5. Trim Meetings’ Agendas for Tighter Focus

Roberts’ Rules of Order, Newly Revised, (10th Edition, 2000, Perseus Publishing, available at nearly all bookstores), on page 342, provides an agenda or “Order of Business” after the meeting is called to order:

  1. Reading and Approval of Minutes
  2. Reports of Officers, Boards, and Standing (Permanent) Committees
  3. Reports of Special (Select, “Ad Hoc” or Appointed) Committees
  4. Special Orders (business from previous meetings designated to be considered at a specific time)
  5. Unfinished Business (business not finished during last meetings) and General Orders (business from a previous meeting designated to come up at this meeting, but not at a specific time)
  6. New Business
  7. (And, implicitly) Adjournment

Any organization may also have regularly-scheduled additions to their agenda, such as, a pledge to the national flag,, a “Roll Call” of officers or members, a “Loyalty Pledge” expressing the organization’s deepest values, a “Good of the Order” which may be announcements of items important to individuals in the group and general “Announcements.”

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6. Encourage Pre-Meeting Distribution of Motions

Encourage Pre-Distribution of Motions: Whether by land-mail, email, or fax machine, pre-distribution not only focuses the discussion on the main motions, the best solutions to problems facing the organization, but also allows members time to prepare for better-informed discussion of the motions. The ‘Ladder of Motions’ Report Forms, also available through this website, can be used for pre-distribution of main motions as well as providing copies to the chairman and secretary during the meeting.

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7. Set Time Limits to Control Dominant Members

Set Time Limits to Control Dominant Members: RONR (listed above), on page 375, limits any given member’s speaking time to ten minutes per speech and two speeches per motion – and then that privilege is “exhausted” for that member. The organization can set rules for shorter speeches, only one speech per member per motion, or total number of motions an individual can speak on. The organization can also limit total time allowed for each motion. No speaker should be allowed to speak a second time when someone who has not yet spoken requests to speak. An alarm clock and a designated timer may be needed if individuals, consistently speak longer than the specified time limits.

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