Finding the Right Robert’s Rules of Order

Jim Slaughter

Jim Slaughter

At several recent association meetings I’ve seen members using the wrong Robert’s Rules of Order (that is, books that look like Robert’s, but aren’t).  Does which version of Robert’s Rules is used make a difference?  Absolutely!   Many organizations dictate in their governing documents that a particular parliamentary book will be followed when transacting business. State statutes often require corporations, nonprofits, or government bodies to follow specific rules or even Robert’s Rules.  For instance, both the N.C. Planned Community Act and the N.C. Condominium Act provide that community association membership and board meetings must be conducted according to “the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.”  While there are lots of books with “Robert’s Rules” in the title, most are earlier editions of Robert’s Rules or knock-offs.  There’s only one official, current Robert’s—Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), published in 2011.  Each new edition brings updates to procedure; the 11th Edition has 120.

Recommended Guides to Robert’s Rules of Order

While some readers find the current manual (at 716 pages) too daunting and complex, there are excellent guides to Robert’s.  As the author of two of them, I’m partial to these:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Parliamentary Procedure Fast-Track

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Parliamentary Procedure Fast-Track is short, to-the-point, and focused on smaller meetings, such as association boards and committees.  The guide provides details on the most used Roberts Rules of Order motions, appropriate informal procedures for smaller boards, general advice for shortening meetings, a primer on voting, strategies for setting and sticking to an agenda, and efficiently recording meeting minutes.  One chapter may be of special interest—dealing with problem members!

Notes and Comments on ‘Robert’s Rules,’ Fourth Edition

Notes and Comments on ‘Robert’s Rules,’ Fourth Edition is a user’s guide to the new Robert’s and is designed for more procedurally complicated meetings, such as annual or special membership meetings.  Notes and Comments is designed to make Robert’s accessible and uses a question-and-answer format to cover the most misused and asked-about provisions.  Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association, describes the book at “crisply organized, accessible to the novice, and invaluable to the practiced.”

In case these books interest you, here are handy links to Amazon.  If you find the books useful, please post your thoughts or give feedback through stars.  Online reviews are the primary way people find out about books these days.

Visit www.jimslaughter.com for free printable Robert’s Rules charts, and articles on parliamentary procedure and Roberts Rules of Order basics.  Or visit Roberts Rules of Order PDF for a downloadable chart.