6 Positioning a Motion for Positive or Negative Results
Management & Leadership inMinistry Positioning a Motion to get positive support
Typically the „mover‟ of a motion wants to see a majority of those in attendance at the business meeting support his/her motion. Those who study Parliamentary procedures & Robert’s Rules of Order have observed the motions which typically receive a „positive‟vote, are characterized by the following traits…
Positioning a motion for positive results 1) The motion is stated in positive language State what you want to see happen, not what you don‟t want to see happen. - most people want to be seen as positive, supportive, proactive people, not negative.
Positioning a motion for positive results 2) Ensure that your motion is provided to the church family, ahead of time. Get the motion into the hands of the people PRIOR to the business mtg. Usually 1-2 wks. in advance is sufficient - people tend to react negatively to „surprise or unexpected‟ motions from the floor. People want time to „think‟ thru a motion, without feeling pressured to make a snap decision.
A Very Good IdeaNot only provide the „motion‟ to the church familyahead of time … but also provide the “rationale for& details of the implications of” the motion. Tellpeople a bit of the history behind this motion, andwhat the real-life implications are, if the motion isapproved.Typically the more information you provide(showing you have sought wise advice andthought-through the details of the motion, and asensitivity to questions others may have) the morelikely people are to support the motion.
Positioning a motion for positive results3) Instill confidence, by doing your homework Make sure you have your facts right & know what you are talking about. Understand the history behind the problem /challenge your motion addresses AND the implications of your motion. „If we approve this motion, in real terms it means this $ and practically‟. - bring supporting documentation with you to the meeting. People want to know you‟ve done your homework & thought this through.
4) Tell the congregation how your motion aligns with the history of the church & advances the vision of the church. Any significant initiative (big $, big commitments) should be well-grounded in the original vision for the local church and the dreams for a better future. - People are far more likely to support a motion that honours the history (people, vision) of the church, than one that ignores or contradicts its history. People intuitively value: continuity & predictability & progress.
5) On „big ticket/ expense‟ items ask for permission to hold an Information Mtg. a week before the business meeting. Some who attend a business mtg. will want to have detailed questions answered, before they are willing to support a motion. Info. mtgs. provide such a venue to ask their questions. - Some people are detail oriented & need more time, facts & figures !
Information Meetings• Have no power to act or decide, just discuss.• Provide a forum for people to ask detailed questions.• Often provide insights into the types of „concerns‟ the congregation may have, and still allow time for the church leaders to get additional information/facts, before the congregational business meeting the following wk.• Are usually attended by a much „smaller‟ number of people than the business mtg.• Will save you many hours in your business meeting and those who attend the business meeting, who don‟t care about „details‟, will bless you!
6) Never surprise your key ministry leaders or staff, with an unexpected motion they haven‟t previously heard about/discussed Before a motion ever sees the light of day at a congregational business mtg., a wise leader will have extensive private conversations with his/her key lay leaders & staff to solicit their input & counsel, esp. those people most directly affected by the motion: ministry leaders & finance committee. - If you surprise your key leaders/ influencers & don‟t solicit their input, you will likely not have their support.
7) Make sure the chairperson is well versed in the particulars / history / value of the motion, ahead of time. While the chairperson is not suppose to influence the decision making process (or show bias either for or against a motion) the truth of the matter is that oft times even the facial expression or tone of voice the chairperson uses can either help to win over or defeat a motion
8) Motions requiring large financial commitments, should include the phrase “as finances allow” i.e. “Motion to replace the shingles on the roof of the church during the summer of 2013, as finances allow” This little phrase can significantly ease the fears of those who are fiscally conservative in their thinking (will this decision bankrupt the church) and allows those who make the final decisions as to whether or not to proceed, some room to exercise wisdom & discretion.
9) As the mover of the motion, you have the right and responsibility to make the first and last speech concerning the motion before it goes to vote … thus remind the chair of this right & go to the meeting prepared to speak passionately informatively concerning your motion.
10) Speak as courteously & respectfully to the chairperson This is especially important when responding to the concerns and questions raised by those who may not support your motion. Do not speak to the individual, speak only to the chairperson. Speak only about the issues / questions they raise … do not become emotionally reactive to the person who is arguing against your motion.
11) If it becomes apparent that your motion may be defeated … then ask if the assembly would like to send the motion to committee or lay on the table for further study & recommendation. Better to study the issue further, than have it defeated on the floor. Once a motion has been defeated … it is very difficult / unlikely to resurrect it again.
12) If possible, introduce your item of business early in the business mtg. or just after a recess, before everyone becomes tired/weary.13) While a person may only speak twice concerning a motion … they may ask multiple “Points of Information” questions and may „answer‟ a limitless number of questions. Seek clarification or evidence for the pts. of view of those who oppose your motion .
14) Introduce „amendments‟ which might make the motion more palatable to the opponents of the motion.Instead of allowing the motion to go down to defeat,perhaps a compromise/amendment to the motion canmake the motion acceptable to the majority.
15) Don‟t forget to „vote‟ for your motion. Sometimes in the midst of a lot of discussion and debate, the mover of the motion becomes so distracted, they fail to cast their own vote. Sometimes 1 vote makes all the difference
DEFEATING/ Delaying a motion …1) If you have advance notification of a motion that is coming before the upcoming business mtg. & you adamantly disagree with the motion - set up a time to meet with the „mover‟ of the motion, prior to the business mtg. - gain understanding of „why‟ they are making this motion - gain understanding of the „implications‟ of the motion Perhaps you can convince them to withdraw the motion before it goes before the people/congregation/mtg.
Defeating / delaying a motion …2) Once an item is before the congregation: - secure the permission of the chair to speak to the issue - do not speak to the person who made the motion … speak only to the chair - speak respectfully of the intent of mover & keep your mouth/emotions under control No discourteous, obnoxious, loud or harsh statements concerning the mover’s character/motives. No ‘sky is falling’ warnings (this will destroy our church). Truism: the first to lose their temper, losses the argument.
Defeating / delaying a motion … 3) Highlight the negative implications of the motion- Raise a series of questions about the implementation, costs & effect of the motion passing. Sow seeds of doubt. “Are there other ways we could effectively accomplish the same objective, for less money?” “Have we considered and fully studied other options like __” Don’t answer your own questions.- Expose any weakness in the arguments for the motion- Demonstrate that you understand the motion. Share a bit of the history & intention behind the motion (based on your earlier meeting with the mover).- Show how the motion is inconsistent with the original vision and/or present vision/values of the church.
Defeating / delaying a motion 4) In addition to „debating‟ the issue, those opposed to a motion can also: - make a motion or a series of motions to ‘amend’ the motion to make it more acceptable to you. - If it becomes apparent that a motion is likely to be adopted … make a motion that the issue be ‘sent to committee’ or table the motion, to allow more time for additional research & comment.5) Don‟t forget to vote against a motion at the appropriate time.
Once a decision is made and you LOST The one option you DO NOT HAVE is to be divisive to, or quarrelsome within Christ‟s church!- once the decision has been made … it is time to yield to the will of the majority- either get behind the decision and give it your full support …or at least choose to „abide‟ by the majority decision.- move on with life and ministry and be a blessing to the church in other areas of ministry.- or leave- do not just sit passively by … moping and sulking …waiting until „they‟ see the wisdom of your position. Wisdom is proven right by her children (implications of that verse) Sometimes it is a long time before we see „who or what was the right choice to make, way back then‟.
Once a decision is made, and you WON The one option you DO NOT HAVE is to be arrogant, gloating and proud within Christ‟s church- once the decision has been made … it is time to implement the will of the majority.- make sure the motion and approving vote are properly recorded in the Minutes of the meeting.- talk with key church leaders about the implementation plan … set firm dates & assign who will be responsible to carry out the motion- purposefully build bridges & reach out to (and maybe even involve) those who were not supportive of the motion.- prepare a follow up, written report to be submitted to the appropriate overseeing body (how we implemented the decision of the business meeting).
Class ExerciseFix Time to AdjournAdjournTake a Recess Scenario:Question of PrivilegeCall for Orders of the Day Location: Your Home townAppealDivision of Assembly Situation: Church Bd. MeetingDivision of QuestionInquiry/Pt. of Information Motion: “To give each youngPt. of Order person in our churchSuspend RulesWithdraw a motion $250/yr. from the MissionsLay on the Table Fund, towards theirPrevious Question expenses in pursuingLimit/Extend time DebatePostpone to Certain Time higher education at aRefer to Committee Canadian ChristianAmendPostpone Indefinitely college”Main Motion
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