A Guide to Parliamentary Procedures


Knowing the procedures of meetings is vital to participation in meetings, whether they be committee or Board of Directors meetings. This means understanding the rules and bylaws of organizations, institutions, and community agencies.

It is likely that many individuals who sit on the Boards and committees of local community agencies have had little, if any, experience in formal meetings. In order to play a productive role in the organization’s business, each committee and Board member needs to (1) acquaint himself with its roles and bylaws and  (2) to understand and utilize basic parliamentary procedures.

One purpose of this manual is to familiarize the reader with parliamentary terms and procedures. The word “motion” for example is a key parliamentary term. A “motion” is a proposal for action to the Board or committee, or the group that is meeting. This is expressed formally so that every member knows what is being proposed and can vote for or against the motion.

Principal motions, procedures for nominations and elections, determinations of terms of office, and writing the agenda are all discussed herein. A chart on the procedures governing use of twelve ordinary parliamentary motions is included as a quick aid, as well as a chart on eleven additional parliamentary motions