only one thing at a time.
  • The majority rules.
  • The minority must be heard.
  • The purpose is to facilitate action, not obstruct it.

Reminders for the Presiding Officer:

  • Correct procedure should always be your goal.
  • In dealing with motions or amendments, always state the exact wording.  Ask the Secretary to read it if you forget how it was phrased.
  • Discussion is not in order until the Chair has stated the motion. 
  • The Chairman does not enter discussions while presiding.  As a member of the assembly, he/she is entitled to a vote.
  • Always indicate clearly how a vote is to be taken, never call for “the usual sign.”
  • Always call for the negative note, saying, “Those opposed say, No.”
  • Adoption of an amendment does not mean adoption of the main motion.  Remember to state the main motion as amended.
  • Better to say:  “The motion is out of order” than, “The gentleman is out of order”.
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