Make meetings run smoothly
October 18 – Anyone who has ever attended a city council meeting, a planning commission session, or an elders gathering at the church has probably watched Robert’s rules of procedure unfold, so be it. conscious or not.
They probably don’t know that McKenzie “Ken” Roberts, the designer of the code, is from Tennessee. On Monday, the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce hosted Roberts, who explained how its rules work and why they are essential to the smooth running of the meeting. Many practices, like motions and points of order, come straight out of Roberts’ playbook.
After the session, Reverend Dr. Kenny Silva of Hickory Grove Presbyterian Church commented that the toolkit is very useful within the church.
“They give language and concepts to the things we do naturally,” Silva said. “They give us a framework to guarantee the rights of a minority and the majority in an assembly.”
For his naming, Silva mentioned how crucial a harmonious reunion could be.
“We Presbyterians are really in order,” Silva said. “Our council of elders that we call into session. I serve as the session moderator. I am the chair. and points of order and all that kind of stuff, but it works best in our framework organically to get things done.”
Each year a gathering of Presbyterian Church leaders from across the country is facilitated by Robert’s Rules of Order.
“Our highest level is called the general assembly,” Silva said. “At our last AGM we had 2,500 people. The moderator was using Robert’s Rules of Procedure…so that everything keeps moving. It sounds obscure and corny, but it’s truly a breathtaking thing When you use these things well, you can run a meeting of 2,500 people where everyone feels like they’ve been heard and the minority doesn’t feel stepped on.This stuff is vital in my world.
During his presentation, Roberts explained how much logic played into this decision making.
“As long as you understand what’s going on, it should make sense,” Roberts said.
Various fundamental principles are at stake, such as the fact that only one issue is considered at a time, and the majority should govern as long as it is not at the expense of the minority.
Roberts insisted that the responsibilities of the president of an organization are crucial to the speed of the meeting.
“The president’s primary responsibility is to maintain order and expedite the purpose of the meeting,” Roberts said.
Throughout his presentation, Roberts repeatedly deployed a chandelier analogy about a group deciding to buy a chandelier, what kind of chandelier it should be, and whether it should come with ” diamond doohickies”.
When asked at the end of the session why he was using the chandelier analogy, Roberts shared a joke about an off-the-beaten-path church deep in the woods.
At a deacon meeting, a man asked the church to spend their money on a new chandelier for the sanctuary, Roberts said.
A man opposed to the idea stood up and presented three reasons why the church shouldn’t spend money on a chandelier.
First, no one would know how to spell it. Second, no one would know how to play it. Third, what we need in this church is more light.