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Robert's Rules For Dummies

Robert's Rules For Dummies

C. Alan Jennings PRP

ISBN: 978-0-764-57574-7

Dec 2004

360 pages

Select type: Paperback

Product not available for purchase


If you belong to any type of organization—from school board to garden club to bowling league to trade association—chances are this book can save you many boring meeting minutes. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised is the current authoritative guide for properly conducting everything from sessions of the U.S. Senate or House of Representative to meetings of neighborhood associations. This friendly guide translates Robert’s Rules into principles you can understand and apply the next time Billy Bully tries to dominate the discussion or Debbie Dictator issues another edict. If you’ve ever been frustrated at the way condominium association business was (or wasn’t) conducted or fidgeted while PTA members debated whether to have goldfish or pencils as prizes for the elementary school carnival, this is the book for you. Written by a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, it covers:
  • The basics of bylaws that establish the real framework of your organization, and nine things that should be covered
  • The requirements for a legal meeting
  • How to use an agenda to plan your meeting and keep things on track
  • Following the standard order of business
  • How to put ideas into motion and the eight steps to handling a motion
  • Voting procedure and different methods of voting
  • The functions and characteristics of seven subsidiary motions, five privileged motions, fifteen incidental motions, and four motions which bring a question again before the assembly
  • Nomination procedures, holding elections, and making appointments

With Robert’s Rules For Dummies, you’ll not only discover how to hold more effective meetings, you’ll get advice for dealing with malcontents or monopolizers who can disrupt, derail, or prolong meetings. And if you’re in a leadership position, you’ll get great information on:

  • Running meetings efficiently and fairly
  • Effectively using standing and special committees
  • Ensuring proper paperwork, including minutes, treasurer’s reports, committee reports, and more
  • Handling discipline or removing officers or members

Complete with a glossary of parliamentary terms and sample agendas, reports, and minutes, this guide has everything you need but a gavel. Whether you belong to an elite country club or a civic organization, an investment club or a volunteer fire department, when you use the principles in this book, meetings won’t be dominated by the loudest or pushiest member or go on and on and on and on and on….


Part I: It’s Parliamentary, My Dear: Participating Effectively in Meetings.

Chapter 1: Following the Rules (Robert’s, That Is).

Chapter 2: Defining the Organization: Bylaws and Other Rules.

Chapter 3: Meetings: Making Group Decisions.

Chapter 4: Starting with Notice and a Quorum.

Chapter 5: Taking Care of Business without Wasting Time: Order of Business and Agenda.

Part II: Motions: Putting Ideas into Action.

Chapter 6: Main Motions: Proposing Ideas for Group Action.

Chapter 7: Debate: Discussing the Pros and Cons of Ideas.

Chapter 8: Making Group Decisions: Voting on the Motion.

Chapter 9: Subsidiary Motions: Helping to Process the Main Motion.

Chapter 10: Privileged Motions: Getting Through the Meeting.

Chapter 11: Incidental Motions: Dealing with the Questions of Procedure.

Chapter 12: Haven’t We Talked About This Already? Motions Which Bring a Question Again Before the Assembly.

Part III: Getting Involved in Leadership.

Chapter 13: Who’s Going to Do the Work? Following Nomination Procedures.

Chapter 14: Holding Elections and Making Appointments.

Chapter 15: Running the Show: Officers and Directors.

Chapter 16: Gearing Up for the Real Action: Committees.

Chapter 17: Reporting to Your Organization.

Chapter 18: We Gotta Get Rid of this Guy! Disciplining and Removing Officers or Members.

Part IV: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 19: Ten (Or So) Meeting Procedure Myths.

Chapter 20 Ten Tips for Presiding Officers.

Chapter 21: Ten Motion Mistakes to Avoid.

Part V: Appendixes.

Appendix A: Glossary of Parliamentary Terms.

Appendix B: Sample Agendas, Reports, and Minutes.


Tellers' Reports for Elections Download
Bonus Chapter 1: Starting a new Association: The Steps to Success Download
Teller's Election Worksheet Download
Bonus Chapter 3: Ten Custom Rules to Consider Download
Bonus Chapter 2: The Convention of Delegates: A Special Kind of Assembly Download
Notice of Proposed Amendment to Bylaws Download
Tellers' Reports for Motions Download

Website for Robert's Rules For Dummies

Welcome to the Website for Robert's Rules For Dummies.

Bonus Chapters

We have included three Bonus Chapters in PDF format. You will need Adobe Reader installed to view these files. If you don't have Adobe Reader installed, you can download it from Adobe's website.

Starting a New Association: The Steps to Success

If you have a cause that needs the collective effort of a group of people with the same or similar objectives, there are steps you can take to ensure your group’s effectiveness in meeting your goals. Starting a new organization isn’t terribly difficult, but like anything else in Robert’s Rules, it’s all about procedure. This bonus chapter helps you navigate through the technicalities of establishing your association so that it’s not only effective but operates as a well-oiled machine. Topics covered in the chapter include:

  • Understanding how new organizations are formed

  • Managing productive organizational meetings

  • Staffing a committee to draft bylaws

  • Enrolling charter members

Yessir, once your new association is up and running (thanks to the information in this chapter), then you can have fun participating in all sorts of parliamentary goings-on, like meetings, voting, and conventions.
What? You’re curious to know about the workings of your organization’s big annual convention? Well then, take a look at the next bonus chapter on the Web site.

Read Bonus Chapter 1: Starting a new Association: The Steps to Success.

The Convention of Delegates: A Special Kind of Assembly

Some people think conventions are just big excuses to get a bunch of people together to party. Well, I’d be dishonest if I didn’t say that some conventions really are like that, but for the most part, conventions are serious business. Work needs to be done to establish your organization’s direction for the next year (or two, or four). This bonus chapter shows you how to conduct business in a convention, and shows you the special rules designed to make a convention an efficient and proper operation. Topics covered include:

  • Understanding the special nature of a convention of delegates

  • Organizing a convention of delegates

  • Using specialized convention committees

Read Bonus Chapter 2: The Convention of Delegates: A Special Kind of Assembly.

Ten Custom Rules to Consider

It’s a sad fact that Robert’s Rules in no way tries to be one-size-fits-all when it comes to individualizing your own rules. This bonus chapter lists some of the ideas frequently recommended by professional parliamentarians regarding special rules and bylaws. Adopting some of these rules may reduce your chances of having to hire a professional parliamentarian to help straighten out a mess!

Read Bonus Chapter 3: Ten Custom Rules to Consider.

Downloadable Forms for Your Meetings

Teller’s Election Worksheet

In any election, it’s important to track the nominees and the ballot totals and tallies. This teller’s worksheet is designed as a nice, simple way to accumulate all the information you need to prepare a perfect Teller’s Report. Of course, once you download the form, you can adapt it according to your own needs, but I personally find its current, simplified layout more than helpful.

Reports for Motions and Elections.

When your organization votes by ballot reporting the details is important for the record (and for preventing the occasional fist fight). Two forms on the Web site are designed to help you in that process. One form is for reporting the ballot counts in a vote on an election. The other form is for reporting the ballot counts in a vote on a motion. Both forms include the critical components for proper reporting of the following:

  • The number of votes cast

  • The number of votes required to elect (or adopt, as in the case of a motion)

  • The total votes cast for each candidate (or choice, as in the case of a motion)

  • The total number of illegal votes and a short description of each such vote

Notice of Proposed Amendment to Bylaws

Here’s the granddaddy of all the forms included on the Web site. Amending the bylaws is serious business, and this form is designed to show you how to prepare and give notice for proposed bylaw amendments, how to show the differences between current and proposed bylaws, when to go out for coffee (no, I’m kidding), and more. This is the prettiest form in the bunch, and you’re sure to find that it comes in very handy.

Notice of Proposed Amendment to Bylaws.