Calling the Meeting to Order/Adjourning

Finally, it's time to call the meeting to order. The agenda is prepared. The members have arrived. It's time to begin.

Heading Them Up

The chair should call the meeting to order by saying, “The meeting will come to order.” A simple, “Will the members be seated so the meeting can begin” is often enough to gather a small group and start the meeting. Then, the chair can say, “This meeting will come to order.” Using a gavel is optional for the chair. Sometimes that's a bit too formal in a small group.

Moving Them Out

And you're done; it's time to adjourn the meeting. Whether it has been a short or long meeting, many important matters have probably been taken care of — or postponed to another meeting. Sometimes a quorum is present and business can be conducted. Other times, a quorum isn't present from the time the meeting should begin, and the meeting must be adjourned immediately. A member might rise and make a motion to adjourn, or there may be a fixed time to adjourn.

So, for however long or short your meeting might be, a member can make a motion to adjourn by saying, “I move that the meeting adjourn.” Another member seconds it. There is no debate. A majority vote decides the meeting is adjourned. The chair announces this in the same way that he announces the result of other votes (“The yeas have it”), and says, “The meeting is adjourned.”

ESSENTIAL

The chair can also adjourn the meeting. If you're the chair, you can ask, “Is there any further business?” If there is none, the chair can simply say, “If there is no objection, the meeting will adjourn.” Then, if no one says anything, “Since there is no objection, the meeting is adjourned.”

Using Robert's Rules can make meetings easier for those who preside over them and the members who participate in them. Some careful planning will ensure that the business that the group or organization wants to conduct will be orderly, democratic, and efficient. Attention to rules such as quorum requirements, special scheduling requirements (such as orders of the day), and knowing when to adjourn will make your meetings successful and, hopefully, enjoyable!

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