Can we amend land acknowledgement motion to include national anthem and state song?

By Ann Macfarlane / October 19, 2023 /

Dear Dinosaur: Our school board will be passing a resolution to institute a protocol for a Native Land Acknowledgement at school events. A board member plans to move to amend the motion to have it apply to our national anthem and state song. Can they do this? Answer:  According to Robert’s Rules of Order, amendments…

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Will a Vote of No Confidence remove the chair?

By Ann Macfarlane / September 22, 2023 / Comments Off on Will a Vote of No Confidence remove the chair?

Dear Dinosaur: We have a small group in our Precinct who are trying to remove the Chairman and causing chaos, infighting, and name calling. They are going to call for a Vote of No Confidence at our next meeting. We have adopted Robert’s Rules of Order but don’t have any bylaws. How can we stop…

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Is the Planning Commission a rubber stamp?

By Ann Macfarlane / August 15, 2023 /

Dear Dinosaur: Some of the citizens in our area accuse the Planning Commission of being a rubber stamp for staff recommendations. How should we respond? Answer: If your Planning Commission fulfills your duty of reviewing staff recommendations carefully, asking pertinent questions, deliberating on those recommendations, listening to the public, and allowing every commissioner’s opinion to…

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School board adopts modified Robert’s Rules – is this legit?

By Ann Macfarlane / August 9, 2023 / Comments Off on School board adopts modified Robert’s Rules – is this legit?

A recent news story described how the Conway School District in New Hampshire adopted a modified version of Robert’s Rules of Order, after extensive debate on the topic. Was this a reasonable way to proceed? Absolutely! You can write your own rules of order Not every school board, local government body, or nonprofit board of…

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Insulting body language – what to do

By Ann Macfarlane / July 26, 2023 / Comments Off on Insulting body language – what to do

Dear Dinosaur:  We have a board member who rolls their eyes, sighs, shrugs their shoulders or grimaces while others are speaking. How can this be addressed? Answer: The rules of parliamentary procedure, and specifically Robert’s Rules of Order, require that all members of a body show courtesy and respect. We suggest requesting that the board…

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The importance of Special Rules and Standing Rules for healthy organizations

By Ann Macfarlane / June 9, 2023 /

Guest post by Ted Weisgal Brigadier General Henry Martyn Robert was a genius. After a disastrous 14-hour meeting in 1863, he reflected for 13 years and attended lots of meetings. From those experiences as well as research into British parliamentary law and rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, he created what has become the…

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The most useful and practical phrase a chair can say

By Ann Macfarlane / May 17, 2023 /
gears with word practical

Updated April 25, 2024 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 25+ years of experience, in which the tendency of meetings to dissolve into…

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Can the chair take the minutes?

By Ann Macfarlane / May 8, 2023 / Comments Off on 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?

By Ann Macfarlane / April 12, 2023 /
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

By Ann Macfarlane / March 29, 2023 / Comments Off on 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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