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A few terms that may be useful to someone planning to chair a meeting or event:

1. Documents of Authority. Know your documents of authority. Except for the most basic of organizations, there are various documents that establish the rules for how your organization should operate. They include such things as bylaws, standing rules and your adopted parliamentary authority as established by your organization (to also include any special rules the organization may have adopted).


2. Parliamentary Authority. An organization's bylaws often designate which parliamentary authority will govern its activities. In most cases there is a reference to Robert's Rules of Order. Many don't know what that really means. Any reference to Robert's Rules is in fact to Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised (11th Edition, 2011, Perseus Press). Any presiding officer would be well advised to obtain a copy to be ready for any issue that may arise. Some of the other parliamentary authorities include The Standard Code, Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure, Cannon's Concise Guide to Rules of Order, and Riddick's Rules of Procedure.


3. Agendas. Build confidence with preparation and an agenda. Time spent anticipating questions and situations that might arise will help ensure your meeting runs smoothly. Agendas once adopted at the beginning of a meeting will give structure and help keep business on track and within any time constraints.

4. Scripts. Consider developing a script to provide guidance to a presiding officer while conducting a meeting. As in the case of attorneys, it is the preparation prior to an event where the real work is often done.

5. Parliamentarian. Know the value of a good parliamentarian. Few things can be more stressful for presiding officers than to be in front of a group of people and be asked questions or find themselves in situations in which they not prepared to effectively respond.

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