The official guide on how members of the United States Senate should behave was written by Thomas Jefferson in his "The Manual of Parliamentary Practice" which unfortunately was not followed to the letter. A state of confusion about parliamentary rules continued until Major Henry Robert came up with his Roberts Rules of Order.
How The Rules Originated
The initial rules laid down by Major Robert were followed practices followed at the United States House of Representatives, but Major Robert brought in additional modifications that would prove to be useful to common American citizens as well. Even today, nearly 145 years after it was initially written, the Robert's Rules of Order is the last authority on parliamentary proceedings in the United States. The basic concept of Robert's Rules gave group meetings a sense of cohesion and order which was shown to avoid chaos. It followed the principle that to make a vital and important decision, one of the first rules is maintaining order within the meeting. It gives all participants a chance to air their views in a civilized manner without any member's opinions being ignored.
Order From Chaos And Confusion
Any meeting that follows these rules has to begin with a general call to order, following which a roll call is instituted; a Roberts Rule of Order, which is still followed today in millions of meeting daily. The next sequence of the rules is that office bearers in the committee then read out a full report of the activities that have taken place up to the day of the meeting. Subsequent to that, there is a reading of the agenda of the meeting, before the matter is discussed in full by all participating members. Various points of orders could be raised and after all the points in the aforementioned agenda is discussed. Any business that was not concluded or any matter that is in need to be discussed in the next meeting is put forward, after which the meeting is closed.
Present Day Relevance
Since its introduction in 1867, companies and organizations all around the world have endorsed Robert's Rules as one of the most powerful tools in making meetings effective. The eleventh edition of the book has experienced some minor alterations, but the original concepts have not been changed in any way. Following Robert's Rules has been shown to bring order in meetings which have degenerated into confusion and chaos. This confusion, which has followed by non-adherence of the principles of Robert's Rules, has been experienced in many a board meeting or other general meetings. However, following the rules in general has saved time; implementation of good and useful ideas and suggestions taken on board, for the general well-being of the company.