meeting ground rules

Inappropriate remarks on local government councils

By Ann Macfarlane / December 14, 2017 / Comments Off on Inappropriate remarks on local government councils

If you serve as an elected official on a local government council or board, you should know the types of remarks that are inappropriate during discussion at meetings. Robert’s Rules of Order and the common parliamentary law it is based on require that: Members of a council or board must be courteous to one another.…

Read More

Small board rules are different

By Ann Macfarlane / May 31, 2017 /

Updated July 14, 2021 The different rules for small boards are one of the best-kept secrets of Robert’s Rules of Order. If you serve on a small board (up to about 12 people) you may benefit from the flexibility that the rules for small boards offer. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition says…

Read More

Pain point: Whispering and sidebar conversations

By Ann Macfarlane / October 4, 2016 /

This week a reader called me for advice about whispering and sidebar conversations. He is an officer in a small club dedicated to German shepherd dogs. At the last meeting, when a member was giving a report on research she had done, there were two separate sidebar conversations going on. I was happy to tell…

Read More

Do you have a bully on board?

By Ann Macfarlane / February 15, 2016 /
antique carving of bully

Reader Lon Garrison from Alaska asks how to deal with a bully who intimidates other members of the school board, including the chair. There are several things a body can do to resolve this unfortunate situation. Points to consider: 1) Bullying is never allowed at board or council meetings. It’s just common sense that when…

Read More

What are special rules of order in Robert’s Rules?

By Ann Macfarlane / October 22, 2015 /

Updated July 14, 2021 Special rules of order are permanent rules, specific to your group, that guide your discussions and meetings. They allow you to make sure that your group talks about things and makes decisions in the way that works best for you. Robert’s Rules of Order encourages groups to set up their own special…

Read More

Avoiding amygdala hijack

By Ann Macfarlane / September 3, 2015 / Comments Off on Avoiding amygdala hijack
drawing of amygdala

My nephew was visiting us last weekend when he was hijacked. One moment, he was an affable, engaged and charming member of the family — the next, a seething mass of rage and anguish. I reacted with compassion. I knew that he doesn’t yet have the skills to prevent his amygdala from taking over. But…

Read More

Which Robert’s Rules should I buy?

By Ann Macfarlane / April 17, 2015 / Comments Off on Which Robert’s Rules should I buy?

Updated July 15, 2021 When I first became interested in Robert’s Rules of Order and parliamentary procedure, I toddled off to the bookstore to get myself the book. A thin volume with a purple and green art nouveau cover, proffering Robert’s Rules for the current century, looked like a good bet. I handed over my…

Read More