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We often think of parliamentary procedure and Robert’s Rules of Order as obligations or limitations that our organization has to overcome in order to get things done.
But that’s not what parliamentary procedure is. When used correctly, it can serve as a tool for your organization. It can build a healthy, encouraging, and empowering environment for your members. It can serve as comfort for your members to know that their rights as membership will always be protected. It can minimize any tensions between the leadership and membership — even if there’s a contentious issue at hand. Parliamentary procedure should help your organization be the best that it can be, not an obstacle or anchor to hold it down.
Want to get started in parliamentary procedure?
Great! You’ve just completed your first step. Acknowledging the importance of parliamentary procedure is a foot in the right direction.
But what now?
First, start by looking at your organization’s rules. These are what will be guiding your organization. It is the procedural foundation, what your organization must follow in order to succeed. Because of its importance, it is crucial to have a good set of rules. Click here for a checklist on what you should do to make sure your rules are the best that it can be.
Second, training. Parliamentary procedure requires an investment — whether it be in time, resources, or both. Having a workshop, at the very least, on Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised is necessary. While it’s one thing to have rules set down, it’s another thing to make sure that everyone in your organization knows how to follow them — and in good faith.
As a professional consultant, many of the issues that I have seen in the parliamentary procedure realm are related to the steps above. By putting in these investments, your organization is set to be the best that it can be.
Practice. Rome was not built in a day. There are no exceptions for skilled presiding officers, articulate and organized secretaries, or well-versed members.