Friday, November 14, 2008

When Meetings Gone Wild!!

This is a story about a meeting that went horribly wrong in a terribly short amount of time. A grave error in judgement caused this meeting to go from productive to unproductive in a matter of minutes. What was this grave error, you ask? A lack of order!! How can you maintain order in a meeting? By utilizing parliamentary procedures and referring to Robert's Rules of Order. What are Robert's Rules of Order? According to the National Association of Parliamentarians (, the objective of Robert's Rules of Order is to:

  • establish the purpose and structure of organizations;

  • define membership classifications, rights, and obligations; and

  • define rules and procedures for conducting business.
There are countless websites that explain Robert's Rules of Order and provide shortcuts to running a meeting from beginning to adjournment. When presiding over a meeting, it is imperative that the officer knows the basics of Robert's Rules of Order and maintain order throughout the meeting. It not only keeps the agenda moving, but it keeps everyone on task and avoid people from "jumping on their soapbox". With a simple, "You're out of order", you can drop-kick anyone who decides to jump on their soapbox, especially if they're out of turn. That's the beauty of knowing and utilizing these rules.

I personally suggest that if you are conducting a business meeting that you have a parliamentarian present to assist the presiding officer with the meeting. This person should be forceful, yet tactful when the meeting or individuals begin to get out of hand. Just in case there is a question of a motion, I would also suggest that this officer possess the latest edition (10th) of Robert's Rules of Order and have it present at every meeting.

Take a minute to review websites from Certified & Registered Parliamentarians such as Jim Slaughter ( His website features some basic terms, procedures for parliamentarians and cheat sheets on meeting motions. Also look at the National Association of Parliamentarians website ( when looking for basic guidelines. The moral of this story is that your blood pressure will greatly reduce and your meeting will run seamlessly when you use Robert's Rules of Order.

For more tips, stay tuned next week as we provide other tips on how to save your event and your sanity. If you are looking for an event planner to assist you in creating proper signage and other event needs, please visit our website at