How To Conduct A Meeting
The Case For Robert's Rules

From 'To Guide an Assembly of Persons'
Paperback Robert's Rules of Order, pg. 130-132

Part One - The Rules
What They Mean and What They Do

Chapter One
Why Parliamentary Procedure?
Basic Organization Principles

"These processes are designed to ensure that everyone has a chance
to participate and to share ideas in an orderly manner. Parliamentary 
procedure should not be used to prevent discussion of important issues."

There is a great need for more democratic policies on organization, communal and national levels. Since millions of men and women are banded together in hundreds of thousands of organizations, athletic, business, civic, cooperative, cultural, educational, ethnic, fraternal, labor, philanthropic, political, professional, recreational, religious, scientific, social, etc., etc. -- the faithful observance of democratic principles would become a major and impressive influence in shaping a stronger American democracy.

Robert's Rules of Order (see downloadable pdf file) has been accepted throughout the United States as the standard authority on parliamentary law and procedure. Hundreds of books have been written to simplify, clarify, and amplify these rules -- all based on Robert's Rules of Order, rarely changing or superseding this approved work.

There seems to be the mistaken notion that only presidents (chairpersons) or aspiring presidents need a knowledge of these rules. It is the member who can change the whole course of the meeting if he has acquired a knowledge of the fundamental laws and procedures. He is then in a position to make a most effective contribution to the group needs; also, he can be on guard to protect the organization when parliamentary law is misused or abused.

General Robert said that if there were no rules or established customs to guide an assembly of persons, and if each could talk on any subject as long and as many times as he pleased, and if all could talk at the same time, it would be impossible in most cases to ascertain their deliberate judgment on any particular matter.

Experience has shown a necessity for...

.) A set of rules,
.) A presiding officer to enforce them and to preserve order, and
.) A recording secretary to keep a record of the business transacted by the assembly.

Chapter Two
What Is The Primary Rule?

Only One Principal-Main Motion at a Time

All business is brought before the meeting by way of 1) a motion or resolution, 2) a report of a committee, or 3) a communication. The terms motion, and question are synonymous; when first stated, it is a motion, and when repeated by the chairman, it is referred to as a question.

Only one such motion can be considered at a time. It must be made by a member and seconded by another member. The maker of a motion must get the floor by rising, addressing the presiding officer and obtaining recognition. The motion should be worded in the affirmative whenever possible.

The presiding officer restates the motion and asks, "Are there any remarks?"

This opens debate on the question. The maker of the motion is entitled to speak first on the motion. All remarks must be addressed to the chairman.

No member may speak a second time on the same question if another member desires to speak on the subject, but he may speak a second time if one who has not spoken is not seeking recognition.

But in formal meetings, if anyone objects, he may not speak more often without permission from the assembly...

When a main motion is before the assembly, it must be accepted or rejected or be disposed of in some way, before another subject can be introduced...

When a group is prepared to accept a motion in its given form, nothing more is required but to take the vote and get the result...

Secondary motions must be made after the main motion is stated and before the vote is taken...

When stating the motion, the chairman should make perfectly clear what it is, and, after the vote is taken, state the result. --

Get Robert's Rules of Order.


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