Make Sure Members Are Heard at Annual Meetings While Preserving Order

The association’s annual meeting is the best opportunity for members to learn about this year’s events and get caught up on everything happening in your community. A few agenda items and meeting activities members won’t want to miss are:

  • Meet board and committee members and the manager.
  • Get an update on all current and future scheduled projects.
  • Review last and this year’s budget, and hear the association treasurer explain how assessments are being used and reserves are being invested.

These topics often raise questions or debate.  And all association members have a right to be heard at membership meetings by presenting, seconding, debating and voting on a motion. A motion is a proposal that membership must take action or a position on a specific topic or issue.

If a member wants to make a motion, they should wait until the previous person has finished speaking, then stand and address the chair by stating their name. “Mr. Chairman (or Madame President), my name is … .” When the chair recognizes or acknowledges them, they should state their motion clearly and concisely. “I move that our community … .”

Once they have stated the motion, another member should second it so that debate and discussion on the issue can commence. If no one seconds it, the motion will not be considered. Once it is seconded, the chair will announce the motion so it can either be discussed or voted on.

If the topic is one that will be discussed or debated before voting occurs, then the person who introduced the motion is allowed to speak first. They should direct comments to the chair and briefly explain the motion. They and other speakers participating in the discussion should respect any predetermined time limit for comments. They may also be the last to speak on the matter.

Voting on the motion can take place when the discussion or debate is completed and the chair asks, “Are you ready for the question?” Members can vote by a show of hands, roll call or ballot. General consent, which assumes consensus that there’s no opposition to the motion, is another method of voting. The chair announces, “If there is no objection …”, and members show their consent by their silence. Those who oppose the motion should speak out politely but audibly, “I object.”

Then the chair announces the results of the vote.