MEETINGS and CONFERENCES and REPORT WRITING
Meetings form a major part of communications within modern business, and all secretaries should be familiar with the procedures involved. Every conference is a meeting but not every meeting is a conference.
A meeting is the coming together of three or more people who share common aims and objectives and who through the use of verbal and written communication contribute to the objectives being achieved.
Meetings can be more informal usually just a few people and can often be held in-house. An appointment between two people, a gathering of all the employees in an office, gathering of family members, session of a book club, assembly of people for a religious purpose etc can all be considered as meetings.
Meetings can be casual and unplanned. For example, the employees in an office may be called for a sudden meeting to discuss a problem that has popped up. Here, the topic under discussion is not also planned. Therefore, meetings may or may not be preplanned.
Meetings can be held in the office, home or any similar space. A meeting does not usually include a very large crowd.
A meeting can be over in a few short hours. In some cases it won’t even take an hour.
A conference is a gathering of people with a common interest or background with the purposes of allowing them to meet one another and to learn about and discuss issues, ideas and work that focus on a topic of mutual concern.
Conferences may last for days.
Conferences can be held in-house but more often than not are held externally as they can involve large numbers of attendees.
A conference is a formal meeting and will have a particular agenda and a programme of activities planned. Conferences are, therefore, preplanned and held on a large scale where a lot of people attend.
A conference also has a formal progress; speakers and the topics for discussion are always selected before the conference.
A conference may be held over a span of a few days.
Therefore, meetings and conferences are all events where people get together to consider a particular subject; usually the difference is one of scale.
PURPOSES OF ATTENDING MEETINGS
- To review progress of work or an activity in which you are involved as members.
- To introduce new members of staff.
- To discuss directives and ways of implementing those directives.
- To share ideas and information with each other as members of that meeting or share new information that you as the Chairman would like to bring.
- To plan future activities with our areas of work.
- To reach group decisions on certain issues that may have arisen during the course of our work, and to share our opinions and problems.
TYPES OF MEETINGS
- Formal meetings
Are conducted according to certain rules, and a written record (called the minutes) is made of the events of the meeting. Some formal meetings are determined by law, for example, Statutory meetings, others are governed by rules and regulations or the constitution of the organization.
Examples of formal meetings
- General meeting – It is a regularly held meeting attended by all members of the organization. It may be called each month or quarterly or held once a year when it is known as Annual General Meeting.
- Annual general meeting – held by companies as laid down in the companies act. It is open to shareholders and a 21 days clear notice is given. Its purpose is to reappraise the companies affairs for the past year in the form of an annual report, and presenting financial accounts, elect or reinstate office holders for the coming year and generally declare it future intentions. It is a shareholder’s meeting called to transact business of interest to shareholders held once a year.
- Extra-ordinary general meeting – It is held by companies at the request of representatives of 10% of the total voting shares. It is held on occasions when a decision is required, which according to an organization’s rules, needs the approval of members, it is open to shareholders. In such a meeting matters cannot wait until the specified date of the next general meeting.
- Statutory meeting – Companies are requested by law to hold a meeting not earlier than one month or late than three months after it commences trading.
- Board meeting – are meetings by the directors of company chaired by the chairman of the board or his deputy.
- Committee meeting – They arise in order to ensure greater worker participation in certain areas of management decisions. Committee meetings are attended only by the committee members, that is, Chairman, Secretary, treasurer, one or several members duly appointed.
Committee members will either be appointed or elected according to the circumstances.
Types of committee
- Executive committee – It carries on the actual management of an organization and has definite powers delegated to it to make decisions and act on its own initiative on behalf of the organization. The Board of Directors of a limited company is an executive committee.
- Standing committee – It is permanently established to deal with recurrent matters which have been delegated to it. It acts on its own initiative only within the framework of the powers conferred upon it, and will ultimately report back to the executive committee.
- Advisory committee – It is concerned with advising the executive committee. In its own right it may then form its own sub-committees which will report back directly to it, and it will in turn coordinate the findings and make recommendations which it will present to the executive committee.
- Subcommittee – A parent committee may, if it has the necessary power, appoint a subcommittee from within its members to study and discuss certain matters. The subcommittee reports back to the parent committee.
- Ad-hoc committee – A committee set up for one specific purpose only. It is relatively short-lived and will be disbanded when its business is completed. For example, arranging for visit of a Very Important Person.
- Joint consultative committee – These are broadly aimed at improving communications and keeping the workforce informed on policy and management decisions. They can prove a useful tool for exchanging ideas, solving problems, airing differences, clearing up misunderstandings and future planning.
- They are not conducted according to formal procedures and a written record of what took place may not be made. Examples are working party meetings, intradepartmental meetings, brain storming sessions, encounter groups and even some managerial meetings. There will be no formal rules of procedure and possibly simply a group leader initiating the action rather than a Chairman. Indeed some such meetings may take place over a lunch time drink and a sandwich. Such meetings will be informally documented and will rely on verbal post-meeting resumes rather than formal minutes. The secretary may be called upon to actively participate and express personal opinion during an informal session than in a formal meeting. It is also possible that a secretary may be required to deputise for her boss at informal meetings if an executive has a busy schedule to fulfill and finds personal attendance impossible.
- Departmental meeting – There will usually be held either to pass information down the organization (briefing sessions) or to receive progress reports (perhaps form section heads)
- Managerial briefing /progress meetings – This will occur frequently between a manger and his subordinates and will form a vital part of the decision making process. Sometimes the manger will need to brief his staff whereas at other times he will want to learn of their progress, their opinion and ideas.
- Working parties – It is the gathering together of a group of individuals from different areas of work with different levels of responsibilities and with different degrees of expertise to solving problems. Such a group can often bring to a problem a fresh approach and the structure of such a meeting is such that it permits great flexibility and encourages individuality and ideas.
REQUISITES OF A VALID MEETING
In order that the business transacted at a meeting may be valid (legal) the following conditions must be met.
- It must be properly convened – this means that notice, in a legally acceptable manner must be given to every person entitled to attend.
- It must be properly constituted – this means that the right person or that person’s accepted substitute must be in the chair and a proper quorum must be present.
- It must be held in accordance with rules and regulations governing the conduct of meetings as set out in a company’s articles of association, a club’s constitution or a local authority standing orders.
THE SECRETARY’S ROLE IN RELATION TO MEETINGS
Her role will fall into different time categories and include the following:
THE SECRETARY’S DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
BEFORE THE MEETING
- Send out the notice convening the meeting together with the agenda, previous minutes and any other supporting papers.
- Book the venue for the meeting
- Organize refreshments, if required.
- Book car parking spaces if representatives from other organizations or guests are expected.
- Book and make arrangements for the setting up of any audio visual aids which may be required.
- Carefully note any apologies for absence as they are received.
- Gather any necessary information and reports which may be required.
- Start work on the Chairman’s agenda in consultation with the Chairman.
- Prepare name plates where it is a new committee or where a lot of guests are expected and representatives may be unknown to one another.
- Obtain any necessary statements or documents from members who cannot be present but who are known to have strong views on items discussed.
ON THE DAY OF THE MEETING
- Check the meeting room for heating, ventilation, lighting and seating.
- Confirm the refreshments and ensure that they will be served at a convenient time.
- Arrange for direction signs to the committee room to be displayed.
- Contact reception where guests are expected.
- Liaise with the switchboard to reroute calls for the duration of the meeting, making arrangements for emergency calls to be routed to the meeting room should this be considered necessary.
- Check that members sign the attendance register.
- Have available spare copies of the agenda and other relevant copies.
- See that each member has a supply of writing paper and pens/pencils.
- Arrange ashtrays where smoking is permitted.
- Provide drinking water and glasses.
- Either arranges the name plates around the table if this is requested by the Chairman, or have them read for individual collection by members on arrival.
- Read the minutes of the last meeting; letters of apology and any other correspondence.
- Assist the chairman in supplying information from files as required during the meeting.
- Record the details of the decisions reached noting who proposed and who seconded motions as well as the results of voting.
- Have the minute book ready for the Chairman’s signature.
- Place a meeting in progress sign outside the room.
- Ensure that the Chairman signs the previous minutes and initials any alterations.
- Taking down minutes – She has to study earlier minutes to record well.
- Record those given the responsibility of following something up before the next meeting.
- Listen to what is being discussed and record all essential items avoiding too many notes.
- Dealing with any crisis or emergency that arises e.g. leaving the room to seek information when requested to do so by the Chairman.
AFTER THE MEETING
- Remove notice of meeting.
- Notify switchboard that the meeting is finished.
- Notify catering staff that they may collect the refreshment trolley.
- Clear away any surplus papers and destroy
- Escort guests off the premises, if required.
- Return minute book, all files and documents to the office for safe keeping until the next meeting.
- Prepare draft minutes for approval by the Chairman
- When approved type the minutes in final form for distribution to members.
- Enter the date of the next meeting in the Chairman’s and your own diary.
- Be prepared to remind any members who have agreed to take any action on behalf of the committee of their commitment.
- Check periodically with the Chairman that he/she undertaken any follow-up action promised.
- Start the agenda for the next meeting.
THE CHAIRMAN’S ROLE IN RELATION TO MEETINGS
A Chairman may act in an ex-officio capacity or be elected or nominated by his committee.
His role is to take charge of the meeting and thus must be well versed on the function of the committee or organisation he represents and be in no doubt as to its powers and authority and any reporting back procedures it needs to observe.
- Seeing that the meeting is properly constituted or convened.
- To review minutes of the previous meeting and sign them as a correct record.
- To work consistently through an agenda
- To keep order as required.
- Ensuring equal opportunity of speech for all members.
- To encourage quieter members to have their say.
- To prevent over-talkative members holding the floor.
- To formulate proposals and amendments as necessary.
- To guide and limit discussion as appropriate.
- To sum up conclusions reached in an unbiased manner.
- To give decisions on points of order or other incidental matters.
- To put matters to the vote.
- To declare the results of voting and ensure that clear decisions can be recorded.
- To close or adjourn a meeting or topic of discussion
- To agree the draft minutes
- To take any appropriate follow-up action required as promised.
- To liaise with the secretary in the preparation of the next agenda.
- To make decisions, usually in consultation with the secretary between meetings and generally act on behalf of the committee.
SUBSTITUTING THE CHAIRMAN
- A secretary may be required to chair a meeting on behalf of her boss in relatively informal meetings.
- She should thus be suitably briefed on advance and she should carefully study the necessary papers and reports and be conversant with the role her boss wishes her to adopt and be in a position to adequately carry out his instructions.
DOCUMENTS USED IN MEETINGS
- NOTICE OF MEETING
All those who have a right to be present must be notified in writing that a meeting has been called. The notice must be sent out a minimum period in advance. In, for example, the case of an annual general meeting of a company the period is stipulated in the Companies Acts, namely 21 clear days. However, in other instances a ‘reasonable’ period will suffice. ‘Reasonable’ can be anything from a few hours for an informal meeting of a few individuals to between 7 and 14 days for normal business, with perhaps 21 days if special business has to be discussed.
The notice should state clearly the
- Type of meeting, eg., public, committee
- Day, date and time
- Venue or place
- The date of the notice
- The details of any special business to be transacted
- The convener’s name
The minimum period is laid down in the standing orders and excludes the day of posting and the day of the meeting. In some instances it is acceptable for it to be displayed in a prominent place instead of being sent to individual people. In the case of a general meeting of a public company, a notice must appear in the press a minimum period before the meeting date.
Lusaka Engineering Company Limited Board wishes to meet and discuss on how to purchase a new drilling machine. Draft a notice of the meeting with an agenda.
LUSAKA ENGINEERING COMPANY LIMITED
P O Box 520
NOTICE OF MEETING
17 May 2020
There will be a meeting of the Board in the Board Room on Tuesday 28 May 2013 at 11.00 a.m.
- Apologies for absence
- Minutes of the last meeting
- Matters arising from the minutes
- Purchase of a new drilling machine
- Any other business
- Date of next meeting
You are a secretary in the Principals office. The Principal will hold a meeting with all staff on Tuesday next week to discuss the intake in the secretarial and computer department over the past five years. Write a notice for the meeting. (4 marks)
MERU NATIONAL POLYTECHNIC
P O BOX 111
NOTICE OF MEETING
20 May 2020
There will be a meeting of all staff in the Library hall on Tuesday 28 May 2020 at 10.00 am to discuss the intake in the secretarial and computer department over the past five years.
This is the progamme of business to be discussed at the meeting, with each item listed in the order in which it will be taken. It usually incorporates the notice convening the meeting. It is drawn up in consultation with the Chairperson, using information from various sources. It might include matters which have recently arisen, those held over from a previous meeting and items suggested by members. At the meeting the Chairperson can only change the order of the items on the agenda if the members present agree. It is sent to all members of the committee or organisation entitled to attend the meeting in order to give them time to ponder over, research and perhaps come to decisions on items of business to be discussed. The period of notice is laid down and will normally be between 7 and 14 days. Agendas take different forms. The following are three typical forms of agenda.
- Skeleton – The agenda is simply a brief outline or summary consisting of numbered headings. This is usually the form used when included as part of the notice circulated to members.
- Detailed – A complete heading identifying the meeting, items will be listed and details e.g. proposals to be discussed, will be submitted in draft form together with the proposer’s name. This format will be more commonly found where constitutional changes are proposed and voting is to take place, say at an Annual General Meeting.
There are certain items common to most agendas. The first is the announcement of apologies from those absent. This is followed by the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting and any matters arising from them. Any correspondence which has been received is then dealt with, followed by the main items of business. If these are arranged in the order of importance, the less important matters could be carried over to a future meeting, should time run out. The item ‘Any Other Business’ (AOB) allows members an opportunity to bring up matters which have arisen since the agenda was compiled. The final item is the one of date, time and place for the next meeting.
- CHAIRMAN’S AGENDA
This contains more information than the ordinary agenda, and space is provided on the righ-t hand side of the paper for the Chairman to make notes. The additional information helps provide the Chairman with all the relevant details which will assist him in the conduct of an effective meeting. This might include the names of people to be asked to report on an item, anything to which members attention needs to be drawn and the passing on of information regarding any action which have been taken. A Chairman’s agenda is produced so that half the width of the paper (the right side) is left for the Chairman to make notes relating to:
- Late apologies for absence
- Names of proposers and seconders
- Notes relating to matters being discussed
Since the agenda is the programme for the meeting, the order of the items on it will be repeated in the minutes. These are a concise record of the business discussed and the decisions made at a meeting. Minutes are ‘approved’ by members at a following meeting. Sometimes but not always they are actually read out. The Chairperson then asks those who are present at the last or previous meeting if what has been recorded is a true record. If all agree, the Chairperson will sign the minutes to indicate this.
Example: Question 1
You are the secretary to the Community Development Committee of “Help Yourself International”. The committee recently held a meeting in which the following issues were discussed.
- Construction of cattle dip
- Imprest on travelling
MINUTES OF THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE OF HELP YOURSELF INTERNATIONAL MEETING HELD AT THE LIBRARY HALL AT 10:00 AM WEDNESDAY 23 MAY 2020
Mr Kidero – Chairman
Mrs Kinyua -Vice Chairman
Mr Otieno – Treasurer
Mrs Kimathi – Secretary
Mr Amwayi – Member
Mrs Chege – Member
ABSENT WITH APOLOGY
ABSENT WITHOUT APOLOGY
Min 1/2020 Chairman’s Opening Remarks
The Chairman called the meeting to order, welcomed members and requested Mr. Kimathi to say a word of prayer
Min 2/2020 Reading and Confirmation of the Minutes of the Last Meeting
These were read by the Chairman, proposed by Mr. Andrew and seconded by Willis Ondieki as a true record of proceedings.
Min 3/2020 Matters Arising
There were no matters arising from the previous meeting
Min 4/2020 Correspondence
The Secretary read a letter DEB Primary School request for monetary support in the construction of a class for nursery school children.
Min 5/2020 Construction of Cattle Dips
The members agreed there was need to construct cattle dips to curb the increased cattle diseases within community.
Min 6/2020 Imprest on Travelling
Members agreed the imprest on travelling to be increased from 500 to 1000 because of high transport costs.
Min 7/2020 Any Other Business
Mr. Kidero, the Chairman requested that the company supports other development projects with the community.
Min 9/2020 Chairman’s Closing Remarks
The next meeting should be on 26 June 2020 in the Library hall. There being no other business the meeting ended at 1.00 p.m with closing prayers from Mrs Kinyua.
They may be bound or loose leaf. Bound books are less liable to falsification and missing sheets are easily detected so they will require less elaborate precautions in respect of safe keeping whilst loose leaf books necessitate certain precautions to prevent possible falsification namely:
- Suitable locking device – this may take the form of keys retained by the Chairman and Secretary.
- Book itself kept in a fire proof safe
- Sheets serially numbered throughout
- Blank sheets in the charge of a responsible person
- .Each sheet initialed by the Chairman at the time of signing the minutes
- Supplementary papers – documents to be circulated before a meeting or during the meeting. They are enclosed with the agenda.
A second meeting of KATO college staff was held on 10th April 2020 beginning from 10:30 a.m. in the millennium hall. Using the information provided below write the minutes as they would have appeared after the meeting. The meeting discussed:
the general welfare
introduction of the pay as you eat system
provision of a staff bus
performance of candidates in national examinations
formation of a housing committee
The treasurer was asked to source quotations for 25-seater bus.
The chairman was assigned the task of pursuing the “pay as you eat” system and if possible have it implemented before the end of the term.
A task force was set up to investigate the poor performance of the candidate sitting the national examinations.
A committee was also set up to deal with allocation of staff housing.
The members did not have any other business as the meeting ended at 2.00 p.m.
Another meeting was to be held in two weeks time to examine the quotations for the 25- seater bus.
The meeting was attended by the Chairman, Alex Oremba; The Secretary, Beth Okinda; Peter Kamau, Martin Kivaka and Schola Tumaini. An apology was received from Titus Musyoki.
MINUTES OF KAYO COLLEGE STAFF MEETING HELD ON 10 APRIL 2020 FROM 10:30 AM TO 2.00 PM IN THE MILLENIUM HALL
Alex Oremba – Chairman
Beth Okinda – Secretary
ABSENT WITH APOLOGY
Min 10/2020 Chairman’s Opening Remarks
The Chairman called the meeting to order, welcomed members and requested Mr. Kivaka to say a word of prayer.
Min 11/2020 Minutes of the Previous Meeting
They were read and signed by the Chairman as the record of the proceedings.
Min 12/2020 Matters Arising
There were no matter arising from the previous meeting.
Min 13/2020 Introduction of the Pay as You Eat System
The Chairman was assigned the task of pay as you eat system and if possible have it implemented before the end of the term.
Min 14/2020 Provision of a Staff Bus
The treasurer was asked to source quotation for a 25-seater bus.
Min 15/2020 Performance of Candidates in National Examinations
A task force was set up to investigate the poor performance of the candidate sitting the National Examinations.
Min 16/2020 Formation of a Housing Committee
A committee was set up to deal with allocation staff houses.
Min 17/2020 Any Other Business
The members did not have any other business.
Min 18/2020 Chairman’s Closing Remarks
Another meeting was to be held in two weeks-time to examine the quotation for the 25-seater bus.
TERMINOLOGIES USED IN MEETINGS
As a secretary, you will frequently meet, in the course of your duties, any technical terms connected with business meetings. The most commonly used terms are given below:
- Quorum – The minimum number of members necessary for a meeting to be held. The quorum is laid down in the constitution or rules of the organization.
- Motion – A motion must normally be written and handed to the chairperson or secretary before the meeting. The mover of the motion speaks on it and has the right of reply at the close of the discussion. The seconder may then speak to the motion only once. If there is no seconder, a motion is dropped and cannot be introduced again. When put to a meeting, the motion becomes ‘the question’, and when it is passed, it is called ‘resolution’. A motion on a matter which has not been included on the agenda can be moved only if ‘leave of urgency’ has been agreed by the meeting or it has been included under the customary item ‘any other business’.
- Proposer – The person who recommends a particular decision to be taken by formally stating a motion.
- Seconder – a person who supports the proposer of a motion
- Chairman – The person who controls the business of a meeting.
- Secretary – The person responsible for all arrangements connected with a meeting and for advising the Chairman on procedures etc.
- Amendment – An alteration to a motion by the addition, deletion or modification of words.
- Addendum – An amendment which adds words to a motion
- Right of reply – the proposer of a motion has the right of reply once the motion has been fully discussed but before it is put to the vote.
- Majority vote – One where the greater number of members voting were either for or against a motion.
- Resolution – Once passed a motion becomes a resolution. It is a formal decision carried at a meeting. It must be proposed, seconded and put to the meeting in the customary way. A resolution cannot be rescinded at the meeting at which it is adopted.
- Unanimously – All being in favour of a resolution
- Nem con – A motion is passed by some of the members with the rest abstaining from voting. That is, means no one contradicting. No one refutes the motion although some members may not vote at all. It is the passing of a resolution without opposing votes but with some members abstaining.
- Casting vote – In accordance with the rules and regulations of an organization, a Chairman may be granted a second vote when there is an equal number of votes for and against a motion.
- Adjournment/Adjourned by consent – The Chairman with the consent of those present may adjourn a meeting and reconvene it at a later date to complete unfinished items on the agenda, could be in order to postpone further discussion or because of the shortage of time. Adequate notice of an adjourned meeting must be given.
- Addressing the chair – All remarks must be addressed to the chairperson, and members must not discuss matters between themselves at a meeting. That is, where a member wishes to speak he must first address the chairman, ie ‘Mr Chairman…’ or ‘Madam Chairman …..’
- Adjourned ‘Sine die’ – The unfinished business will be discussed at a further meeting for which a date is to be fixed later.
- Putting the question – the Chairman presents the proposal in its finished form to the meeting for their vote.
- The question be now put – A member other than the Chairman wishing to bring a discussion to a close on a motion, moves that the question be now put.
- Rider – This is an addition to a resolution after it has been passed. It adds to a resolution rather than altering it. It is an additional clause or sentence added to a resolution after it has been passed and it differs from an amendment in that it adds to a resolution instead of altering it. A rider, has to be proposed, seconded and put to the meeting in the same way as motion.
- Vote – Express either verbally or in writing, whether one is ‘for’ or ‘against’ a motion.
- Ad hoc – This means ‘arranged for the purpose of’ eg. An ad hoc committee is set up for a special purpose and when that purpose is fulfilled the committee is disbanded. Such as the arrangement for the visit of a very important person (VIP).
- Postponement – The action taken to transfer the holding of a meeting to a later date.
- Co-opt – To invite an individual to serve on a committee as a result of a majority vote. A person is usually co-opted because of some specialist knowledge or expertise he/she can provide.
- Ex-officio – one invited to attend by virtue of office, but without voting rights, eg., the official secretary for a committee or the vice president of an organization. That is, It is a person at a meeting by invitation by reason of his office, eg., Mayor of a Town. Elected by virtue of office.
- Vote of ‘no confidence’ – there is no confidence in the chair by members in a meeting.
- Proxy – A person authorized by a member to attend a meeting or vote on his behalf.
- Minutes – a written record of the business transacted at a meeting.
- Agenda – is a list of items of business to be dealt with at a meeting.
- Closure – close down the business
- Take the chair – do the work of Chairman during a meeting
- Unanimously – With the agreement of all members present or when all members of a meeting have voted in favour of a resolution
- Report – Information presented to a committee or what has been done done prior to the meeting.
- Point of order – This is a question regarding the procedure at a meeting or a query relating to the standing orders or constitution raised by a member during the course of the meeting, eg absence of quorum.
- Annual General Meeting – A meeting of all members of an organization or shareholders of a company which must be held each year.
- Extraordinary General Meeting – A meeting of all members of an organization or shareholders of a company to discuss some matter of importance for which consent of all or the majority of members is necessary.
- In camera – a meeting that is not made public or open to the public.
- Intra vires – within the powers or body concerned.
- Ultra vires – beyond the legal power or authority of a company or organization.
- Standing Order – rules and regulations that govern any organization.
- Constitution – a set of rules governing activities of voluntary bodies.
- Mover – one who speaks on behalf of a motion
- Poll – Poll is the term given for the method of voting at an election, and in a meeting this usually takes the form of a secret vote by ballot paper. The way in which a poll is to be conducted is generally laid down in the standing orders or constitution of the organization.
- Ballot – written vote with provision for preserving the secrecy of each individual’s vote.
- Consensus – This is an arrangement by general concept no formal votes are taken.
- Lobbying – a practice of seeking members support before meeting.
- Standing committee – is a permanent committee elected or appointed to conduct any agreed business and its term of office is indefinite.
- Terms of reference – statement of work to be done by a committee
- Go into committee – Division of members at a meeting into groups. Each group to undertake discussion of specified subjects.
- Go into division – Physical division of members for voting purposes
- Lie on the table – a matter which action cannot be taken on
- Minute book – book containing signed copies of every minutes from the first meeting.
- Attendance book – book in which each member present at a meeting signs his name.
- Attendance record – secretary records the names of those present.
- Attendance sheet – A record of people present at a meeting, usually provided by an attendance sheet which is passed round for signature by members.
- Right to reply – The proposer of a resolution has the right of reply when the resolution has been fully discussed. He is allowed to reply only once, and afterwards the motion is put to the meeting.
- Next business – A motion that the meeting proceed with next business is a method of delaying the decision on any matter brought before the meeting.
- Putting the question – To conclude the discussion on a motion it is customary for the chairperson to ‘put the question’ by announcing ‘The question before the meeting is ……..’
- Question be now put – When members feel that sufficient discussion has taken place on a motion, it may be moved ‘that the question be now put’. If this carried, only the proposer of the motion being discussed may speak and a vote is taken. If the motion ‘question be now put’ is defeated, discussion may be continued.
- Going into committee – A motion that the meeting go into committee is moved if less restricted discussion is thought necessary. A motion that the meeting be resumed gives authority to proceed at the point where it left.
- Kangaroo closure – Chairman is empowered to jump from one amendment to another omitting those which he considers important.
- Disturbance – an obstructor causing disturbance at a meeting may be ejected with or without the aid of the police provided that the meeting has not been announced as public.
- Dropped motion – motion dropped either because there is no seconder.
- En bloc – electing or re-electing all members of a committee by the passing of one resolution.
- Lie on the table – A letter or document is said to ‘lie on the table’ when it is decided at a meeting that not action will be taken upon the business contained in it.
- Reference back – This is an amendment referring a report or other item of business back for further consideration to the body or person submitting it. If the motion ‘reference back’ is defeated, the discussion is continued.
- Scrutineer – one who counts and closely examines the votes at an election.
- Sine die – meaning without an appointed day or indefinitely.
- Status quo – used to refer to a matter in which there is to be no change.
- Teller – title given to the person appointed to count the votes at a meeting.
- Majority – The articles and rules of the organization will define the majority of votes required to carry a motion.
- Memorandum and articles of association – These are regulations drawn up by a company setting out the objects for which the company is formed and defining the manner in which its business shall be conducted.
- Next business – A motion ‘that the meeting proceed with next business’ is a method of delaying the decision on any matter brought before the meeting.
- Standing orders – These are rules compiled by the organization regulating the manner in which its business is to be conducted. It may also have the title ‘Constitution’.
- Unanimous – When all members of a meeting have voted in favour of a resolution it is said to be carried ‘unanimously it is said to be carried ‘unanimously’.
- Sub-committee – A sub-committee may be appointed by a committee to deal with some specific branch of its work. The sub-committee must carry out such functions as are delegated to it by the committee and must report to the committee periodically.
- Ab initio – From the beginning.
- Abstention – Where a member refrains from casting a vote either in favour of or against a motion.
- Advisory – Offering advice or suggestion and making recommendation, but taking no direct action.
- Apologies for absence – Excuses given in advance for inability to attend a meeting.
- Articles of Association – The rules required by law which governs a company’s internal organization and activities.
- Ballot – A written secret vote conducted in accordance with the organization’s constitution.
- By-laws – Rules governing an organisation’s activities.
- Collective Responsibility – A convention whereby all members agree to abide by a majority decision.
- Consensus – Agreement by general consent without a formal vote being taken
- Constitution – Document describing the objects of an association or voluntary body and setting out the rules which govern its activities and limit its powers
- Convene – To call a meeting
- Honorary – Performed without payment, eg honorary secretary
- In attendance – Present on invitation to give expert help, advice or information but with no voting rights
- In extenso – In full – without abridgement.
- Nem dis – No one dissenting
- Opposer – One who speaks against a motion
- Out of order – The chairman can rule a member ‘out of order’ where the member is not keeping to the point under discussion or is speaking improperly
- Proxy vote – A member may be appointed to vote by proxy, ie on behalf of another member who is unable to attend the meeting.
- Statutory meeting – A meeting (usually of the shareholders of a public company) which must be held in order to comply with the law
- Tabled – The description applied to a document to be presented to a committee ‘on the table’ – not one which has been included with the agenda and supporting papers.
- Verbatim – Word for word.
REVIEW QUESTIONS ON MINUTES
- Highlight three advantages of maintaining a minutes book. (3 marks)
- Explain four challenges that can lead to the collapse of a meeting. (8 marks)
- State three reasons for issuing the notice a meeting (3 marks)
- Define the following types of committees.
- Ad hoc committee
- Standing committee
- Advisory committee
- Executive committee
- State three requirements of formal meetings
- The staff welfare committee is due to meet next Thursday in the staff common room at 2’clock. In addition to the standard items, they will discuss the opening of the staff canteen and construction of the staff gymnasium. Prepare a notice and agenda for the meeting, (8 marks)
- Outline four reasons why it is important for minutes to be taken during meetings. (8 marks)
- Explain the purpose of the following meetings to an organization
- Annual General Meeting
- Extraordinary General Meeting
- Board Meeting
- From the chairman’s agenda given below write the minutes of the PTA meeting held in the principal’s office at Start Academy on Tuesday last week from 10.00 a.m. to 12.30 pm.
- Present – all except 2 members who were absent with apologies.
- Minutes of the last meeting – read and accepted as a true record
- Matters arising – none.
- Educational tours to be resumed following special request from parents.
- Entry mean grade to be raised for next intake.
- Organize more competitions in sports with neighbouring schools
- Purchase of twenty computers for computer lab
- AOB – None
- Next meeting – First Friday of next month, same time same place. (18 marks)
- Outline the role of a chairperson in meetings. (6 marks)
- Explain the following terms which are used at meetings. (3 marks)
- Ultra vires
- As a secretary, prepare a checklist of eight items to help you ensure that all arrangements have been made before any meeting begins. (8 marks)
TYPES OF CONFERENCES
- Academic Conference
This is a conference for researchers to present and discuss their work. Conferences are usually composed of:
- Presentations of full paper, short paper or discussion paper.
- Panel discussions where questions are asked and you provide answers. We have a moderator who gives instructions. Respond also to questions from an audience. Exchange of viewpoints among experts.
- Round tables where discussions is on various issues. People debate, each person is given equal right to participate in order to discuss and debate and exchange views on a specified topic.
- Poster sessions which is the presentation of research information by an individual or representatives of research teams at a congress or conference with an academic or professional goals. Presentations usually consist of affixing the research poster to a portable wall with the researcher in attendance answering questions posed by passing colleagues.
- Professional Association Conference
This is a conference of persons in the same profession, for example, healthcare professions.
Networking with professionals outside your place of employment can give you a broader perspective on the market and healthcare in general. Listening to the experiences of others may even leave you feeling energized and refreshed with the feeling you are not alone in the fight.
- Training Conference
Its purpose is training, so it might include workshops, on methods and techniques.
- Issue or Problem Related Conference
Convened by any organization, institution or citizen’s group to focus on a particular concern.
To inform or energize the people about the issue.
To create a critical mass of concern about it.
To develop strategies for approaching it.
Depending on the issue’s importance and the enthusiasm of the participants, this kind of conference can turn into an annual event
PURPOSES OF ATTENDING CONFERENCES
- To network by meeting with likeminded people and industry peers, new people in your field whom you may not encounter in your home workplace or institution.
- To expand your knowledge and find solutions to problems. You learn new things in your field, new techniques, types of equipment, unpublished data, biggest names in your field, newest faces and talk to them one-on-one on what they are working on and how you can enhance your work.
- To present your ideas and work to others and be able to get feedback in your work from people who have never given it before and may provide new insight.
- For people to meet you and be able to make a connection with someone that would dramatically impact your professional career.
- Learn beyond your field of interest. In a conference attendees are united by a single broad topic but they have many different sub-fields of study and many projects will be multidisciplinary.
Therefore, conferences enhance professional and personal development and provide tools and skills you cannot learn or be taught in-house or online.
PLANNING AND PREPARING FOR CONFERENCES
- A conference is planned at least eight months in advance even longer if the conference will have many participants or is large in scope.
- Choose the name or title of the conference in order to know the purpose of the conference.
- Choose the date and length of the conference which depends on what needs to be accomplished at a conference. A conference should have start and end dates.
- Compile a programme for each day detailing times, speaker, topics etc.
- Publicize or Advertise the conference an year in advance. Determine who will participate and ensure they are aware of the conference. For example, employees of your company or members of your church. All key speakers, presenters and delegates.
- It is a good idea to have a way for participants to register before the conference, even months in advance, to give you an idea of how many people will attend. To encourage early registration, offer a discounted rate for those who register a month or more in advance, a slightly higher fee for waiting to register in the month prior to the conference and a slightly higher fee for the at-the-door registration. You can create a conference website and include all the important information about the conference at the website, for example, date, time and address of the conference venue and names of any prominent speakers, transportation, lodging, area attractions, attach conference schedule when it is available if designed. You can also up date the conference website with a link to register when you are ready to open up registration.
- Draw up a list of participants as applications are received.
- Have a committee or team that will be in charge.
- Appoint a coordinator to pull things together. He or She is the point person for all the major decisions.
- You can also have an event planner. If you have enough budget some venues have an event planner who can handle many of the remaining details of your conference even if the planner charges a fee it saves a lot.
- Choose a conference venue that best serves the needs of the participants. A venue should be reserved some months in advance.
- When finding a place to hold the conference, consider making it easy as possible for participants to attend. The location should be convenient. Consider parking, proximity to public transportation, airports and hotels.
- You can seek an existing place or a place without anything that would distract from the work of the conference. Some venues may put off participants, for example, pubs with religious affiliations.
- Put clear directions on your publicity.
- Check out whether your city has a conference or convention center or hotel with conference or convention rooms.
- Many large conferences are held in hotels, a hotel provides the catering for any meals and snacks.
- Other possibilities for a large conference may be conference or convention centers, retreat centers, libraries, community centers, town halls or training centers.
- These sites are often better placed to offer the facilities, equipment and environment required for a successful event.
- Hotels and purpose built conference and training centers are ideal for handling individual company’s requirements, they will have on site experienced staff to assist and ensure the event runs smoothly.
- Some conference centers are not residential and therefore accommodation will have to be found off site which is sometimes not convenient.
- Other conference centers will be able to accommodate large groups of people and also offer special 24 hour rate packages, including overnight accommodation, dinner and room hire, refreshments during the day and set up equipment, for example, any audio visual aids, microphones etc.
- Conference sites charge fees for their space and for each of the services they provide.
- For small conferences you can rent a local church or community center.
- Consider adequate space both in door and out door to cater for all the conference events. Consider space for meals, breaks and rooms adapted to many styles of seating such as classroom setup, circular or around a table where people can sit comfortably.
- Consider the affordability of the venue, whether the people can afford it.
- Decide on the menu. Participants should eat a decent meal. Figure out if you are going to hire a catering service to bring in breakfast, lunch and snacks or if the conference venue you have chosen will provide food service.
- Develop a budget. Costs to be incurred during the conference in regard to: the conference venue, materials, that is, any stationery such as pens, note papers or printed materials such as presentation notes that will be needed, conference folders, payment for key note speakers and other presenters, programmes, name tags, brochures, signage, equipment. You can solicit sponsorship to sponsor the conference. Company’s sponsorship enhances the reputation and image of the sponsoring company through association. It gives product brands high visibility among key audiences. Provides a focal point for marketing efforts and sales campaigns and generates publicity and media coverage.
- Book and make arrangements for the setting up of any audio visual aids which may be needed.
- Get the right speakers. Once you decide on the content areas, you find the right people to be conference speakers for these areas.
- Check the availability of the speakers and the rate of payment, whether it fits inside your budget.
- Communicate and contact the key note speaker early enough personally before the conference and send programme.
- This is the person who sets the theme and structure of the conference. She/he gives the keynote address.
- You may have one or two key note speakers, for the opening key note and the closing key note.
- All conferences end up with a final speaker, in order to send people home thinking about the issue and feeling that they had a coherent experience.
- Key note speaker is offered reimbursement for travel, lodging and food.
- After the opening address by the key note speaker, most of the rest of the conference, the days are divided into as few as two to as many as six other sessions where the real content of the conference is presented by presenters. Invite eminent people or industry leaders to chair various sessions to persuade people to participate.
- Have signs pointing to points of interest in the conference site, for example, various conference rooms, exhibitors, meals, rest rooms, cloakroom facilities, official conference tables or booths for registration, information, advocacy, etc.
- Conference staff, volunteers, technical assistants and other officials should have name badges that stand out ( a different color perhaps) and that identify them as people to approach with questions.
- All participants should have budges that give their names and work affiliations so that everyone knows who everyone else is.
- A list of telephone numbers for all possible services needed, for example, catering, safety services and hospital.
- Safety and Security. A hotel or other conference site will usually employ on-site security and people with emergency medical training. Even if this is the case conference staff should have a first-aid kit with essentials, for example, band aids, aspirin, aspirin substitute, antacids, etc.
- You may also want to ensure that you have a nurse or other medical professional available in case of emergency.
- Recruiting and organizing volunteers to direct people to sessions, hand out important information, etc.
- Insist on a walk-through, that is, go to the conference venue and meet with the staff the day before to be certain that everything is in place, to take care of any last minute details.
- Crisis management. For everything that might happen, have a plan B. For example, in case speakers or presenters are late or do not arrive.
- Have evaluation forms to enable evaluate the conference to find out what people thought of it.
- Clean up. Ensure the place is clean before leaving. Pack materials and return any rented equipment to the supplier.
- Afterwards record who actually attended.
- Thank you letters to speakers and presenters with fee.
- A general report to all delegates.
- Settle accounts.
REVIEW QUESTIONS ON CONFERENCES
- You are organizing a conference to be held in a month’s time. Highlight six actions that you will carry out in preparation for the conference.
A report is a written statement prepared by a person or group of persons. It may be brief or extend to many pages.
TYPES OF REPORTS
They are written by individuals within the business on special occasions.
They are reports made by committee to their parent bodies.
They are reports required by law e.g. audit reports.
May be written on a special report form and may be simply a factual account of a single incident such as an accident, or it may be an account of a visit or business trap.
They give an account of an investigation and the way in which the investigation was carried out. We have:
- A short research report
- A long research report
Progress or periodic reports
Which are usually written to sum up work/project that has been accomplished during a given period and to indicate future plans.
STRUCTURE OF A REPORT
To be clearly worded to reflect the content of the report.
An example of a Title
REPORT ON FREQUENT BREAKDOWN OF MACHINES IN THE REPROGRAPHIC DEPARTMENT
- Terms of reference
It should state:
- Who assigned the investigation (Name, Position)
- The investigator (Name, Position)
- The date when asked to do the investigation
- What is the investigation
- A statement indicating submission of the report
An example of Terms of reference
The Head of Department, Mr Simon Kinyua, requested me, Mrs Caroline Munyua, the Section Head on 28 May 2020 to investigate why machines in the reprographic department are frequently breaking down and I hereby submit my report.
Indicates methods used to gather the facts, that is, indicates how the investigation was carried out.
- Personal Observations
A mention of the facts ascertained and it is helpful to number the points.
- Mishandling of machines
- Poor maintenance day to day by non-staff
- No servicing – done after some time
- Poor quality machines
- Untrained staff
A statement of the conclusion drawn from the facts. It should express the opinions that the stated facts support.
It is true that there is a frequent breakdown of machines in the reprographic department and measures should be adopted to deal with the situation.
- Machines to be manned by the reprographics workers only
- A requirement to employ an employee to service the machines periodically and repair them
- Replacement of old models with newer models
- Train workers on how to use the machines
Miss Caroline Munyua
- Date of submission
30 May 2020
QUESTION ON REPORTS AND HOW TO ANSWER THE QUESTION
The Personnel Director whom you report to is concerned at the number of employees taking time off because of stress related illnesses. He has asked you to investigate and write a report on the possible causes of stress in the office with suggestion for improving the situation. (15mks)
REPORT ON THE POSSIBLE CAUSES OF STRESS IN THE OFFICE WITH SUGGESTIONS FOR IMRPOVING THE SITUATION
Terms of Reference
The Personnel Director, Mr. Harrison Kimathi, requested me, Caroline Munyua, the Purchasing Manager on 10 May 2020 to investigate and write a report on the possible causes of stress in the office with suggestions for improving the situation and I hereby wish to submit my report.
The following methods were used to collect the facts:
- Personal Observations
These were the findings:
- Overworking by some employees.
- Poor remuneration
- Their payment is not in line with responsibility
- Delayed promotions
- Poor human relations in the office
- Poor work environment
- Office harassment
- Office romances
- Sexual harassment
- Abrupt changes
- New job
- New boss
- Imminent retirement/retrenchment
It is true the workers are stressed thus taking time off because of stress related illnesses.
- Need to have a counselor to talk to employees on need to accept the truth about the stressing situation.
- Communicate with the stressor or a friend.
- Keep busy to fight stress of introducing hobbies e.g. games, swimming, charity walk etc.
The Purchasing Managers
3 June 2020
REVIEW QUESTION OF REPORTS
There have been repeated complaints from management regarding the inefficiency of filing in your department. As a secretary to the General Administration Manager, you have been assigned the task of investigating these complaints. Assuming that your investigations are complete, write a report giving five recommendations. (17 marks)