meeting management

What justifies calling a Point of Order?

By Ann Macfarlane / November 8, 2023 / Comments Off on What justifies calling a Point of Order?

Guest post by Nicole Schenk The motion Point of Order is a request to the chair to enforce a parliamentary rule, which a member is claiming has just been broken, or is in the process of being broken. Calling a Point of Order is a basic right of every member. It is one way 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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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

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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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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How do I handle nominations for mayor? Do nominations need a second?

By Ann Macfarlane / January 10, 2023 / Comments Off on How do I handle nominations for mayor? Do nominations need a second?

Dear Dinosaur:  At our council meeting, councilmembers will appoint a mayor for the new year from among the council. My question is how to manage the possibility of there being more than one nomination. I can’t say that we will, but I want to be prepared. Answer: At the meeting, as presiding officer you open…

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

By Ann Macfarlane / December 9, 2022 /

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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Run, don’t walk, to buy Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track

By Ann Macfarlane / October 21, 2022 / Comments Off on Run, don’t walk, to buy Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track

Reader, I am over the moon about Jim Slaughter’s new book, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track. This brief, affordable and funny guidebook will give you the tools to apply Robert’s Rules immediately and effectively. Jim’s humor and focus kept me reading with enjoyment, underlining key phrases, and dotting the text with exclamation points. Jim…

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Ann’s podcast interview, “Running Amazing Council Meetings,” with Jim Hunt

By Ann Macfarlane / September 7, 2022 / Comments Off on Ann’s podcast interview, “Running Amazing Council Meetings,” with Jim Hunt

I had the pleasure this summer of a lively conversation with Jim Hunt, host of “Amazing Cities and Towns” podcast. Jim is a former mayor and councilmember in Clarksburg, West Virginia, and past president of the National League of Cities. He brought a candid eye,  wide experience, and sharp insights to our discussion. We talked…

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