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I Second that Motion

I Second that MotionHow do you feel about going to meetings?  Maybe your answer is, “It depends,” because it depends on any number of things, including how well or how poorly the meeting is conducted.

Many business meetings use some semblance of Parliamentary Procedure and Roberts Rules of Order to conduct business.  Whether you are the person presiding over or “chairing” the meeting, or a participant at the meeting, knowing the basics is very helpful.

Once a meeting has been called to order and the group is ready for the transaction of business, MOTIONS are the way items are brought forward to be discussed and voted on.

To present or introduce a motion, a member must first get the attention of the presiding officer.  Two ways this can be done are by raising your hand or by standing. 

Once the president or chair sees you standing or raising your hand they “recognize” you by calling your name.  That is what gives you “the floor” and permission speak.

The correct way to present or introduce a motion is to begin with the words, “I move.”  Follow those two words with a statement of what you are proposing.  For example, “I move the sale date be Friday, November 6.” 

The most common mistakes in presenting or introducing motions are to say, “I make a motion….,” or “I motion that….”  Remember, the correct way to begin is to say, “I move…..”

Once a motion has been made, another member can second the motion by saying, “I second that motion.” 

If you second the motion, does it mean you are in favor of the motion and obligated to vote for it?  No. 

When a member seconds a motion, it just means that the member feels the motion deserves to be discussed.  If there is no second for a motion, the motion “dies” for lack of a second.  The president announces, “The motion dies for lack of a second.”  No discussion or action on it takes place, and the group moves on to the next item of business.

However, if the motion is seconded, the president or chair announces, “It has been properly moved and seconded…,” followed by a re-statement of the motion, word-for-word.  For example, “It has been properly moved and seconded that the sale date be Friday, November 6.”

Then the president or chair asks, “Is there any discussion?”  At that point, members who want to speak raise their hand or stand and wait to speak until they have been recognized by the president or chair.  Remember, being recognized (called upon) by the president or chair is which gives the member “the floor” and permission to speak.

Discussion of a motion consists members stating why they favor or oppose the motion.  When discussion has ended, the president or chair calls for a vote.

The person who made the motion is not obligated to vote for the motion because he may have changed his opinion based on something that he heard or learned during the discussion.  Likewise, the person who seconded the motion is not obligated to vote in favor of the motion, either.

If you would like training or resources from NDSU Extension to learn more about conducting business meetings, email cindy.klapperich@ndsu.edu or call 701-724-3355. 

Photo Source:  https://pixabay.com/photos/gavel-statue-pool-at-2771088/ (downloaded 11/3/20)

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