Being Effective in Meetings

A lot of the business of unions takes place in meetings of different forms and sizes. Understanding meeting processes can help you be more effective as a steward and union activist.

Formal meetings are run according to a formal set of rules known as parliamentary procedure.

Parliamentary Procedure

SGEU’s major meetings, such as Convention and Provincial Council, are run using what are called "parliamentary rules of order". Smaller meetings may also follow these rules to a greater or lesser extent. (SGEU uses a version of parliamentary rules called Bourinot’s rules, as well as some of Robert's rules of order.)

Rules of order were created to promote democratic dialogue and decision-making by groups of people. Dozens of rules have been created over the years but the key ones you need to know to participate in and follow proceedings are listed below in "10 key rules you need to know".

Article 11 of the SGEU Constitution spells out the rules in more formal language. Click here to find the most recent edition of the Constitution.

Knowing the rules helps you take action on your issues. But taking action requires more than expressing your opinion, no matter how well you do it. You need to be able to move motions, and recruit others to second them and vote for them. Getting a motion passed or amended means educating people about the issue and mobilizing them before the meeting. The videos below show the work you need to do before and at the meeting.

At formal meetings, like conventions, you are expected to write up your resolution or motion before you move it. There are two common styles, and they are shown in "examples of resolutions".

Finally, if you'd like to test your knowledge of parliamentary procedure, try our quizzes. You can try an introductory intermediate, or advanced level of knowledge. Good luck!


10 rules you need to know.pdf
examples of resolutions.pdf

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