Robert's Rules in Plain English

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Overview

At last, a book on parliamentary procedure that everyone can understand!

If you've ever had to run a meeting according to parliamentary procedures, you know just how difficult it is to keep track of all the rules, much less follow them. Figuring out what to say and how to say it seems an impossible task.

Robert's Rules in Plain English is the solution to that problem. Not only does it provide you with essential, basic rules in simple, ...

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Robert's Rules in Plain English 2e

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Overview

At last, a book on parliamentary procedure that everyone can understand!

If you've ever had to run a meeting according to parliamentary procedures, you know just how difficult it is to keep track of all the rules, much less follow them. Figuring out what to say and how to say it seems an impossible task.

Robert's Rules in Plain English is the solution to that problem. Not only does it provide you with essential, basic rules in simple, straightforward English, it also includes sample dialogues so you can see exactly how those rules work in practice.

Using summaries, outlines, charts and forms, Robert's Rules in Plain English provides you with all you need to know to run a meeting successfully and to keep it on track.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062734761
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Pages: 144

Meet the Author

Doris P. Zimmerman is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians and the American Institute of Parliamentarians, and founder and president of Parliamentary Consultants, Inc.

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Read an Excerpt


Parliamentary procedure came to America with our colonial English ancestors. The term refers to the rules that have evolved over time to facilitate the democratic transaction of decision making in an organized group.
American parliamentary procedure is based on the procedural rules used in the English Parliament. Early American parliamentary procedure consisted of what the early settlers remembered of those rules. The complex system of English parliamentary law had developed over time in an awkward and unsystematized manner by a process of decisions and precedents.
It is no wonder the colonists had difficulty remembering the specific and intricate details.
At the time of the founding of our country, each colony had its own ideas of procedure. During the Continental Congress, each colony had different rules regarding how delegates were to be elected, the number of people they should represent, etc.
This confusing state of affairs continued until 1801. Thomas Jefferson, while serving as vice president, saw the need for a written and uniform system of rules. He compiled the Manual of Parliamentary Practice which was immediately adopted by both the House and the Senate to prevent needless haggling over procedure.
At the same time, Americans began forming many different kinds of organizations--political, cultural, scientific, etc.--of their own. However, Jefferson's manual was too complex and beyond the ability of the average citizen.
It was not until 1876 that Henry Martyn Robert, a practical, precise, and civic-minded engineer, put together a small book of rules specifically designed for non-legislative organizations. He wrote that his parliamentary manual was "based,in its general principles, upon the rules and practices of Congress, and adapted in its details to the use of ordinary societies."
That first Robert's Rules of Order was an almost instant success. Groups who adopted it as a parliamentary authority were now free from the turmoil of struggling with the rules governing their meetings.
Today we can be a part of any meeting in any state and know that, if Robert's Rules of Order is the adopted parliamentary authority, the rules will be the same. Motions are amended the same way whether the meeting takes place in California or in New York.

Parliamentary law is the basis of all constitutional governments. By protecting and practicing correct parliamentary procedure, we also protect our democratic institutions. Parliamentary procedure protects the rights of people to join together to accomplish common goals and enables them to debate and take action in a fair manner with the least amount of controversy.
The rules of parliamentary procedure are based on common sense and logic. They have evolved throughout centuries of usage and custom. Parliamentary rules protect:

*the right of the majority to decide;
*the right of the minority to be heard;
*the rights of individual members;
*the rights of absentees.

All of parliamentary procedure is built on the principle that there must be a careful balance of the rights of the organization as a whole, the rights of subgroups and the rights of individual members.
Parliamentary procedure should be used to help and not hinder decision making. Robert said, "The assembly meets to transact business, not to have members exploit their knowledge of parliamentary law."

The Rights of the Organization Supersede
the Rights of Individual Members
The organization has the right to make its own rules which then must be observed by all members. Should a conflict arise between the rights of a member and the right of the organization to do its business, the rights of the organization prevail.
Example
At a meeting of the Green Acres Association a motion has been made that "A playground be constructed in the park area." Mrs. A has been recognized by the Chair and is speaking in favor of the motion. Mr. B, who is opposed to the motion, is calling out loud objections and engaging in argument with the speaker. The Chair calls the member to order. Mr. B continues his disruptive behavior, stating that as a member he has a "right" to speak. The Chair quietly states that the organization has the right to conduct business in an orderly manner which supersedes the member's right to speak. The Chair further informs Mr. B that the organization has the right to eject any member who interferes with that right.
All Members Are Equal and
Their Rights Are Equal
Those rights are:

*to attend meetings;
*to make motions and speak in debate;
*to nominate;
*to vote;
*to hold office.
Example
Mr. B has the right to voice his objections to the motion to construct a playground. However, he must seek recognition of the Chair and be recognized (assigned the floor) before he can speak in debate.
A Quorum Must Be Present to Do Business
A quorum is the number of members who must be present to legally transact business. The number is usually stated in the bylaws. In a committee or a small board, the quorum is the majority of its members. The purpose of a quorum is to prevent an unrepresentative group from taking action in the name of the organization. Robert's Rules in Plain English. Copyright © by Doris P. Zimmerman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction to Team-Building Games xi
How to Use This Book xvii
Chapter 1. Icebreakers: Getting to Know Each Other Better 1
Chapter 2. Who Are We? Creating Team Identity 23
Chapter 3. What Can Teamwork Achieve? Demonstrating Its Value 37
Chapter 4. Who Can We Trust? Building Mutual Support 71
Chapter 5. How Should We Proceed? Setting Team Goals and Norms 83
Chapter 6. How Are We Doing? Improving Teamwork 103
Chapter 7. How Can We Stretch Our Minds? Problem-Solving and Creativity Games 129
Chapter 8. Can We Get Along Better? Learning to Communicate and Cooperate 155
Chapter 9. Can We Work Together? Energizing Team Meetings 175
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2006

    Wow

    The author did an exceptional job publishing a parliamentary procedure manual for the everyday individual. After reading the book, I feel like an expert thanks to her helpful insight and active examples of Robert's Rules in action. Highly recommended.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Presentation of Essential Robert's Rules for Meetings

    This unique publication is by far the best guide for individuals (and small organizations) needing only basic parliamentary procedure related to meetings. As a retired teacher who has served as a board member for various civic organizations, I recommend this book to everyone. (As a matter of fact, I usually give a copy of it to newly elected presidents for groups with which I serve. Of course, each organization still needs to have a copy of the current, unabridged Robert's Rules on hand for reference since issues occasionally arise which are not covered in this, or any other, more "user-friendly" parliamentary guide.)

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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