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Do you know Robert?

You should.

If you are member of any organization that holds meetings you should familiarize yourself with Robert’s Rules of Order.

Robert’s Rules of Order, is the bible of parliamentary procedure.  The principles and procedures and that are applied to meetings are formally called parliamentary procedure.  These are governing sets of rules that dictate democratic process during meetings.  You should know and understand some of the parliamentary procedures that take place at organizational and business meetings.  These rules are designed to bring order to meetings and to facilitate getting things done in a timely manner.

Every group from families to corporations apply some basic procedures to their decision making processes.    These rules help us maintain order and ensure fairness in the decision making process. In any organization profit or non-profit you want to ensure that order and fairness are always maintained.

There are four basic principles behind Robert’s Rules of Order.

  1. Someone must lead or direct the meeting and keep order
  2. Everyone in the group has the right to bring up ideas, have a discussion, and come to a conclusion.
  3. The goal should be for members to come to an agreement.
  4. Members should understand that the majority rules but that the minority always have the right to speak and vote.

Learning parliamentary rules is like learning any other task.  Once you understand parliamentary rules meetings run so smoothly and conflicts during meetings can be prevented.

Knowing the rules of parliamentary procedure will lead to more productive meetings.  Members will make and discuss motions, more members will be willing to service as officers and chairpersons.

Before the meeting make sure you have reviewed your meeting etiquette.

  1. Turn off your cell phone. Arrive on time.   Five to ten minutes early is usually acceptable at a business meeting.  Late arrival is disruptive and shows a lack of consideration for the time of others.  Poor time management can derail your career.  Go up to people and greet them.  Introduce yourself, shake hands.  Shaking hands can be the first step in developing a relationship.
  2. Hopefully, the agenda was distributed in advance. Be prepared.  Review the agenda and research the items.  Develop questions that you may ask.  Have some comments to add to the meeting.  If you review the agenda you can actively participate in the meeting.  Know the seating protocol at the meeting.  If you are unsure wait to be directed to a seat.
  3. Pay attention. Squirming, scratching, coughing, doodling all send out signs of boredom and disinterest.  Learn to control your body movements.  Make yourself aware of the non-verbal signals that you send out.
  4. Speak up. The longer you wait to speak, the harder it will be to speak.  Speak up early.  This is where attention to the agenda pays off.  If you have reviewed the agenda you should be able to speak confidently about the items on the agenda.  Remember to speak fast.  You want to convey that what you are saying is important.  Speak fluently.  Make sure that your comment is succinct and easily understood.  Speak forcefully.  You want to show conviction in your idea.  You want to show that you believe in what you are proposing.

Learning proper business meeting etiquette is essential for success in any career.  Understanding the meeting process and how it develops adds value to your employer.

New hires must demonstrate by their behavior that they are aware of the nuances of the business meeting.    Five Star School of Etiquette helps new hires understand the etiquette of the business world.  Some etiquette is transferable, however many etiquette rules are different in the business arena.

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Manners easily and rapidly mature into morals. - Horace Mann