Lunch — Please? (Recess)
Has the midday meeting gone on for so long that people look ready to faint from hunger? It might be time to make a motion for a recess — a break or suspension in the meeting. After all, not only is it hard to concentrate when you're hungry, but it might be difficult to hear if there's a lot of stomach rumbling from hunger pangs! People find it difficult to be interested in business when they need to address their personal needs.
Perhaps instead of taking a lunch break, your group or organization needs a stress break. If a controversial issue has divided your membership into two opposing factions and nerves are fraying in debate, a recess might be just what's needed. Taking a short — or long! — break can help members retreat to neutral corners and, afterward, approach the issue in a more conciliatory manner. If things are still heated after the break, well, at least everyone got a little time away!
Save Your Sanity — and Your Group
The privileged motion to take a recess is one that has saved more than one group or organization from splintering. Sometimes the only way to get some perspective is to get out of a meeting room and away from hearing — and thinking — about an issue. If someone on “the other side” of the issue is using persistence and a loud voice to hammer home a point, it might be a little hard to convince him that a recess is a good idea, but chances are, other members may be in agreement with you.
The Motion for Recess
To make a motion for a recess, you should first make certain that you are not interrupting any speaker. Gain the attention of the chair and say, “The time is [time]. I move that we recess for lunch and return at [new time].” Another member must second the motion. Other members can debate the amount of time for the recess and amend it, but not the motion to recess itself. Of course, the usual rules about amending motions apply here: There's a vote on whether there is approval of the amendment. The membership votes on the motion to recess and there must be a majority (not a two-thirds) vote.
Choose the length of your recess carefully. If it's too short, members may come back late. Too long a recess, and members could be tempted to just leave and not come back.