More on the business of business meetings

Greetings 1st Oakville Toastmasters,

Last Thursday’s business session was ‘confusing’ as a guest indicated, and honestly I used to feel the same way.  Heck, I still feel that way sometimes!

For example, I questioned the Parliamentarian about the necessity of the Chair to request New Business.  The Chair of the evening decided to end the business session upon completing Business Arising from the Minutes, a bit earlier than indicated in the agenda.  As Secretary someone had indicated to me, by anonymous note, a new motion and was not presented an opportunity to raise it; I inquired about protocol as to whether this was permitted under Robert’s Rules of Order which govern our meetings.

Now the Parliamentarian may not have been paying attention and stated that the Chair had indeed requested new business, and I must have missed it, where the Chair admitted to me that she had deliberately omitted doing so.  During the discussion the anonymous member was not forthcoming in asserting his right to make a new motion, so I let it slide.

Regardless, at break a seasoned member commended me on my point.   She told me next time I could make a motion to Suspend the Rules.  Consulting Parliamentary Procedure afterwards, I was reminded this particular motion would allow us to ‘set aside rules that interfere with action desired’ and require a Second and a 2/3 Vote by the assembly.  This would have delayed the end of the business session for the member to bring forward his important new motion.  Also, she reminded me I could have kept the Chair in the loop ahead of time too.

Every meeting presents an opportunity to learn about how formal meetings are conducted, which is important to committees and governments internationally.  I am personally and professional grateful to learn in Toastmasters something that applies to my own goals moving forwards; communication and leadership skill continue to be invaluable in traditional business and political worlds.

~Eleanor Hayward RMT, Secretary 1st Oakville Toastmasters

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