A citizen rang me up in some concern about the way his city council had processed a big motion the night before. The land-use proposal was introduced and seconded, a member was recognized to debate, and that member immediately said, “I call the question.” Five of the seven members on the council voted in favor…

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Nonprofit membership organizations sometimes are plagued with members who create difficulties at meetings. What can you do about that? Can you kick a member out of a membership meeting? And if so, how? Our article, Dealing with difficult members, lays the groundwork for this post. Download PDF Rights and responsibilities Attending membership meetings is one…

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When I served on the board of the American Translators Association, a fellow board member drove me crazy. His blithe assumption of superiority and his ego were insufferable. Of course, it is a truism of psychology that a strong emotional reaction like that is linked to unresolved inner issues. When I looked at the matter…

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The big moment is here. You’ve done your due diligence by: reviewing any emergency declarations affecting local government meetings in your state, studying how your body can proceed in light of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 emergency, planning with your staff, consulting your attorney, and choosing an online platform. You’re all set to launch your first totally remote…

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Moving your meeting online presents special challenges. Here are our best tips for success. Make sure you can meet this way. Refer to state law and your bylaws to make sure you can meet by telephone or videoconference. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition, discusses this issue on pp. 97-99. According to Robert,…

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Some years ago, I had a dramatic exposure to the motion “to Reconsider.” At a 2-day meeting of our professional society board, one member (I’ll call him “Alex”) proposed that our society spend $4000 on radio spots in Washington, DC. He felt that we needed to develop a public relations strategy, and that this would…

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A colleague asked for our best tips on leading committee meetings at work using Robert’s Rules. In general, Robert’s Rules don’t apply at work The first and obvious point is that work is not a venue where Robert’s Rules and parliamentary procedure apply. That system of meeting management is designed for assemblies—groups—where all members have…

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When I posted this question, Betsy Cawn of Lake County, California wrote a short and pungent response. Much appreciated, Betsy! Thanks to you, Ann, Robert’s Rules DO NOT drive me crazy — but unlearned colleagues who refuse to even discuss the abbreviated set of “simple guidelines” you provide certainly DO. Somewhere between the extreme formality…

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Taking the time to construct a powerful agenda will make a big difference to your meetings. Avoid these agenda mistakes: An agenda that would take two days to get through, not two hours. An agenda that fails to assign suggested time limits for discussion. An agenda that is emailed at 6:00 am for a 7:00…

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