How to Follow Robert's Rules of Order

How to Follow Robert's Rules of Order. Meetings can be tough to sit through. What makes them even more difficult is when they run on and on and the participants don't feel like they are accomplishing anything. This type of meeting typically happens when the leader does not have things under control. Robert's Rules of Order were established to allow meetings to run smoothly by following an set agenda to meet the group's goals.

Set an agenda for the meeting. All participants should receive this list of topics for the meeting ahead of time, so they have the opportunity to add to the agenda. Leave room in the agenda for discussion and for additional topics, within limits.

Decide before the meeting how many members of the group will be required to make a quorum. Robert's Rules of Order dictate that if the minimum number of those members is not present, then important business cannot be voted on. Quorum ensures that the group's true conscience will be followed.

Approve the minutes from the previous meeting. Voting is done by one member making a motion, which is then seconded by another member. The chair then calls for a vote. Some groups accept verbal voting, while others require a counting of raised hands for and against the motion.

Proceed through the agenda, leaving time for discussion of each issue. Robert's Rules allow the chair to limit discussion. This limitation can be done by setting a time limit on each issue or by allowing two pros and two cons to the debate.

End the meeting with a motion to close, followed by a second and a vote. All announcements, such as the time of the next meeting, should be done before closing. After the vote to close, people may stand and leave the room.


  • Robert's Rules of Order can be relaxed or made stiffer according to the needs of a group. Some groups may employ a sergeant at arms to enforce the rules. He or she is referred to when a disagreement exists about the order of business. The chairperson should know the Rules. Keep a small copy of the Rules nearby to consult if you are not sure of them.

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