I’ve always known that Robert’s Rules of Order are used to run a meeting, but I never thought about what that meant until a couple of weeks ago when I went to my first HOA meeting, which was a train wreck. It started with an invitation to the meeting in a giant office building with no mention of the room number and went downhill into hostility, eye rolling, and name calling. So I am boning up on Robert’s Rules of Order to be prepared not only for the next HOA meeting, but also other club meetings.
So what are Robert’s Rules of Order
They are a group of rules that were written in 1876 by Brigadier General Henry Robert III, after he was asked to run a meeting at his church and failed miserably. What Robert did, was to simplify the parliamentary rules that were used in the British Parliament, and those rules date all the way back to the ancient Greeks. These are rules about how to run a meeting, how to have debates, how to accomplish business, and how to get to keep things moving, all without resorting to name calling and letting everybody have a chance to speak. They are used in everything from the United States Congress to school board meetings and club meetings. Understanding Robert’s Rules of Order is a great thing to have in your arsenal when you’re going to a meeting and in your general life knowledge. What I like about this book is that it boils down Robert’s Rules of Order and shows real life examples of how they’re used. And it is short so you can read it in an afternoon. I will keep you posted on how the next HOA meeting goes. But in the meantime, I encourage anybody that’s involved in a club or attending any meeting planning to speak, to go knowing how to use the Rules. Now more than ever we need to know how to speak out and listen to others in the right way.
From the book: Robert’s Rules of Order can be relied on to establish a baseline of decorum, as well as a process for bringing issues to the floor, holding debate, and coming to a vote. Robert sets out not only basic principles involved in holding and running a productive meeting, but also the procedures that allow group members to make decisions and move forward. These principles and procedures let every member of the group be heard, propose ideas, and have his or her ideas and input treated fairly and respectfully. They also establish a procedure for selecting leaders, determining the size of a majority, and protecting the rights of the minority.
Fun Fact: There have been twelve editions of Robert’s Rules of Order. The most recent one was published in 2020.