There are some basic principles and procedures that apply to all decision-making processes, whether you are a family trying to plan an outing, a manager trying to lead a work team, or an officer in an organization trying to conduct a meeting. These principles and procedures are referred to formally as parliamentary procedure. Parliamentary procedures are the rules that help us maintain order and ensure fairness in all decision-making processes. Robert's Rules of Order is one man's presentation and discussion of parliamentary procedure that has become the leading authority in most organizations today.
The basic principles behind Robert's Rules of Order are:
Someone has to facilitate or direct the discussion and keep order.
All members of the group have the right to bring up ideas, discuss them, and come to a conclusion.
Members should come to an agreement about what to do.
Members should understand that the majority rules, but the rights of the minority are always protected by assuring them the right to speak and to vote.
The following chapters first explain, in a simple way, the basic principles of Robert's Rules of Order. Then they show you how and when to apply the rules so that you can expedite your business quickly and efficiently while ensuring fairness and due process.
Robert's Rules of Order includes several tools that will help you in this step-by-step process. "Scripting" of exactly what to say and when to say it appears throughout the book. The scripts are structured like the dialogue found in a play, and they begin by telling you who is to do the talking, followed by what should be said, and then any physical actions to be performed (which appear in brackets), such as rising to obtain the floor or rapping the gavel. Quick-reference boxes for each motion tell you at-a-glance the purpose of the motion; if it requires a second, is amendable, and is debatable; what kind of vote is required to adopt it; and what the result will be if adopted. Easy-to-read charts provide a quick visual guide to the ranking of each motion so that you can quickly determine the correct order of proceedings. And finally, the appendices provide an actual example of minutes, a script of an entire meeting, a guide to correct terminology, and a short history of Henry Robert and the development of parliamentary procedure as it is practiced today.