The most useful and practical phrase a chair can say

gears with word practical

It’s a little risky to make extreme claims, but in the view of Jurassic Parliament, the most useful and practical phrase a chair can say is: Members will kindly seek recognition before speaking. This is based on our 20+ years of experience, in which the tendency of meetings to dissolve into conversations among the members…

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Can the chair take the minutes?

Dear Dinosaur:  In our organization, one person makes the agenda for the meeting, chairs the meeting, takes the notes, and creates the minutes. Besides being a lot of work for one person, it seems like more people should be involved to avoid the appearance of a concentration of power within the commission. Are there specific…

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Is your meeting aimed at efficiency or expression?

Photo of David Rumsey

Guest post by David Rumsey Meetings can come in all shapes and sizes.  But there are ultimately two reasons for holding a meeting: to discuss topics and/or to make decisions.  Although most meetings include both elements to some extent, understanding which element should be emphasized and when will go a long way toward achieving successful…

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The Neuroscience of You and good decisions

Book cover Chantel Prat The Neuroscience of You

I’ve been fascinated by Chantel Prat’s book, The Neuroscience of You. She does a great job making complex information about the brain accessible to a lay person like me. Up until now, scientific research has focused on how brains in general work. This book is different. It gives ideas, quizzes and exercises to estimate how…

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Can board member see previous minutes?

Dear Dinosaur:  Is a newly voted board member allowed to see the previous 12 months of board minutes? Answer: A board member has the right to view all the board meeting minutes. This is necessary because a board member is a fiduciary for the organization, in a position of trust. One has the obligation to…

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Extra rules to add to Robert’s Rules

Robert’s Rules of Order is a daunting subject for many folks who haven’t yet seen how much it improves meetings. We strive in Jurassic Parliament to distill key information that will help you run effective and fair meetings. Distillation is one thing, but ADDING RULES? When there are already hundreds of pages of rules in…

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“Order of Business” says when you can make a motion

It is a fundamental principle of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition (RONR) that main motions must be taken up at the proper time on the agenda. (A main motion proposes action by the body). This is necessary in order to preserve order, and the rights of members. To that end, RONR establishes…

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Don’t attack or criticize the staff in public

Several local government officials have recently described to us situations where elected officials are criticizing and attacking the staff during public meetings. This must not happen. Councilmembers and board members must respect the role of the administrative head of the organization (mayor, city manager, general manager, etc.). They may not criticize the staff in public.…

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