By Frank Correa, Area 55 Director, NE Toastmasters Treasurer
This past Saturday, Kay Crews, CPP-T-PRP delivered an incredible workshop entitled Making Bad Meetings Better. She hit it out of the park. Over 45 attendees participated, not only from Texas, but California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Toastmasters isn’t limited to delivering speeches, table topics and evaluations, it also involves conducting meetings. The phrase “Where Leaders are Born” includes having orderly Toastmasters meetings.
Meetings are often the first exposure people have to parliamentary procedure. An organized and structured Toastmaster meeting exhibits the quality and professionalism of a club. An agenda is of the utmost importance. It provides an outline of what is expected, what the meeting will cover.
Rules – What are the rules?
Meetings need to follow a hierarchy of laws and rules: Federal and State, Charter/Articles of Incorporation, Constitution and Bylaws, and Rules of Order i.e., Roberts Rule of Order.
Often, when making club decisions, meetings can become very chaotic. Everyone talks at once, trying to sway others to a different point of view. A basic knowledge of parliamentary procedure can make the group decision process more orderly and make the meeting run smoother. Benefits of the use of proper parliamentary procedure include the ability to focus on one item at a time, decisions that recognize the majority while protecting the rights of the minority, equal opportunity for input among participants, and faster, more efficient meetings.
Kay’s workshop took me back to my high school years when I was a member of Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) and competed in Parliamentary Procedures at the National Level. That experience has helped me in the different Boards on which I serve.
The workshop provided great observations and tips, including a Cheat Sheet to help with meetings. Knowing how to conduct a meeting and being familiar with the rules and procedures accounts for effective leadership and guidance.
Thank you, Kay Crews, for reminding me why Parliamentary Procedures are so vital to Toastmasters and our community.