Last fall, I was invited to be speaker at the February meeting of the Rotary Edmonton Strathcona club. I enjoy the opportunity to speak to different groups about improving governance and productivity in board meeting. I hear many presidents of clubs say that they had no previous knowledge of meeting procedures so they are learning “on the job”. That is normal but it can also be stressful.
Learning while doing is the best way for adults to learn. But what are you learning? Are you only learning based on what was done before or are you also learning from the governing documents of the organization? Are those governing documents available and up-to-date? Do the bylaws state the parliamentary authority as the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised?
I help boards and councils learn the proper procedures for productive, effective and efficient meetings. Last year, I designed a ten-hour leadership development program on meeting procedures that I deliver to boards with a choice of delivery over two to five sessions. I am currently booking training programs for fall/winter 2018.
Here is the story posted this week in the Rotary newsletter.
DIANA BACON, GOVERNANCE OPTIMIZER
This past Tuesday, we heard from Diana Bacon, who provides advice and training to boards and executive groups of many kinds on proper meeting procedures and tools to help make their meetings more productive.
She talked about Steven Covey’s seven habits of effective people and how they can be applied in practice. In particular, she mentioned two habits, ‘begin with the end in mind’, and ‘find your voice and inspire others to find theirs’. She emphasized that it is important not to be afraid to speak up and let other know your concerns. She said that some of the most helpful things to have in place to improve your meetings are a set of current bylaws and a written set of meeting rules (usually including the use of Robert’s Rules of Order) that establish a meeting structure and expectations (orders of the day) to be followed at each meeting. These orders of the day can also be part of the bylaws. She also stated the meeting agendas and reports to be discussed should be sent out in advance. She supplied a sheet of commonly used motions, which included what, why, when and how to word a motion properly.
She gave many different examples of problems that can arise during a meeting and had some very good suggestions on how to deal with these. One of these suggestions was to set discussion time limits prior to a motion, in order to allow everyone wishing to speak a chance to do so. She said that the chair of the meeting has a lot of power to keep the meeting under control, but should also act as a mentor for members who may not be fully conversant with proper meeting procedures. In closing, she said we should ask ourselves, how do we intend to improve the meetings that we attend.