HINTS AND HELP
Mrs. Gladys S. Hawkins, State Director 1959-1961
As a Past State Director, I have been asked to give to Table Directors a few duties to the State Organization. I do hope that they will help in a small way to make your year of office a happy one.
The Pan-American Round Table is not a club. It represents a movement of Pan-Americanism and its titular head is a Director.
All State Officers and all other Tables.
You will no doubt ask, "Are we not allowed local autonomy?" You are, so long as the Table operates within the framework of the Constitution and so long as your own Constitution and By-laws have been accepted by the Constitution and By-laws Committee of the State and Alliance. I am sure that if you study the above mentioned, you will realize that you enjoy a great deal of local autonomy.
The itemized suggestions and rules are very easily complied with. And if you try them, you will have a good Round Table and a happy membership, and that you will make a real contribution to your ideals and to our motto, "Unas para todas, y todas para unas".
I will try to give you some simple but helpful hints to make your presiding easier, efficient and pleasant. The following suggested lessons are arranged to help officers learn first the elementary things necessary in order to take part in a meeting, only a few of the simplest rules are called for in an ordinary meeting. The next step is to find a correct ruling at a glance rather than to attempt to remember all. First let me state that there are four basic rules for Parliamentary Procedure. Without them all else is lost.
1. Courtesy and justice to all;
2. Consider one thing at a time;
3. The minority must be heard;
4. The majority must prevail.
Be sure that all of your officers are acquainted with their duties. Before presiding at your first meeting, I would urge that you and your officers thoroughly acquaint yourselves with your Constitution and By-laws. This is most important, and you should always have a copy of such in your or your secretary’s possession during a session, unless you have your Parliamentarian present - in which case she should have one.
Whether in General meetings or Board meetings, do start on time. If a time has been set, there is obviously a reason for it. Stress that fact to your Board and to your general membership.
Have an agenda made up and abide by it and preside by it checking off each piece of business as it is disposed of, being sure that your secretary gets each correctly. Check with her immediately following the meeting. To wait until you get home and call her by phone might be too late.
Correct minutes are very important. They constitute a permanent record of your organization. It is not important that red, white and blue decorations were used, but it is important as to how much money was voted to be expended on a project and how the group voted on proposed legislation from the State or National Organizations. And it is important as to whether Mrs. Black or Mrs. Brown proposed an amendment to an amendment.
So, with your Constitution in mind and a good secretary, you should have no worry - unless you have made some poor choice in the appointment of Committee Chairmen, and I hope you have given serious thoughts to this. After this appointment has been made, it is out of your hands, and no chairman wants the president calling her every day or so as to how her project is going. She had rather report to you.
So, in presiding, I would stress these points. Always look your best, stand erect, speak and enunciate clearly, making your language definite. Remember that you were elected by the group, and that group is looking to you to lead them, and to always represent them well. Get names correctly. To some people there is nothing more deflating or irritating than to be introduced or spoken to by an incorrect name.
I am sure that you are acquainted with the order of business, i.e.:
Special orders for the day
Unfinished business - never old business
General orders for the day or new business
This order of business is flexible and could be so arranged as to accommodate Board members. After the above procedure it is best that the Chair entertain a motion to adjourn. Never let your meeting drag on or hang on, move efficiently from one item of the agenda to the next.
If there is a program, never say, "I will now turn the meeting over to Mrs. Jones". Rather say, "It gives me pleasure to introduce our Program Chairman". Remember that you are in "the Chair" until the meeting is adjourned.
In introducing a speaker either the president or the chairman, you should always have it understood just how long he is to speak and hold him to it, saying tactfully, 'Mr. or Mrs. __ will speak to us for 15 minutes" or the agreed or allotted time.
If as Director you wish to enter into a discussion or bring up any questions, step out of the Chair to do so asking the Associate Director to preside for you.
And speaking of Associate Directors, many organizations consider it an honor and a courtesy for the Director to ask the Associate Director to preside at one meeting during the year. Of course, she would always preside in the absence of the Director and be expected to move up in case of resignation or death of the Director.
Let us move on to Board meetings. Board meetings are very important and are set up for the convenience of taking care of the business of the organization - recommendations, resolutions, and so on, and to later be presented to the general membership for approval and adoption. If small items, such as approval of bills, committee appointments, etc. are handled at the Board meetings, only the reading of important items need be mentioned at the general meeting, and so it can move on to the program, the lecture or other forms of interest. Thus the membership is informed, but not tired out by such business. After all, the Board is elected to handle the organization's business. If any member at large objects to or wishes to speak to any of the recommendations or resolutions from the Board, that member is entitled to do so, and a discussion could follow, but seldom does.
It seems that most business resolves itself around motions. So lets discuss the processing of a main motion or resolution, and incidentally, about 80% of all motions are main motions as compared to resolutions.
There are "Basic rules for any debate".
These are simple rules and with them go my best wishes for a happy term of office.
Gladys S Hawkins (Mrs. W. W.)
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