Getting to Know Robert’s Rules

“Point of Order.” “Question.” “Objection.” “Consent.” These are things most Chapter Members will hear at least once during every Chapter meeting. Robert’s Rules has been guiding Phi Sigma Pi’s meetings for many years and has been around even longer than that. Robert’s Rules has a few key purposes that solidify its importance:

  • To ensure that all Members, regardless of position or tenure, have the same speaking and voting rights.
  • To help Chapter Meetings run more efficiently and effectively (notice how we didn’t say shorter).
  • To ensure that Chapter meetings are held in a professional business atmosphere.

Now, explaining all of Robert’s Rules would take a lot of blog space but here are a few key parts of Robert’s Rules:

“Point of information”
This is said when a Member needs information about a motion or something that is being said in Chapter. This cannot be used to discuss a motion’s shortcomings as that is part of debate. A person requesting information may interrupt the speaker, however, unless the question is of immediate importance it is best to wait and be acknowledged by the Chair.

“Point of clarification”
This is said when a person either wishes to answer a point of information on an order of business or has some additional information that they would like to clarify to assist in any confusion. As with the above this cannot be used to debate for or against a motion. Those wishing to give information should wait to be recognized by the chair, unless the information is of pressing importance to the assembly’s ability to understand the motion.

“Point of order”
This is said when a Member believes that another Member is going against the rules and the discussion needs to be brought back to the guidelines. This can interrupt the speaker.

“Point of personal privilege”
This is said when a Member needs something traditionally unrelated to an order of business. This can be something like “the temperature is too hot” to requesting the speaker be louder so those in the back can be heard. This motion is permitted to interrupt the speaker, as situations needing to be altered can impact the ability for the assembly to consider the motion.

For more information on Robert’s Rules, check out the Parliamentary Procedure Cheat Sheet, Parliamentary Procedure Quick Tips and the Special Motions resources in the Resource Center that you can print out and take with you to Chapter meetings. Also, watch this short video brought to you by Leadership in Action (maybe watch it as a Chapter)! You’ll be a Parli Pro expert in no time! If you have further questions, contact your Chapter Consultant.

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