What Is a Motion Seconded?

Motion Seconded / Motions Seconded

In a standard board meeting, a motion to discuss a specific business matter is presented by one of the members before the chair. For it to be considered, they need to have the motion seconded by another member of the board.

Importance of a seconded motion

When a motion is seconded, it indicates to the chairperson that at least two members would like the board to discuss the topic being presented. This process ensures that the board’s valuable time is not wasted in discussing matters considered important by only one member.

It is also important to note that seconding a motion does not imply that one is in favour of it. Instead, it simply indicates that the individual considers that the topic requires the deliberation of the whole board. In fact, some members use “a second” as an opportunity to speak against the motion being presented.

Process of seconding

Board meeting etiquette dictates the following process of presenting and seconding a motion:

  • A director introduces a clear and concise motion before the board via the chair.
  • A second member, without being recognised by the chair, agrees to bring it up for discussion before the board by saying, “I second” or “seconded”.
  • The matter is then brought to the table for consideration.
  • After holding a discussion, the chair leads a vote.

In the meeting minutes, the name of the member who introduced the motion is recorded but there is no need to record the identity of the seconder.

Exceptions to seconding a motion

Not all motions need to be seconded. For example, a motion made by an appointed board committee (with more than one member) or by the direction of the board.

Similarly, a motion made by a committee chair does not require a second as it has already been voted on by the committee to be presented to the board.

Other exceptions include:

  • Object to consideration
  • Point of privilege
  • Point of order
  • Point of information
  • Modify or withdraw a motion
  • Division of assembly
  • Call for the orders of the day
  • Reconsider a previous motion

What happens if there is no second?

If a motion, that requires a second, is presented and no one immediately seconds it, the chair will ask, “Does this motion have a second?” and take a brief pause. If there is still no one to second, the motion is discarded as though it was never presented to the board. However, such a motion can be reintroduced to the board again at a subsequent meeting.

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