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The key points of 'Robert'S Rules Of Order (Quick Study Business) By Inc. BarCharts

Robert's Rules of Order is a widely recognized guide for conducting meetings and making decisions in a democratic and orderly manner. The 'Quick Study Business' edition by Inc. BarCharts distills the fundamental aspects of these rules into an accessible format for quick reference and understanding. This article highlights the essential points from the guide, providing a concise overview for anyone looking to grasp the key concepts of parliamentary procedure and apply them effectively in various meeting scenarios.

Key Takeaways

  • Robert's Rules provide a structured framework for facilitating fair and efficient meetings through established parliamentary procedures.

  • Understanding motions and their classifications is crucial for effective meeting participation and decision-making.

  • Proper roles and responsibilities are defined for each participant in a meeting to maintain order and progress.

  • Handling motions correctly, including introducing, seconding, and amending, is essential for the democratic process within meetings.

  • Advanced applications of Robert's Rules involve adapting them to the specific needs of large organizations and virtual environments.

Understanding the Basics of Robert's Rules

The Purpose and Principles of Parliamentary Procedure

The foundation of parliamentary procedure is to facilitate the smooth operation of an organization's meetings and to ensure fair and democratic decision-making. Robert's Rules of Order serves as a comprehensive guide for achieving these objectives. The principles of parliamentary procedure are designed to maintain order, respect the rights of individuals, allow for a thorough discussion, and enable a clear decision-making process.

  • Ensure that every member has equal rights and opportunities to speak.

  • Maintain a focus on one item at a time to avoid confusion.

  • Protect the rights of the minority while ensuring the will of the majority prevails.

  • Facilitate the decision-making process with clear rules and guidelines.

Understanding these principles is crucial for anyone involved in organizational leadership or management. It's not just about following a set of rules; it's about fostering an environment where every voice can be heard and every vote counts.

Overview of Motions and Their Classifications

In the realm of parliamentary procedure, motions are the tools used to bring matters before the assembly for consideration and action. Motions can be broadly classified into five main categories: main motions, subsidiary motions, privileged motions, incidental motions, and motions that bring a question again before the assembly. Each category serves a unique purpose within a meeting's structure.

Main motions are proposals for action that can be made by any member who has obtained the floor when no other motion is pending. Subsidiary motions, on the other hand, are applied to other motions to modify, delay, or affect their disposition. Privileged motions are urgent matters that do not relate directly to the pending business but are of such importance that they can interrupt the consideration of anything else. Incidental motions arise incidentally and must be decided immediately.

Lastly, motions that bring a question again before the assembly include motions to reconsider, rescind, or expunge. These allow for the review and alteration of the assembly's previous actions or decisions.

Roles and Responsibilities of Meeting Participants

In any meeting governed by Robert's Rules, the roles and responsibilities of participants are clearly defined to ensure orderly conduct. The chairperson presides over the meeting, ensuring that the agenda is followed and that members have an equal opportunity to contribute. The secretary is responsible for recording the minutes and maintaining the official records.

Participants, often referred to as members, have the right to make motions, speak in debates, and vote. Their active engagement is crucial for the democratic process within the meeting. It is important for all members to be familiar with the basic rules to participate effectively.

Understanding the specific duties and rights associated with each role can be likened to understanding the Project Management Office role in the PMBOK Guide, which standardizes practices and emphasizes the importance of defined roles throughout the Project Life Cycle.

Conducting Meetings According to Robert's Rules

Setting the Agenda and Preparing for a Meeting

Proper preparation is the cornerstone of an effective meeting. Setting the agenda is a critical step that dictates the flow and focus of the meeting. It should be distributed in advance to allow participants to prepare for the discussion topics.

Agenda items should be clear and concise, prioritizing the most important issues. Here's a simple list to ensure a comprehensive agenda:

  • Call to order

  • Approval of previous meeting minutes

  • Reports from officers and committees

  • Unfinished business

  • New business

  • Announcements

  • Adjournment

Remember, a well-prepared agenda can significantly increase the efficiency of the meeting process, leading to more effective decision-making and better use of everyone's time.

The Order of Business and Running a Meeting

Running an effective meeting is a cornerstone of good governance and decision-making. The order of business is a critical component that structures the meeting and ensures that all items are addressed systematically. A typical order of business follows a sequence that can be adapted to the specific needs of the organization.

Agenda setting is the first step in running a meeting. It outlines the topics to be discussed and the order in which they will be addressed. This is followed by reports from officers and committees, old business, new business, and any special orders or announcements.

  • Call to Order

  • Approval of Minutes

  • Reports of Officers, Boards, and Committees

  • Unfinished Business and General Orders

  • New Business

  • Special Orders

  • Announcements

  • Adjournment

Voting Procedures and Decision Making

Voting is a critical process in meetings governed by Robert's Rules, as it is the method by which the assembly makes decisions. Each motion presented is subject to a vote, and the type of vote required can vary depending on the motion and the organization's bylaws.

Majority votes are the most common, but some decisions may require a two-thirds vote or even a unanimous decision. It's important for all members to understand the voting thresholds for different types of motions to ensure proper governance.

  • Voice Vote: Members express their vote aloud.

  • Roll Call Vote: Each member's vote is recorded individually.

  • Secret Ballot: Votes are cast anonymously.

  • General Consent: Used when it seems that no one would object.

The outcome of the vote must be recorded accurately and should reflect the collective will of the members present. It is the responsibility of the chairperson to announce the results of the vote and to proceed accordingly with the meeting's agenda.

Handling Motions Effectively

Introducing and Seconding Motions

In the framework of Robert's Rules, the process of introducing a motion is a foundational step in the decision-making journey of a meeting. A member initiates a motion to propose an action or decision, which must then be seconded by another member to signify that at least two people agree that the matter should be discussed.

Seconding a motion does not necessarily indicate agreement with the motion itself, but rather acknowledges that the motion is worthy of consideration by the group. This step is crucial to prevent time being wasted on a matter that has no general interest.

  • After a motion is seconded, it is stated by the chair and becomes open for debate.

  • If there is no second, the motion is said to be 'dead on arrival' and is not entertained further.

The process of introducing and seconding motions is designed to ensure that all proposals are given fair consideration and that the meeting progresses in an orderly and efficient manner.

Debate Rules and Amendments

In Robert's Rules, debate is central to the decision-making process, allowing members to discuss the merits and drawbacks of a motion before a vote. Each speaker is typically allowed to speak twice on a motion, with time limits set to ensure a fair and efficient meeting.

Amendments can be proposed during the debate to modify the original motion. These can range from simple word changes to the addition or omission of entire sections. The process for handling amendments is as follows:

  • A member proposes an amendment.

  • The amendment must be seconded.

  • The group debates the amendment.

  • The amendment is voted on before the main motion.

When debating, members should focus on the issue at hand and avoid personal attacks. The chairperson plays a key role in enforcing debate rules and ensuring that the discussion remains orderly and on topic.

Types of Motions and Their Purposes

In the realm of parliamentary procedure, motions are the tools through which members of an assembly propose decisions or actions. Each type of motion has a distinct purpose and understanding these can greatly enhance the efficiency of a meeting.

Main motions are the primary proposals put forward for the group's consideration. They introduce new business and are subject to debate and amendment. Subsidiary motions, on the other hand, modify or affect how a main motion is handled, and they must be voted on before the main motion.

Privileged motions do not relate directly to the pending business but are so important that they can interrupt the consideration of other matters. Examples include motions to adjourn or to fix the time to which to adjourn.

Here is a simplified list of common motions and their general purposes:

  • Main Motions: To introduce new business

  • Subsidiary Motions: To change or affect how a main motion is considered

  • Incidental Motions: To address immediate procedural questions

  • Privileged Motions: To address urgent matters unrelated to the current business

Understanding the correct use of these motions can be as crucial as the decisions they lead to. For those seeking to delve deeper into parliamentary procedure, resources such as TheBookSearcher offer a wealth of information, including a website page featuring business books by author, category, and ranking.

Managing Complex Situations

Dealing with Objections and Points of Order

In the realm of parliamentary procedure, objections and points of order are critical tools for maintaining decorum and ensuring meetings run smoothly. When a member believes there has been a breach of the rules, they can raise a point of order. This action calls for an immediate decision by the chair to address the alleged irregularity.

Points of order must be raised promptly at the time of the infraction and cannot interrupt a speaker unless the breach relates directly to the speaker's words or actions. Here's a simple guide on how to handle these situations:

  • Listen carefully to the objection or point of order.

  • The chair should ask the objector to clarify the issue if needed.

  • The chair makes a ruling on the point of order.

  • If necessary, the ruling can be appealed and the assembly will vote on it.

Suspension of Rules and Reconsideration of Motions

In the context of Robert's Rules, the suspension of rules is a temporary measure that allows a body to set aside its standard procedures to address a particular issue. This action requires a two-thirds vote, reflecting its potential impact on the meeting's conduct. Reconsideration of motions is a mechanism that permits a group to revisit and potentially reverse decisions previously made.

  • To suspend rules, a member must make a motion specifically stating the rules to be suspended.

  • Reconsideration can only be moved by a member who voted on the prevailing side of the original motion.

Both actions are powerful tools within Robert's Rules and should be used judiciously to ensure fair and orderly meetings. They provide flexibility in handling unexpected situations and allow for the correction of decisions in light of new information or changed circumstances.

Handling Nominations and Elections

Nominations and elections are critical components of organizational governance, and Robert's Rules provide a structured approach to ensure fairness and order during these processes. When handling nominations, it's important to allow all members the opportunity to nominate candidates either from the floor or through a committee.

Elections should be conducted with transparency and integrity, with ballots being the preferred method for larger groups to maintain anonymity and accuracy. Here's a simple list to follow for conducting nominations and elections:

  • Announce the opening of nominations.

  • Accept nominations from members.

  • Close nominations and prepare the ballot.

  • Conduct the voting process.

  • Count the votes and announce the results.

Remember, the specific rules for nominations and elections can vary depending on the organization's bylaws, so always refer to those documents in conjunction with Robert's Rules.

Advanced Applications of Robert's Rules

Using Robert's Rules in Large Organizations

Implementing Robert's Rules of Order within large organizations can streamline decision-making and maintain order during meetings. The scalability of parliamentary procedure is crucial when dealing with a higher number of participants, ensuring that every voice has the opportunity to be heard in an organized manner.

Consistency in applying the rules across all levels of the organization promotes fairness and transparency. This is particularly important in large organizations where the hierarchy can complicate the flow of communication.

  • Establish clear protocols for proposing motions

  • Designate specific roles for meeting facilitation

  • Provide training for members on parliamentary procedure

Adapting the Rules for Virtual Meetings

In the digital age, the principles of Robert's Rules can be seamlessly integrated into virtual meetings. Ensuring effective communication and maintaining order are paramount, even when participants are not physically present. Adapting these rules requires consideration of the unique challenges posed by online platforms.

Virtual meetings often necessitate additional guidelines to manage participation and technical issues. For instance, establishing clear protocols for speaking turns and the use of digital tools for voting can help replicate the structure of in-person meetings.

  • Define clear protocols for speaking and interruptions

  • Use reliable digital tools for motions and voting

  • Ensure all participants have access to necessary technology

  • Provide training on virtual meeting etiquette and procedures

By embracing these adaptations, organizations can uphold the spirit of parliamentary procedure while leveraging the benefits of modern technology.

Continuing Education and Resources for Mastery

Mastering Robert's Rules of Order is an ongoing process that requires dedication and access to the right resources. Continuing education is vital for those who wish to stay proficient in parliamentary procedure. There are numerous workshops, seminars, and online courses available for individuals at all levels of expertise.

For those seeking to deepen their understanding, a variety of resources are at their disposal. Professional organizations, such as the National Association of Parliamentarians, offer materials and training sessions. Additionally, a wealth of information can be found online, including:

  • Interactive tutorials and webinars

  • Discussion forums for sharing experiences and advice

  • Updated guidelines and interpretations of Robert's Rules

It is also beneficial to keep abreast of the latest literature on the subject. A well-curated website page can feature business books by author, category, and ranking, providing a valuable tool for finding influential texts like '212 Leadership 10 Rules to Highly Effective Leadership' by Mac Anderson.


In summary, 'Robert's Rules of Order (Quick Study Business)' by Inc. BarCharts serves as an essential guide for anyone looking to navigate the complexities of parliamentary procedure. The key points discussed in the article highlight the importance of understanding the foundational principles, the structured process of motions, the roles and responsibilities of members and officers, and the strategies for effective meeting management. By mastering these elements, individuals and organizations can conduct meetings that are fair, efficient, and democratic. Whether you're a seasoned professional or new to the world of formal meetings, this quick study reference provides a valuable tool for ensuring your meetings are run according to the time-tested standards set by Robert's Rules of Order.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main purpose of Robert's Rules of Order?

The main purpose of Robert's Rules of Order is to provide a standardized set of procedures for conducting meetings and making decisions in a democratic and orderly manner.

How are motions classified in Robert's Rules?

Motions in Robert's Rules are classified based on their purpose and effect, such as main motions, subsidiary motions, privileged motions, and incidental motions.

What are the key roles in a meeting following Robert's Rules?

Key roles include the chairperson or presiding officer, the secretary, and the members of the assembly. Each role has specific responsibilities to ensure the meeting runs smoothly.

What is the standard order of business in a meeting using Robert's Rules?

The standard order of business typically includes calling the meeting to order, reading and approval of minutes, reports, old and new business, and adjournment.

How are votes counted and decisions made under Robert's Rules?

Votes can be counted through various methods such as voice vote, roll call, ballot, or by show of hands. Decisions are usually made by a majority vote unless specified otherwise in the organization's bylaws.

Can Robert's Rules be adapted for virtual meetings?

Yes, Robert's Rules can be adapted for virtual meetings by using technology for communication and voting, while still adhering to the fundamental principles of parliamentary procedure.

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