Robert’s Rules of Order for Association Meetings

Robert’s Rules provides for constructive and democratic meetings, to help, not hinder, the business of the assembly. Under no circumstances should “undue strictness” be allowed to intimidate members or limit full participation.
Silence means consent!

It is a set of rules for conduct at meetings, that allows everyone to be heard and to make decisions without confusion.
Because it’s a time tested method of conducting business at meetings and public gatherings. It can be adapted to fit the needs of any organization.

Organizations using parliamentary procedure usually follow a fixed order of business. Below is a typical example:

Call to order.

Roll call of members present.

Reading of minutes of last meeting.

Officers reports.

Special orders — Important business previously designated for consideration at this meeting.

Unfinished business.

New business.



There are four Basic Types of Motions:

Main Motions: The purpose of a main motion is to introduce items to the membership for their consideration. They cannot be made when any other motion is on the floor, and yield to privileged, subsidiary, and incidental motions.

Subsidiary Motions: Their purpose is to change or affect how a main motion is handled, and is voted on before a main motion.

Privileged Motions: Their purpose is to bring up items that are urgent about special or important matters unrelated to pending business.

Incidental Motions: Their purpose is to provide a means of questioning procedure concerning other motions and must be considered before the other motion.

How are Motions Presented / Obtaining the Floor?

Wait until the last speaker has finished.

Rise and address the Chairman by saying, “Mr. Chairman, or Mr. President.”

Wait until the Chairman recognizes you.

Make Your Motion

Avoid personalities and stay on your subject.

Wait for Someone to Second Your Motion

Another member will second your motion or the Chairman will call for a second.

If there is no second to your motion it is lost.

The Chairman States Your Motion
The Chairman will say, “it has been moved and seconded that we …” Thus placing your motion before the membership for consideration and action.

The membership then either debates your motion, or may move directly to a vote.

Once your motion is presented to the membership by the chairman it becomes “assembly property”, and cannot be changed by you without the consent of the members.

Voting on a Motion:

The method of vote on any motion depends on the situation and the by-laws of policy of your organization. There are five methods used to vote by most organizations, they are:

By Voice — The Chairman asks those in favor to say, “aye”, those opposed to say “no”. Any member may move for a exact count.

By Roll Call — Each member answers “yes” or “no” as his name is called. This method is used when a record of each person’s vote is required.

By General Consent — When a motion is not likely to be opposed, the Chairman says, “if there is no objection …” The membership shows agreement by their silence, however if one member says, “I object,” the item must be put to a vote.

By Division — This is a slight verification of a voice vote. It does not require a count unless the chairman so desires. Members raise their hands or stand.

By Ballot — Members write their vote on a slip of paper, this method is used when secrecy is desired.

The Rules

Point of Privilege: Pertains to noise, personal comfort, etc. – may interrupt only if necessary!

Orders of the Day (Agenda): A call to adhere to the agenda (a deviation from the agenda requires Suspending the Rules)

Main Motion: Brings new business (the next item on the agenda)

Amend: Inserting or striking out words or paragraphs, or substituting whole paragraphs or resolutions

Commit /Refer/Recommit to Committee: State the committee to receive the question or resolution; if no committee exists include size of committee desired and method of selecting the members (election or appointment).

Extend Debate: Applies only to the immediately pending question; extends until a certain time or for a certain period of time

Limit Debate: Closing debate at a certain time, or limiting to a certain period of time

Postpone to a Certain Time: State the time the motion or agenda item will be resumed

Object to Consideration: Objection must be stated before discussion or another motion is stated

Lay on the Table: Temporarily suspends further consideration/action on pending question; may be made after motion to close debate has carried or is pending

Take from the Table: Resumes consideration of item previously “laid on the table” – state the motion to take from the table

Reconsider: Can be made only by one on the prevailing side who has changed position or view

Postpone Indefinitely: Kills the question/resolution for this session – exception: the motion to reconsider can be made this session

Previous Question: Closes debate if successful – may be moved to “Close Debate” if preferred

Informal Consideration: Move that the assembly go into “Committee of the Whole” – informal debate as if in committee; this committee may limit number or length of speeches or close debate by other means by a 2/3 vote. All votes, however, are formal.

Appeal Decision of the Chair: Appeal for the assembly to decide – must be made before other business is resumed; NOT debatable if relates to decorum, violation of rules or order of business

Suspend the Rules: Allows a violation of the assembly’s own rules (except Constitution); the object of the suspension must be specified