Chapter Resources

Parliamentary Procedures 101

Listed below are basic rules for following parliamentary procedure as they relate to formal meetings. If you have specific questions not addressed here, please see Robert’s Rules of Order (go to the FAQ section).

Agenda/Order of Business

1. Call to Order
"Will the meeting please come to order?"

2. Reading and Approval of Minutes

Option 1: "Are there any corrections to the minutes? There being no corrections, the minutes will stand approved as read."

Option 2: "Are there any further corrections to the minutes? There being no further corrections, the minutes will stand approved as corrected."

3. Reports of Officers and Standing Committees
Reports are given in the same order as positions are mentioned in the organization’s bylaws.

4. Reports of Special Committees

5. Unfinished Business
"We come now to unfinished business. Is there any unfinished business to come before the meeting?"

6. New Business
"Is there any new business to come before the meeting?"

7. Program


Unqualified Form: Motion for adjournment made and seconded; chairman calls for vote; action depends on majority vote. This motion cannot be discussed.

Qualified Form: Motion for adjournment within a definite time or adjournment to meet again at a specified time made and seconded; chairman calls for discussion, a vote is taken, and action depends upon a majority vote.

How Motions are Classified

Main Motions

  • Brings questions or propositions before the assembly for consideration.
  • Can be the only motion considered by the assembly until it is disposed of.

Subsidiary Motions

  • Modifies or disposes of the main motion being considered.
  • Existence depends on principle motion.
  • Can be proposed while main motion is still before the assembly.

Privileged Motions

  • No connection of this motion to the main motions before the assembly.
  • Due to importance, it is entitled to immediate consideration.
  • Main business is set aside temporarily to consider the privileged motion.

Incidental Motions

  • Arise only incidentally before the business of the assembly.
  • No specific characteristics define them.

How to Make a Motion

The proper way to make a motion is to raise your right hand and say, "Mr. (or Madam) Chairman." Wait for the chair to call on you. When the chair addresses you (calls you by name), please stand and say, "I move that association dues for Class A members be increased to $75." Be seated. The chair will then say, "Is there a second to this motion?" Another voting member should then raise his or her right hand and say, "I second the motion."

If no voting member seconds the motion, it automatically fails. Once the motion is seconded, the chair should say, "Is there any discussion?" The chair should allot a reasonable amount of time for members to debate the issue before taking a vote.

The chair will then say, "All those in favor of increasing association dues to $75 say 'aye'." The chair should then say, "All those opposed to increasing association dues to $75 say 'nay'." If there are enough votes in favor, then the chair should say, "motion carried" and pound the gavel once. If it cannot be determined whether the motion passed or failed, the chair should ask members to raise their right hand or stand in favor or opposition to the motion. The chapter secretary should assist the chair in tallying the votes at this time.

How a Motion May be Amended

Amend means to modify an existing motion that has been presented before the assembly.

Methods of Amending

  • Addition or insertion
  • Elimination or by striking out
  • Substitution

Types of Amendments

  • Amendment of the First Rank
    Amendment to a motion
  • Amendment to the Second Rank
    Amendment to the amendment

No amendment beyond that of second rank is possible.

Order of Voting on Amendments

Amendments are voted in inverse order — second rank amendments are disposed of first.

  1. Discussion held and vote taken on the amendment to the amendment (second rank).
  2. Discussion called for and vote taken on the amendment to the motion (first rank).
  3. When vote has been taken, discussion on the original motion or amended motion is open; when discussion is completed, vote is taken.


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