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Seating Arrangement


Guest Annette

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Good Evening,

I am the President of a college group that trys our best to follow Robert's Rules of Order. Are there any seating arrangements that have to be followed, such as the executive board must sit at the head of the table or that certain members must sit by other members. Thank you so much for your time!

Annette

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Good Evening,

I am the President of a college group that trys our best to follow Robert's Rules of Order. Are there any seating arrangements that have to be followed, such as the executive board must sit at the head of the table or that certain members must sit by other members. Thank you so much for your time!

Annette

Yes:

  • The president should be seated at a place where he can see and hear the members, and the members can see and hear him.
  • The secretary should be seated near the president to facilitate the exchange of papers, as necessary.
  • The parliamentarian should be seated at a place that is convenient for advising the president.

Otherwise, the assembly is in control of its meeting hall, and it controls the seating arrangements.

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Are there any seating arrangements that have to be followed, such as the executive board must sit at the head of the table or that certain members must sit by other members.

The chair should sit where he can see all the members of the assembly. The secretary should sit close enough to the chair to pass papers to him. The parliamentarian (if there is one) should sit close enough to the chair to whisper in his ear. That's about it as far as RONR goes..

In the opinion of some here, if this is a meeting of the general membership, any board members present should sit with the other general members lest the impression be given that the board can act at a meeting of the general membership (it can't).

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The chair should sit where he can see all the members of the assembly. The secretary should sit close enough to the chair to pass papers to him. The parliamentarian (if there is one) should sit close enough to the chair to whisper in his ear. That's about it as far as RONR goes..

In the opinion of some here, if this is a meeting of the general membership, any board members present should sit with the other general members lest the impression be given that the board can act at a meeting of the general membership (it can't).

I, for one, do not have a hard and fast opinion about the seating of the executive board at the front of the meeting hall. If the members of the board do not try to pontificate over the general membership assembly, I'm fine with board members sitting in the front. Multiple posts on this forum over the years have, however, reported that the executive board sometimes hijacks the general assembly meeting, depriving the members of the general membership assembly their rights to make motions, speak in debate, etc., etc. For an organization where this is the tendency, I recommend that the board members who are members of the general assembly sit with the other members of the general membership. If the hall is not arranged this way when the meeting begins, the assembly can order the board members to vacate their places and take their seats with the other members.

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For me, the Head Table really only requires the Chairman, the Secretary, the Parliamentarian (if applicable), anyone else who will be presenting a report. Otherwise, there is no reason to have the person at the front table. However, for some organizations, they do like having the Board at the head table so that it is easier to see them and state "This is what we think". It is really up to the organization - I have seen situations where there is no formal head table, but the Chairman and Secretary sit at the front of the room and anyone making a presentation simply stands up at their seat when it is time to make their report.

By the way, I have even seen meetings of the membership where a 'roundtable' idea is used - the seats are basically turned to make a large circle - sometimes two rows deep. This way everyone can see everyone else more easily.

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  • 9 years later...
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