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District Council Meeting 18 May 2024

Watch What Happened!

What Is A District Council Meeting?

District council meetings are opportunities to take care of District business. These meetings are defined, described and governed by District Administrative Bylaws and the Bylaws of Toastmasters International. Policies and Protocol, Protocol 7.1: District Events, 5. District Council Meetings, D. prescribes that certain business is conducted at District Council meetings.  You can read what Toastmasters International prescribes here.

Why So Formal?

District meetings use Robert's Rules of Order, a manual of parliamentary procedure created by Henry Martyn Robert.  He saw lots of very chaotic meetings that did not achieve their purpose, and he created the rules to help them do so.  Our District Parliamentarian, Dan Jackson, DTM, is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, which means he ensures we follow Robert's Rules.  

Robert covers things like who can talk when so that we don't talk over one another, how we make decisions so that they are fair, and who we give authority to and how much authority so that we all agree to be lead by them.  

What's A Motion?

The most perplexing part of a meeting, even to people who have been to many council meetings are the motions.  We'll step through an example here to help you understand what's happening. 

First, there is an item on the agenda, whereby a proposal is made.  For example, the Baking Committee recommends that at all Toastmasters meetings going forward, cupcakes will be served.  

Next, someone makes the motion by saying, their name, club number and, "I move that cupcakes be served at all Toastmasters meetings going forward".  Someone else seconds the motion.  This means that these two people want the people in the meeting to be able to discuss this idea.  The Chair then says, "The motion is that cupcakes be served at all Toastmasters meetings going forward.  Is there any debate?"

Now, there is a discussion.  Again, Robert does not allow for chaotic, talking over one another, shouting matches.  He requires us to stick very carefully to the question on the motion.  For this reason, there are motion forms on which the proposer (the person who makes the motion) will write the motion: we have to know exactly what the motion says.  

When all discussion is finished, the Chair will say, "The motion is that cupcakes will be served at all Toastmasters meetings going forward.  Are you ready for the question?"  This means, "are you ready to vote, yes or no to cupcakes being served?"  In the meantime, there may have been amendments to the motion, like "cupcakes or brownies".  There's a lot more to Robert's Rules, you can read more about it here, or talk to Dan, he'll be happy to tell you all about it!  

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