What Is the Order of Business?

Order of Business

The order of business is an outline detailing the sequence of activities that will take place in a meeting. This structured roadmap highlights the proper way to run a meeting by taking you through the necessary procedures, discussion topics and the right way to close.

Usual elements of the order of business

The standard structure of elements in the order of business includes:

  • Calling the meeting to order

The first order of business is to get the meeting started after the chair has ensured that a quorum — the minimum number of members required to conduct business — is present. The chair then calls the meeting to order by saying ‘the meeting will come to order’.

  • Approval of the minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting are distributed to all the members either before or during the meeting. The chair will ask the board if there is any objection to the approval of these minutes before approving them.

  • Reports from officers and standing committees

The first practical order of business is to hear reports from the officers and standing committees. These tend to relate to important business matters, hence their position towards the beginning of the meeting.

  • Reports from special committees

Special committees, unlike standing committees, do not run indefinitely. This part of the meeting involves hearing the reports from these committees regarding special projects.

  • Unfinished business

Unfinished business refers to any matter that was pending or not addressed in the previous meeting. After reports, these topics are debated and voted on.

  • New business

New business includes new items of consideration where members can raise motions and add topics of discussion.

  • Special Announcements

If there are any announcements, they are brought up after new business has been discussed.

  • Closing the meeting

The last order of business is to close the meeting. The chairperson asks if there is a motion to adjourn. After the motion to adjourn is raised and seconded, the meeting ends.

Variations to the order of business

The order of business is a standard that gives proper sequence to the developments in a meeting. However, certain situations can cause deviations. For example, when there is an urgent matter or guest presentations to include.

Benefits of a set order of business

Having a set order of business can improve company meetings in the following ways:

  • Maintains focus

Following a standard meeting sequence helps the board make the most of their time and direct their focus toward important business matters.

  • Ensures all business is covered

It ensures that all new and pending business is addressed and voted on by the board.

  • Aids preparation and organisation

It gives structure to the chain of events in a board meeting and streamlines the meeting agenda to aid preparation.

  • Makes meetings more efficient

Having designated sections dedicated to different elements of the meeting prevents overlap and improves momentum. All key topics are brought up and handled in their own time.

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