Robert's Rules For Dummies
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Robert's Rules provides rules and procedures that allow a deliberative assembly to make its decisions efficiently, and with all due regard for the rights of the minority. Following the rules ensures more a fair and more achievable outcome without wasting time, but remembering all the details of parliamentary procedure can be a tall order.

Keeping some quick reference material on hand when you enter a meeting will ensure you have the important information you need to effectively and democratically achieve the business of the assembly.

The presiding officer's script

The best presiding officers plan ahead. With an agenda and knowledge of the business at hand before the meeting, a plan can turn into a script like the following example that following Robert’s Rules and will enable you to preside like a pro.

President’s Scripted Agenda

June 19, 2012

Call to order:

3:00 p.m.

Rap the gavel once. One time. Uno Rappo. Ein Bangf.

The meeting will come to order.

Approval or correction of minutes:

The secretary’s draft of the minutes of the May meeting was sent to you last week, and a copy is in your meeting packet. Knowing you all to be judicious minute-readers, please let me know now if you found any errors. 


Are there any corrections to the minutes as distributed?

Take corrections until there are no more.

If there are no (further) corrections, the minutes stand approved as distributed (corrected).

The next order of business is officer reports.

Reports of Officers

President’s Report:

You have a copy of my written report, so I’ll review a couple of highlights and move on. 

Treasurer’s Report:

The treasurer is absent this afternoon, but furnished his report. Let’s take a minute to review it. I hope I can answer any questions.

We have 281 dues-paid members, $21,272 total cash accounts. You have in your meeting packets some financial reports for the period 1/1 to 5/31.

You have an itemized income and expense report covering our year to date in your materials along with an expense detail available; if you have any questions, I’ll be glad to try to answer them.

Handle questions:

No action is required on the treasurer’s report. It will be filed for audit.

Before we continue, please allow me to report some committee appointments. 

Report committee chairmen and membership appointments so far.

Executive Director’s Report:

The chair recognizes Mr. ED for a report.

Thank you Mr. ED

There are a number of recommendations here and we’ll take them up one at a time. . . .

Ask Secretary to read the first recommendation. Someone then should “move the adoption of the recommendation just read.”

State the motion

It is moved to adopt the recommendation just read. Is there debate?” 

Handle discussion; put the question when ready by saying,

Those in favor say “Aye” [pause] 

Those opposed say “No”. . . .

The motion passes (fails) and the recommendation is (not) adopted.

The next order of business is standing committee reports.

Reports of Standing Committees

Membership Committee Chairman’s Report:

The chair recognizes ____ for the membership committee report.

[Script for motions arising from the report]

Thank you ____.

Finance Committee Chairman’s Report:

Your president is the current finance chairman and the treasurer’s report given earlier covered everything.

Convention Committee Report:

Members, complete information from the last Convention that has not been finalized, and the Convention Committee will report at the next meeting.

Next order of business is reports of special committees.

Reports of Special Committees

Special Certification Committee Report:

The chair recognizes ____ for the certification committee report.

[Script and handle motions arising from this report]

Thank you.

Special Chapter Charter Revision Committee Report:

The chair recognizes ____ for the chapter charter revision committee report.

You have a written committee report. The committee recommends you adopt the following resolution.

Read the resolution.

The question is on the adoption of the resolution just read. Is there debate?

Handle debate, put the question, announce the result.

The motion passes, and the resolution is adopted.

New Business

Is there new business?

The Chair recognizes AB.

[AB makes motion and it is seconded.]

It is moved and seconded to create a special committee of three members to be appointed by the president to report recommendations on requirements for annual continuing education credits for members.

Handle debate, put the question, announce the result.

Is there any further business to come before the meeting?


We need to set the date for our next meeting. It looks like September 18 is the usual date. Shall we meet next at 3 pm on September 18? Hearing no objection, we’ll meet next on September 18 at 3pm here at the clubhouse.


There being no further business to come before the board, the meeting is adjourned.

Making and handling motions following Robert's Rules

In an organization that’s following Robert’s Rules, when that light bulb goes off in your head and you have a great idea, you make a motion to get your idea discussed and a decision made. Here are the eight steps required from start to finish to make a motion and get the decision of the assembly. Each step is a required part of the process. See also Robert’s Rules on Basic Motions.

Step What to Say
1. The member rises and addresses the chair. “Mr./Madam Chairman.”
2. The chair recognizes the member. “The chair recognizes Ms. Gliggenschlapp.”
3. The member makes a motion. “I move to purchase a copy of Robert’s Rules For
 for our president.”
4. Another member seconds the motion. “Second.”
5. The chair states the motion. “It is moved and seconded to purchase a copy of
Robert’s Rules For Dummies for your president. Are you ready for the question?”
6. The members debate the motion. “The chair recognizes Ms. Gliggenschlapp to speak to her
motion. . . .”
7. The chair puts the question, and the members vote. “Those in favor of adopting the motion to buy a copy of Robert’s Rules For Dummies for your president, say
‘Aye.’ [pause] Those opposed, say ‘No.’”
8. The chair announces the result of the vote. “The ayes have it, and the motion carries. A copy of
Robert’s Rules For Dummies will be purchased for your

Following the standard order of business

An easy way to remember the Robert’s Rules standard order of business is with the mnemonic 3R-SUN — you can see it clearly in the following list. This list is a quick reference to make it easy for you to set up a basic agenda for your meeting.

  1. Reading and approval of minutes
  2. Reports of officers, boards, and standing committees
  3. Reports of special (select and ad hoc) committees
  4. Special orders
  5. Unfinished business and general orders
  6. New business


About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

C. Alan Jennings, PRP, is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian credentialed by the National Association of Parliamentarians. He is a past President of the Louisiana Association of Parliamentarians and a member of the American Institute of Parliamentarians.

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