Rules of Order – Why bother?

  • To facilitate group decision-making
  • To allow everyone’s opinion to be heard
  • To keep meetings orderly
  • To ensure fair treatment of all
  • To save time through efficiency

 

Parliamentary law should be the servant, not the master, of the assembly

The least we can expect

  • Everyone who wants to can participate in decision-making
  • Majority rule with minority’s voice heard
  • People’s time will not be wasted too much!
  • Unhelpful conflict will be avoided

Meeting Protocols

  • Forms of address
  • Speaking at a meeting
  • Keep focused on the motion
  • Debate, not discussion
  • Be relevant

Role of the Chair in Meetings

  • Exhibit Neutrality
  • Show Fairness
  • Be Firm

 

But How?

Control the Debate

  • Treat everyone exactly the same
  • Keep track of speakers and times speaking
  • You control who speaks
  • You can elicit comments: “Is everyone clear on this?”
  • Cut off discussion when required: “You are out of order”

Participants’ Roles in Debate

  • Let me say that again – not!
  • Worth comments
  • Listen up – really!
  • Zero tolerance
  • Help the Chair!

No Motion = No Business

  • All issues/actions/decisions submitted as motions
  • Procedural or substantive
  • One at a time, please
  • Avoid surprises
  • Good motions are why we are here

 

No one is to disturb another in his speech by hissing, coughing, or spitting…
Thomas Jefferson, Manual of Parliamentary Practice, 1801

Making a Main Motion – 6 Steps

Informal Process

  • Motion is made /
    Someone presents idea
  • Motion is seconded /
    Bobblehead or two
  • Motion is repeated /
    Idea is clarified
  • Motion is debated /
    Idea is discussed
    (lots can happen here!)
  • Motion put to a vote /
    Agreement or not
  • Announcing the result and effect

Amendments

  • Cannot be contrary to essence of the motion
  • Three ways to amend a motion
    • Insert
    • Strike out
    • And, the very complicated: Stike out and insert
  • Debate on the main motion stops; whole process begins again on the amendment

“I move that our Association become more ethically responsible by ensuring that all products it purchases are ethically sourced.”
(mover, seconder, mover speaks, discussion starts)

“I move to amend the motion by inserting the words ‘and cruelty-free’ after the word ‘sourced’ “
(mover, seconder, mover speaks, discussion starts)

Put the motions in 2 boxes

I move to amend the motion by inserting the words and “cruelty-free” after the word “sourced”
I move that our Association become more socially responsible by ensuring that all products purchased are ethically sourced

“I move that our Association become more environmentally friendly by increasing the amount of reusable materials used at regular meetings.”
(mover, seconder, mover speaks, discussion starts)

“I move to amend the motion by striking the word ‘regular’ “
(mover, seconder, mover speaks, discussion starts)

Put the motions in 2 boxes

…to amend the motion by striking the word “sourced”
I move that our Association become more environmentally friendly by increasing the amount of reusable materials used at regular meetings.

Is there no end to this nonsense?
I move that our Association become more ethically responsible by ensuring that all products it purchases are ethically sourced.” (mover, seconder, mover speaks, debate)

“I move to amend the motion by adding the words ‘and cruelty-free’ after the word ‘sourced.’ ” (mover, seconder, mover speaks, debate)

“I move to amend the amendment by inserting the words ‘certifiably’ between the words ‘and’ and ‘cruelty-free.’ “(mover, seconder, mover speaks, debate)

Put the motions in 3 boxes

I move to amend the amendment by inserting the words ‘certifiably’ between the words ‘and’ and ‘cruelty-free.’
I move to amend the motion by adding the words ‘and cruelty-free’ after the word ‘sourced.’
I move that our Association become more ethically responsible by ensuring the all products it purchases are ethically sourced

Friendly Amendments & Unanimous Consent

  • “Hey, this small change might help the motion pass.”
  • Person is probably in sympathy with motion…
  • …accepted by Unanimous Consent (everyone agrees)
  • And, the Chair must specifically ask
  • If not, treat it as a regular amendment, which will either pass or fail on its own merits.