How to Make Sure You Are Heard at Membership Meetings

All association members have a right to be heard at membership meetings by presenting, seconding, debating and voting on a motion. A motion is a proposal that our membership take action or a position on a specific topic or issue.

To make a motion, wait until the previous person has finished speaking, then stand and address the chair by stating your name. “Mr. Chairman (or Madame President), my name is….” When the chair recognizes or acknowledges you, state your motion clearly and concisely. “I move that our community … .”

Once you have stated your motion, another member should second it so that debate and discussion on the issue can commence. If no one seconds it, your motion will not be considered. Once it is seconded, the chair will announce the motion so it can either be discussed or voted on.

If the topic is one that will be discussed or debated before voting occurs, then, as the person who introduced the motion, you are allowed to speak first. Direct your comments to the chair and briefly explain the motion. You and other speakers participating in the discussion should respect any predetermined time limit for comments. You may also be the last to speak on the matter.

Voting on the motion can take place when the discussion or debate is completed and the chair asks, “Are you ready for the question?” Members can vote by a show of hands, roll call or ballot. General consent, which assumes consensus that there’s no opposition to the motion, is another method of voting. The chair announces, “If there is no objection …,” and members show their consent by their silence. Those who oppose the motion should speak out politely but audibly, “I object.”

Then the chair announces the results of the vote.

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