“Robert’s Rules of Order,” a rulebook of parliamentary procedure, can help organizations conduct more efficient meetings. Meetings are presided over by a chairman, who is responsible for running the meeting by applying the book's rules and indicating who gets to speak at specific times. Your first duty as chairman is to appoint a secretary, who will create a written record of what happens during the meeting. After the secretary is chosen, the meeting begins.
Start the meeting by saying, “The meeting will come to order.” The group may want to share an opening ceremony, such as an invocation or recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Invite the secretary to read the minutes from a previous meeting, if there was one, or ask if there are any corrections to the minutes if they were shared with the members in advance. If there are no corrections, approve the minutes to make them part of the official record of the meeting’s events.
Call on members to report about specific roles or activities, such as the treasurer's report. If recommendations are made, additional parliamentary procedures -- debating or voting, for example -- may need to take place. If not, the meeting moves forward to address other reports.
Address unfinished business only if a previous meeting ended when there were still items to be discussed. Bring these up in the order they were originally scheduled.
Ask the group if there is new business to discuss. Any attendee can “claim the floor” to discuss new business.
End the meeting by saying, “Since there is no further business, the meeting is adjourned.”
Borrow a copy of the complete rulebook and the concise guide from a library or purchase copies for your organization so you can quickly look up information about running meetings smoothly.
- "Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised"; Henry M. Robert III, William J. Evans, Daniel H. Honemann, Thomas J. Balch; 2000
- "Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised in Brief"; Henry M. Robert III, William J. Evans, Daniel H. Honemann, Thomas J. Balch; 2004
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