Based on Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)
Part of any meeting should be a systematic plan for the orderly conduct of business. The sequence in which business is taken up during a meeting is known as the “Order of Business.” The Order of Business is a blueprint for the meeting and typically has the following components:
OPENING THE MEETING
Once a quorum is present, the presiding officer calls the meeting to order by stating, “The meeting will come to order.”
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
REPORTS OF OFFICERS, BOARDS, AND STANDING COMMITTEES
Reports are generally for information only. In such instances, no motion is necessary following the reports unless there are recommendations to be implemented. A motion “to adopt” or “to accept” a report is seldom wise except when the report is to be issued or published in the name of the organization. On the other hand, it is common that the reporting member end by making a motion if there is a specific recommendation for action.
For example, the Facilities Committee may have studied the buildings and grounds. In her report, the committee chairman might thank the members of the committee for their hard work and explain in detail the committee’s position and reasoning. At the end of her report, the committee chair would close by saying something to the effect of, “On behalf of the committee, I move that Building X be renovated at a cost not to exceed $50,000.00.”
REPORTS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEES
The presiding officer should know if there are any items to be considered under unfinished business. As a result, the presiding officer should not ask, “Is there any unfinished business?” Instead, the presiding officer should simply state the question on the first item of business. If there is no unfinished business, the presiding officer should skip this category of business.
The presiding officer introduces the heading of new business by asking, “Is there any new business?” Any member can then introduce new items of business by making a motion and obtaining a second. Following the consideration of each item, the chair repeatedly asks, “Is there any further new business?” This process continues until there are no additional business items.
CLOSING THE MEETING
If custom or tradition requires that a motion to adjourn be made, the presiding officer can ask, “Is there a motion to adjourn?” Once the motion is made and seconded, the presiding officer can ask, “Is there any objection to adjourning the meeting? Hearing no objection, the meeting is adjourned.”
Jim Slaughter is an attorney, Certified Professional Parliamentarian, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, and past President of the American College of Parliamentary Lawyers. He is author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Parliamentary Procedure Fast-Track and lead author of Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fourth Edition.
Charts and articles are intended to provide general information on parliamentary procedure and are not legal advice or a legal opinion.