Types of Meetings under Robert’s Rules
Meetings are what Robert’s Rules was written to facilitate, and the Rules can help you run or participate in a variety of meetings, as described in the following list:
Regular meetings are just that: regular! You can count on having one every week, month, quarter, or whatever your schedule calls for. The days on which you hold regular meetings are probably spelled out in your bylaws, and if you’ve done the smart thing, you’ve even established the time of the meeting by adopting a standing rule. Regular meeting times can be established in other ways, but if the times aren’t fixed in the rules in some way, you must provide for a definite notice procedure in your bylaws.
Regular meetings are generally conducted to complete a standard order of business. Any motions that require previous notice (such as bylaw amendments) must be noticed in strict accordance with your bylaws or rules of order, as the case may be.
Special meetings, sometimes referred to as called meetings, are held when your group needs to take up business that requires urgent attention and can’t wait until the next regular meeting. You can’t call a special meeting unless your bylaws specifically authorize them.
The notice for a special meeting must set forth every issue the meeting will address. Absolutely nothing can be done in a special meeting if it was not specifically included in the notice of the meeting. This rule protects the rights of absentees and can’t be suspended.
An adjourned meeting is a continuation of a meeting (regular or special) that adjourned without completing its agenda or order of business, and which was scheduled either as part of a session of several meetings, or just provided for in the previous meeting by adjourning to a particular time, thus extending the session to include another meeting. In the adjourned meeting, the order of business continues at the point where it left off in the previous meeting (except that the minutes of the previous meeting are read before the meeting continues).
Adjourned meetings are appropriate when it’s important to continue the business of a particular meeting before the beginning of the next regular meeting.
An annual meeting is generally the occasion to elect officers, or an executive board, or both; hear a lot of reports and approve the auditors’ report; have some refreshments; and go home. After that, the new officers and the board run the show for the next 12 months until it’s time for another annual meeting. Minutes of annual meetings of this sort should be approved as soon as possible, and it’s customary for the members to appoint a special committee for that purpose.
An executive session is any meeting or part of a meeting in which the proceedings are considered secret and nonmembers are excluded. Commonly, fraternal lodges conduct all their meetings in executive session.
Nonmembers may be invited, as is often the case when a nonmember of a board is a reporting member of a committee that reports to the board. Even in those cases, the nonmember only attends at the pleasure of the board.