Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Will Your Next Meeting Be a Great Meeting?

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Will Your Next Meeting Be a Great Meeting?

Article excerpt

The following is a preview of one of the topics to be covered during Leadership Training Institute seminars at the Congress of Cities in Charlotte, N.C. "Leading a Great Meeting with Effective Parliamentary Procedure" will take place on Wednesday, December 7.

People join groups--whether by running for election or paying dues--because they want to make a difference in society.

The type of difference an organization seeks to make is found in its mission statement. Although meetings have come under substantial ridicule and disdain in the past decade due to a perception that they are ineffective or inefficient, the fact remains that decisions must be made as to how the group, committee, council or board will work to achieve its mission. Those decisions are best made when people are in the same location, communicating with each other using multiple types of sensory information.

To put it simply, people communicate best when they are in the same room: looking at each other, listening to each other, focusing on the same visual information and using their instincts to see how their messages are being received. People can share information with their computers, but they share ideas with their eyes.

People need to leave a meeting knowing that they were a part of a logical and fair decision-making process that moved the group toward fulfillment of its mission.

Some of the rules governing such a process are so simple that they don't require anything more than common sense: make sure everyone has a chance to speak. Make sure everyone's opinion is met with an atmosphere of respect for their right to hold and promote that opinion. Make sure that meeting participants are all focused on the same decision, and that they are not confused about which issue is being decided.

The most commonly-used procedural guide is a book that has become the standard for the conduct of meetings: Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, (RONR), now in its 10th edition. …

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