Robert’s Rules of Order have a bad reputation. Few people realize that these rules contain vital principles and guidelines that are essential for efficient, effective and fair meetings.
The original Robert was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He published his “pocket manual” in 1876. The book rapidly spread all across the U.S. Everyone was happy to have a common understanding of how to run their meetings.
Over the years, however, Robert’s Rules of Order became more and more complicated and confusing. The current version, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition, has more than 800 pages. It is not an easy read.
It is also true, however, that these rules contain some simple guidelines that can transform your meetings. We describe them here. A client recently told us that applying these guidelines had cut an average of 90 minutes from their board meetings.
We encourage every civic body, board of directors, council or commission to adopt Robert’s Rules of Order and learn the essentials of how it functions. We offer those essentials in our book, Mastering Council Meetings, and our distance learning course, Making Sense of Motions.
We write about these essentials in our newsletter and blog entries. Our materials also describe other information that you need to know, such as who can make a motion and how abstaining may change a vote.
Search our site, subscribe to our publications, learn the key elements of Robert’s Rules of Order, and enjoy the security of knowing that you are running efficient and fair meetings based on essential democratic principles.