It is impossible to run a club smoothly without holding meetings, however, all members do not have to attend meetings. Most attend only the annual general meeting (AGM) where the members elect a committee to look after their interests for the rest of the year.
The committee then meets on a regular basis (as deemed in the club's constitution, usually monthly) to manage the club's affairs.
At the AGM, members review the club's activities over the past year and make plans for the forthcoming year.
An exception to this pattern is when a vital matter needs urgent discussion by the whole club. The club rules should specify how, when and why the different meetings should be held.
Special meetings are usually called for major and urgent changes to the constitution or rules. To prevent decision-making falling into the hands of only a few, the club's rules should specify a quorum - the minimum number of people required to make decisions for the club.
Before the meeting, the chairperson should discuss with the secretary the composition of the agenda and ensure that it is circulated well before the meeting.
Throughout the meeting the chairperson:
If a club follows the correct procedures, meetings will tend to flow smoothly, run on time and be an effective and fair vehicle for decision making. In some cases there are no defined procedures at all and in other cases the procedures are so defined and restrictive that both groups achieve the same result - virtually no worthwhile decisions.
Meeting procedures are set up to:
Club members should be kept aware of the meeting procedures of their club and be kept informed of any changes.
Within any meeting there are commonalities that occur such as motions, voting, minutes, etc (refer to your club's constitution for those that apply to your club).
A motion is a formal recommendation put to a meeting for debate, consideration and decision. All items of business or issues requiring a decision must be presented to the meeting as motions which, if passed, will then become resolutions.
All motions should be proposed by the 'mover' in front of the chairperson and then supported (seconded) by another committee member before any discussion can take place on the item. Example: 'Club fees should be increased by 15% next year'.
Once seconded, the chairperson asks the proposer to speak to the motion. Other committee members can also add to the discussion. Once discussion is finished or if there is no discussion, the motion is then put to the meeting for decision. Members vote on whether they agree or disagree with the motion.
All motions carried or otherwise must be minuted. If passed the motion becomes a resolution. It should be minuted as in the following example:
It was resolved that the fees should be increased by 15% next year. MOVED: J.Budge/SECONDED: F.Close/CARRIED
The chairperson must have a clear understanding of the voting rights of members as outlined in the constitution. There are different ways of voting at meetings. The chairperson must decide which is the most appropriate for the decision being reached.
When chairing formal meetings the chairperson should ensure that:
The meeting is formally closed by the chairperson after the arrangements for the next meeting have been made.
When chairing informal meetings or discussions the chairperson should:
A brainstorm meeting is used when a club is trying to come up with ideas, such as for a project, event or promotion strategy. When chairing a brainstorming session the chairperson should:
Before the meeting:
At the AGM additional duties may include:
Recording the minutes of the meeting:
The agenda may have been set at the previous meeting. It is usually prepared in consultation with the chairperson. To prevent absenteeism, an interesting and varied agenda should be prepared. Download sample Meeting Agenda.
The sound structure of any committee is integral to the overall success of a club. By identifying the various tasks that need to be completed by committee members and assigning those tasks to people with the appropriate skills, you will have a stable and well run club.
Make sure that the participants are clear about the different structures by which committees can function. Clubs may be similar or different, but whatever the situation, ensure that the club puts in place the structure that suits.
Remember: Sticking to the agreed agenda and timeline will provide a more efficient meeting.