Literacy First

You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule? You will learn to handle 80% of the situations you are likely to run […]

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You Need an Agenda

But you don’t need to adopt the meeting agenda. Learn why!

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Main Motions Move Business

The cornerstone of getting business done is the “main motion”.

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Parliamentary Literacy in 10 Lessons

I have a 10-lesson series to bring the “parliamentary newbie” up to Parliamentary Literacy proficiency. Where many course take the approach of going through Robert’s Rules of Order “in order” as shown in the book, I take a more practical approach.

Lesson 1 — Introduction to The Books: RONR and RONRIB

There are two definitive reference books: Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR, currently the 12th Edition) and Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief (RONRIB, currently the 3rd Edition). Which should you own, and why? Topics include:

  1. How this course is organized, and why I did it this way
  2. Brief history of how these rules were created and how they are updated
  3. How are the books different. Which should you have?
  4. Organizations: National Association of Parliamentarians and the American Institute of Parliamentarians

Lesson 2 — The Assembly: Chairperson, Members, Guests

Before getting into the nitty gritty details of how to run meetings, we’ll discuss the concept of “the assembly”, which potentially includes a chairperson, members of the organization that is holding the meeting, and guests. Topics include:

  1. The concept of Deliberative Assembly
  2. Chairperson as guide, counselor, and craftsperson
  3. Members need Chair’s guidance… but the Members rule!
  4. Why members need to know RONR too
  5. Who has the floor, and for how long?

Lesson 3 — The Process of Motions and Amendments: Getting Business Done

Now we’ll get down to business! Motions are basically proposals to do something, and before voting on whether to do “it”, we might refine “it” with amendments and other related actions. Topics include:

  1. What a motion is, and isn’t
  2. When it belongs to the member, and when it belongs to the assembly
  3. What changes are possible?
  4. Divide and conquer: Dissecting complex ideas

Lesson 4 — Voting and Elections: Making Decisions

After someone makes a motion (a proposal to do something) and refined it as needed with amendments, you have to make a decision. Voting is the process of making a decision on a proposed action. And in many ways, an election of people to offices or committees is the same thing: making a decision on a proposal. Topics include:

  1. Unanimous Consent
  2. Voice vote, show of hands, roll call, paper ballot, secret ballot
  3. Nomination and election processes
  4. What if we’re online?

Lesson 5 — Board of Directors, Officers, and Committees: Who Does Which Work?

Words matter, and each participant in the organization needs to be mindful of which of their roles they are operating in at any given time. We’ll cover when to send a motion over to a committee and how the assembly manages a committee. Topics include:

  • When do Directors have power?
  • When do Officers have power?
  • How are committees different from Deliberative Assemblies?
  • Controlling committee processes

Lesson 6 — Order of Business, Agendas, and Minutes: What You’re Going to Do, and What You Did

We’ve all seen meeting agendas in the work meeting setting, but how are agendas handled in a corporate meeting? And everyone is confused about how to create meeting minutes. We’ll give you some answers! Topics include:

  • Have a high-level standard order of business
  • Develop a detailed agenda for each meeting
  • To adopt and agenda means what?
  • Documenting what was done: Draft, Corrections, Approved, Revised

Lesson 7 — Meeting Types, Quorum, and Notices, Oh My!

There are a number of types of meetings, several important types of notices required, and always some question about what can you do if you don’t have a quorum. Every business leader should know these details. Topics include:

  1. Quorum: how many, how long, how often?
  2. Regular, Special, and Annual Meetings
  3. Adjourned Meetings, and What is a Session?
  4. Meeting notices, and other notices

Lesson 8 — Regulations, Charters, Bylaws, Rules, and Policies: The Hierarchy of Governing Documents

So many rules and regulations!! Who can keep track of them all?? You have to know which ones override contradictory statements in other. And there are other important governing documents you may never have heard of… until now. Topics include:

  • Federal and state regulations, corporate charter, bylaws, standing rules, and policies
  • What makes it a parliamentary rule?
  • Maintaining a record of historical, long-standing decisions
  • Suspending the rules

Lesson 9 — Difficult Situations and Maintaining Order

Meetings don’t always run smoothly, but the chairperson’s worst nightmare is when chaos breaks out and it’s difficult to maintain order. We’ll discuss ways to maintain control (always be the calmest person in the room!). And sometimes a decision was made at a prior meeting that needs to be “corrected” or “adjusted” after-the-fact. Can it be done? Yes it can! Topics include:

  1. Easy things: requests for information
  2. Point of Order and Appeal: Who has the final say?
  3. Fixing mistakes from prior meetings: amend or rescind something previously adopted
  4. Maintaining control when chaos breaks out!

Lesson 10 — Wrap-Up and Putting It All Together

Congratulations! If you got this far, you’re more than ready to take on most of the situations you will run into. But let’s put another badge on your parliamentary literacy vest and give you some additional parting guidance. Topics include:

  1. The Chair as Orchestra Conductor
  2. Where to turn with questions
  3. When to ask for a Professional Parliamentarian
  4. Always Be Learning: Learn More by Teaching Others and Setting an Example

Three Ways to Learn

Each person has their own “best way” of learning. Check out our three educational course offerings.

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Get Better Meetings Here!

The definitive guide to parliamentary rules is Robert’s Rules of Order — and it’s 800 pages of technical details that most people don’t need! Stick with us and we’ll teach you what you need to know — without all the fluff.