LET'S HAVE A MEETING
(Continued from our last number)
Why is it, under some circumstances, unwise to hold a meeting today in the same way as the Maori used to do a hundred years ago? The reason is of course that there is far more happening — life is moving much faster. Although there is still, of course, a place for the traditional Maori meeting, the modern way of holding one may sometimes save much time and help to get through a big programme of work comfortably.
In the last issue of Te Ao Hou we explained the importance of preparing an agenda for each meeting so that everyone knows what is to be discussed and — most important — in what order. We shall now explain the modern way of holding a meeting in some detail.
In making a success of a meeting everything depends on the ‘chairwoman’. Not long ago people felt that a person presiding over a meeting should be a man, a chairman. Nowadays, however, ‘Madam Chairman’ may be heard on public platforms all over the world with the same respect as Mr Chairman.
A good chairwoman must know three principal things:
First, she must know the business of the meeting thoroughly. She must follow the discussion closely and grasp everything that is being said.
Secondly, she must know how to control the people in front of her. Nobody may speak without her consent, she must be definite in her rulings and always in control. She must give everyone an opportunity to speak, but allow nobody to speak too much or too often. She must confine every speaker to the subject that is supposed to be discussed. While guiding the meeting, she must herself remain strictly impartial.
Thirdly—and this is most important—she must know the rules of holding a meeting. These rules are of two kinds. There are the rules laid down in the constitution of her organization. She has to know these throughly of course and they may often guide her in her rulings during meetings. Then there are also the general rules that apply to any meeting at all. Such are the rules set out below.
WORKING THROUGH THE AGENDA
1. The Chairman opens the meeting and takes any apologies.
Chairman: ‘I declare this meeting of the …. branch of the Welfare League open. Are there any apologies?
Mrs P.: ‘Mrs N. asked me to apologise for her absence today on account of her children's sickness.’
Chairman: ‘Thank you, Mrs P.’
The Secretary records the apology in the minutes.
2. Confirmation of the Minutes of the last meeting.
Chairman: ‘Would the Secretary, Mrs W., please read the minutes.’
Secretary: ‘Madam Chairman—The Minutes of the monthly meeting of the …. branch of the Welfare League held in the …. on Wednesday, May 6, at 2 p.m. Fourteen members were present, apologies being received from Mrs W. and Mrs T. The president, Mrs P., was in the chair.’
Mrs P. welcomed three visitors from the …. branch of the League, and the speaker for the afternoon, Mrs K. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed. There was no business arising out of the Minutes. The Secretary read a letter from the Women's Institute in …. inviting the League to send three members to a joint Sub-Committee to discuss the combined cooking display planned for October. After some discussion it was resolved that Mrs P., Mrs W., and Mrs O. represent the League at that meeting. Moved Mrs M. Seconded Mrs T. Carried.
The President introduced Mrs M., who spoke on ‘The Prevention of Accidents in the Home’.
Mrs C. thanked Mrs M. for coming to speak to the League.
The President reminded members that the date for the next meeting was Wednesday, June 3, and the meeting closed.
Afternoon tea was then served.
Chairman: ‘Thank you, Mrs W. Would someone please move that these Minutes be confirmed?’
Mrs K.: ‘I move that the Minutes be confirmed.’
Mrs O.: ‘I second that motion.’
Chairman: ‘It has been moved by Mrs K., seconded by Mrs O. that the Minutes be confirmed. All those who were present at that meeting and agree that these minutes are a true record please say “Aye.” Those against? …. The Motion is carried.’
The Secretary records this Motion in the Minutes.
3. Business arising out of the Minutes.
Chairman: ‘Is there any business arising out of these minutes?’
Mrs O.: ‘Madam Chairman, I should like to report that we met the Women's Institute at the Joint Committee on the Combined Cooking Display. The date we agreed on is October 7, which is Sale-Day. It was decided that the display should be open from 10.30 until 4 p.m. There will be a demonstration of bread making at 11 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. The suggested charge for admission is 2/-, which would include afternoon tea. We have been asked to appoint three of our members to act permanently on the Joint Sub-Committee.’
Chairman: ‘Thank you Mrs O. Would anyone care to suggest some names for the Sub-Committee?
Mrs T.: ‘Madam Chairman, I move that the Sub-Committee members be Mrs P., Mrs W., and Mrs O. since they have already represented us so successfully at the first meeting with the Institute.’
Mrs N.: ‘I second that.’
Chairman: ‘It has been moved by Mrs T. and seconded by Mrs N. that Mesdames P., W., and O. be our representatives on the Joint Sub-Committee. Is there any discussion?’
Mrs T.: ‘Madam Chairman, I think the display is far too close to the Flower Show and move that the date be re-considered.’
Chairman: ‘May I remind you Mrs T. that there is already a Motion before the meeting. Does anyone else wish to speak to the Motion? If not, I shall put the motion.’
‘It has been moved by Mrs T. and seconded by Mrs N. that Mesdames P., W., and O. be our representatives on the Joint Sub-Committee. All those in favour please say “Aye” …. those against? Carried.
The Secretary records this Motion in the Minutes.
Chairman: ‘Now Mrs T if you wish to make a recomendation to the Sub-Committee about changing the date, would you move in that direction?
Mrs T.: Madam Chairman, if I may I should like to move that our representatives ask that the date be changed to a Sale-Day later in October, etc., etc., etc.’
Chairman: ‘Is there a seconder for that Motion?’ ….
The Motion lapses for want of a Seconder.
(The Chairman should look through any correspondence before the meeting opens.)
Chairman: ‘Would the Secretary please read the correspondence?’
The Secretary reads the correspondence aloud. None of the letters require an answer except one from Mrs E. resigning from the .…. Branch since she is leaving the district.
Chairman: ‘Would someone please move that the correspondence be received.’
Mrs O.: ‘I move that the correspondence be received.’
Mrs K.: ‘I second that.’
Chairman: ‘It has been moved and seconded that the correspondence be received. All those in favour please say “Aye” … those against? Carried.
The Secretary enters the motion in the minutes.
5. Business arising from the Correspondence.
Chairman: ‘I am so sorry that Mrs E. is leaving us, but I know that she will be very welcome in the branch of the Welfare League where she is going. I should like to move that the Secretary write to her, regretting that she is leaving us, thanking her for her work for this branch and wishing her every success in ….’
Mrs K.: ‘I second that.’
Chairman: ‘You have heard the terms of the motion. All those in favour, etc.’
The Secretary enters this in the minutes.
We have now worked through the first five items on the AGENDA. The next items will be dealt with in the next article.
6. Business of the day arranged in a suitable order.
8. Arranging the date of the next meeting.
9. The closing of the meeting.
We shall deal in detail with Election of