For meetings to be effective, they require effective planning by both the chair and the participants. In the spirit of "keeping on track," it is necessary for meetings to use "rules of order." The two "Rules of Order" most often utilized are Robert's and Sturgis", and there are some differences between the two, for the sake of this primer, the discussion will be in terms of things that are common regardless of the specific "Rules" being utilized.
All meeting attendants owe it both to themselves and to their #organization to listen carefully and respectfully to other speakers, to not interrupt, wait to be recognized by the chair before #speaking, address the chair instead of other speakers, and to abide by the "rules of order," while not simply abusing parliamentary rules by manipulating them for unfair advantage.
Parliamentary rules should be used to: make a meeting flow better; accomplish the agenda items; and thus advance the needs of the organization. While parliamentary rules can be used to delay discussion, it is usually considered abusive to merely use "parliamentary tricks" to avoid discussing something. A basic tenet of parliamentary procedure is that while the majority should decide, the minority should have all its rights protection, particularly the right to be heard. Some basic rules include:
(1) No one can speak until recognized by the chair.
(2) No one can speak for a second time on a subject until everyone and anyone who wishes to speak on a subject has had the opportunity to at least speak once.
(3) The chair must remain completely impartial. If the chair feels he must speak on a particular issue, he must temporarily leave the chair to express an opinion.
(4) Motions must be as clear as possible to all by having one person make the motion, someone else seconding it, and then the chair restates the motion. Only then is discussion permitted on the subject, based on the parameters of the rules.
(5) If no special time limits rules have been adopted to the contrary, an individual speaker's time is limited to no more than ten minutes.
(6) An individual cannot yield his time to another, unless contrary rules have been adopted.
(7) No individual may speak more than twice on a particular issue(question) on the same day.
(8) All speaker's comments must address the chair, not another member of the assembly.
(9) Speakers must stick to the topic.
(10) Speakers must remain respectful and civil to others.
After discussion is completed, the chair then calls the vote. Voting can be done in a number of manners, including:
(1) Voice vote is the regular, standard way of voting where the question is voted upon by majority rules.
(2) Rising vote is used when the chair finds the voice vote inconclusive, or when something greater than a majority, such as a two-thirds vote is required.
(3) Show of hands can also be used in lieu of either voice vote or rising vote.
(4) Ballot votes are used when secrecy is desired, or is requested.
(5) Roll call should really only be utilized when the delegates or members voting are representing a constituency, and thus it is felt that there is a need to record how the individual voted on a particular issue.
Please remember that this is only the very basics of parliamentary rules, but hopefully demonstrates how important its use is. Anyone voting should not only familiarize himself with the specific issues, but how the appropriate rules of order are related to the procedure. All delegates should have a working knowledge of rules of order, and should be in possession of the appropriate rules that their organization uses. These rules should be guidelines for orderly transaction of business. The chair should appoint a member as Parliamentarian, who has an excellent familiarity with these rules.