When All Else Fails
All of us have probably been around people who just want to push through 'til the bitter end. You know, the type of member who says, “We're already here, we've talked about this a lot. I'm willing to stay until it's resolved.” Maybe we've even been those people. And yes, there's a lot to be said for staying with something to get it resolved rather than having to deal with it over and over.
But maybe you just can't sit through a six-hour meeting on top of your workday (and you only had time for a crummy sandwich all day). Or, you've had to attend a second meeting because the first was adjourned to another time to continue what should have been settled at the first meeting. You care passionately about this group or organization but you just can't bear another minute in this hard chair discussing something that should have been settled ages ago.
Keep a Cool Head
If you're the chair, keep in mind that there are very real reasons why members can't stay at a meeting indefinitely or attend second, even third, meetings to finish business. Keep an eye out for potential problems. The longer a meeting goes — especially if it's an evening meeting — or the more the business is extended to other meetings, the more tired members become. They may be less than cooperative and reasonable conducting business.
Be prepared to be an arbiter if one group wants to be the type to push, push, push to get through and another group wants to call it a day. Remember, if the group who wants to leave does so, it might eliminate your quorum, which means everything's over for that meeting anyway.
Knowing When to Quit
If you're a member and there have been motions to adjourn that have failed and your chair seems to be one of those stick-to-it types, there's not a lot you can do. Leave if you must (quietly, of course), and don't feel you're obligated to make excuses as to why. Even the most like-minded group can have different opinions about things, but there should be no arguing over who is more committed to the group simply because one side wants to stay longer than the other over a matter.
As members begin to leave a long or late-hour meeting, keep an eye on your quorum requirements, or you may find that your group or organization is conducting business that won't be official.
If you've ever sat in a meeting room that was too hot or so cold that your teeth were chattering and you thought you had to put up with it, now you know differently. You have the information you need to bring up the situation in the proper way. Stuck in a meeting that's going nowhere fast and you need to get home or get back to the office? Reach into this chapter for the motions to adjourn or fix the time to adjourn or — well, you get the message. Knowing about privileged motions and using them correctly in your meetings will help you accomplish more (and enjoy more) whether you are a chair or a member.