Chapter Operations Workbook

How to Run a Chapter Executive Committee Meeting

Before the Meeting 

Determine the purpose of the upcoming meeting and the attendance required-what business needs to be transacted; what reports need to be heard, etc. Once this is determined, one is then able to send out requests for any information or reports for backup for presentation at the meeting. Also, make sure individuals from those committees will be present to give their reports.

Determine location and time-take into consideration the geographical locations and traveling time of the members who will be attending as well as the length of time necessary for the conduct of the meeting. If there is a regularly scheduled meeting, check the minutes of the previous meeting to determine if this has already been established and if the time and place previously set are still reasonable.

Prepare the agenda-an agenda needs to be drawn up and sent to all members of the committee and those giving reports. It should include all topics to be discussed at the meeting and should also include the date, location, starting time, scheduled breaks, and anticipated adjourning time. Any supporting or background material to further explain or detail the items on the agenda should also be included.

    1. read the last meeting's minutes.
    2. check with the chapter secretary regarding any unfinished business from the previous meeting, responsibilities, reports which were to be presented at the next meeting.
    3. find out what progress has been made since the last meeting, e.g., if a committee was charged at the last meeting, determine if that committee has anything to report.

    When preparing the agenda fix a time limit per item on that agenda. This not only reflects the importance of the various items under discussion, but it also aids in the swift progression of the meeting so that the meeting will run within the confines of the predetermined time. Agendas have a set, fixed format. The following is a typical format for an agenda:

    Name of Meeting
    Meeting Date
    Meeting Location

    I. Call to order at (time) President
    II. Roll Call, Introduction of Guests Ms. B
    III. Reading & Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting .......... Secretary
    IV. Treasurer's Report Treasurer
    V. Committee Reports Nomination Committee ..................... Chair
      P.R. Committee ............................................................ Chair
    VI. Unfinished Business ...................................................... Mr. C
    VII. New Business .............................................................. Ms. D
    VIII. Announcements ............................................................ Mr. E
    IX. Program (if any) ............................................................ Mr. J
    X. Adjournment ................................................................. President

  1. Mail the agenda-determine who is to receive a copy of the agenda. Make sure everyone has a copy of the agenda and all relevant backup materials, information, and reports in plenty of time before the meeting so everyone will have adequate time to do their own preparation for the meeting. If you have guest presenters or committee reports scheduled, make sure that these individuals receive an advance copy of the agenda so that they may make arrangements to attend and to be prepared.
  2. Make sure that everyone has read the agenda in advance-before the actual conducting of the meeting, try to determine if the participants are well-prepared. Many unwise decisions have been based on decision maker's failure to be prepared.


At the Meeting 

  1. It is the responsibility of the President to make sure that all arrangements for the meeting are in order and that conditions are favorable - microphone is in working order, heating or air conditioning is working, etc.
  2. Call the meeting to order on time and follow the agenda for the meeting.
  3. In the conduct of the meeting, make sure that all motions and discussions are presented in proper form following the Society's requirements that all meetings follow Robert's Rules of Order (See section on Robert's Rules of Order).
  4. During the course of the meeting, direct a fair and impartial discussion of all questions, giving both sides an opportunity to speak. (Remember that a president can-not speak on an item while presiding. The president is a servant of the board.)
  5. State clearly all motions which are presented as well as recognize the individuals who have presented such motions and note if the motions were seconded so that the record of the minutes will read accurately and correct.
  6. When called for, put any measures to a fair vote:
    1. when bringing a motion to a vote, repeat the motion for clarity and correctness.
    2. voting may be in the form of: 1) voice vote (aye or no); 2) show of hands or by standing: 3) ballot (even if not required in the bylaws, a ballot vote can be ordered by a majority vote or by general consent; and/or 4) by general consent (frequently used for relatively unimportant matters or when the president is sure of a consensus in favor of the motion, i.e., if there is no objection to the motion it is carried by general consent. However, if there is any objection, even after the president has announced that the motion has passed, it must be put to a regular vote).
    3. Some presidents prefer to force the issue by calling dissenting votes first. This procedure forces undecided persons (who wait to see who is in favor before voting) to take a stand rather than to remain noncommittal.
    4. Announce the results of the vote and the resulting action to be taken, if any, for the record.
  7. Help in expediting business while guiding the meeting along-remembering the time limits which you placed for each item of the agenda.
    1. Assign a timekeeper, possibly the secretary, to limit time for debate, etc. If the item is crucial, then table it until the other items of business are taken care of, or schedule another special meeting. If you continue on that item, you may fail to complete several other items on the agenda.
    2. Following Robert's Rules of Order, restrain members within those rules to prevent interruptions and to move the meeting along expeditiously.
    3. Move the meeting along gently. For example, if discussion is lagging, suggest that it be put in the form of a motion. If discussion is lagging on a motion, suggest putting the motion to a vote, using general con-sent as much as possible in order for the proceedings to continue at a quick pace.
  8. Decide all questions of order, keeping in mind that the president's decision may be subject to appeal.
  9. End the meeting on time (or before)-remember that people have made other plans based on your agenda and the time-limits imposed.


When presiding over chapter business meetings, the president should stand when stating motions, putting questions to a vote and when speaking on an appeal or in defense of a ruling on a point of order. During debate, the president should stay seated and listen to a speaker. At Executive Committee meetings, or other small gatherings, the president may stay seated.

The president, as presiding officer of a meeting, liter-ally is the servant of the Executive Committee and the chapter. If the president feels that he/she must speak on a matter, he/she should relinquish the chair temporarily and ask the president-elect/vice president to preside until the question has been resolved. While the president-elect/vice president is in charge, the president is subject to the same rules that apply to any other member, and must leave the chair and sit with the other members. (See Office of Chapter President-Elect/Vice President)

After the Meeting

  1. Expedite the Minutes. Minutes should be concise and should include decisions, deadlines, and responsibilities. Minutes should go out within 48 hours of the meeting to all members of the Executive Committee for corrections and to remind them of their commitments. In the preparation of the minutes, work in close conjunction with the secretary, checking for accuracy as well as for any action which was proposed during the meeting which you now need to act on. (See Office of Chapter Secretary)
  2. Follow up on the progress reports, responsibilities, committees, as a result of the direction taken and outlined from the meeting. For example, if it was moved to appoint a task force or committee, start making appointments to that committee and help to initiate action.



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