Have your conference calls ever bogged down in endless discussion? Or perhaps they've slipped out of control due to disorderly conduct from monopolizers and interrupters. whose poor etiquette comes across as counter-productive.
You want to foster open participation while maintaining control, without being bossy. And, most importantly, you want to keep things moving along to an acceptable outcome, and to reach the goals you've set for the meeting.
If this sounds like your situation, you just might benefit from more orderly conference calls by sprinkling in some good old Robert's Rules of Order. It might just keep your meetings on-point and humming along!
Here are 3 actions you could take for incorporating Robert's Rules of Order in your conference calls:
It will not be practical, in most cases, to implement Robert's Rules of Order in a "by the letter" manner. You will need to adapt them to the various types, purposes, situations and locations of meetings you conduct. What will help is to begin with a good idea of their overall purpose and what they're designed to do.
According to this summary version, Robert's Rules of Order are designed to provide a fair and orderly framework from which to conduct meetings that result in democratic outcomes: "Robert's Rules provides for constructive and democratic meetings, to help, not hinder, the business of assembly."
Key guidelines to consider
Often times, people feel strongly about an issue. They have a right to express their point of view in a respectful and persuasive way. Understanding and incorporating several of these guidelines of Robert's Rules of Order will help people give meanningful input. It will also help keep your conference calls and meetings humming along.
Once you have a good handle on the guidelines for using Robert's Rules, you can choose some of the Rules and adapt them for your use. (You might want to print out a list of the rules from this print-friendly page.) For example, here are a few that may lend themselves nicely to a modern conferencing and meeting situation:
These are but a few of Robert's Rules and how they may be used in conference calls and meetings. There's a full list in the form of a handy cheat sheet you can print out or download from Molloy College: Robert's Cheat Sheet. You don't have to use or try and adapt them all. Pick out the ones that make sense to you and your organization. Put into practice the ones that will help keep your conference calls and meetings humming.
The key is to get started and see how the guidelines and rules you adopt work and make for better, faster, and of course, more participative, fair and orderly meetings. Then expand your knowledge and implementation of Robert's Rules of Order into your meeting routine. For example, the cheat sheet mentioned above has a step-by-step procedure for handling a main motion (essentially a new idea or action for the group to consider).
Bookmark this page and refer to it in the future and the following references for further learning:
If adapting the Rules for your conferencing situation is of interest, be sure to register to attend our next webinar: How to Use Robert's Rules of Order to Facilitate Better Meetings.
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