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Robert's Rules of Order Video blog

ROBERT'S RULES REVEALED: EP #02 – What to do When the Chair is Being Unfair

Monday, July 16, 2012 - Susan Leahy


Hi I’m Susan Leahy from www.RobertsRulesMadeSimple.com, and welcome to this episode of Roberts Rules Revealed. To be sure you don’t miss a single episode. Subscribe to our YouTube channel now. Today, we’re going to be talking to Ann McFarlane from Jurassic Parliament, and her and I are going to be shedding light on some very interesting customer questions.

SUSAN: Okay so today's question is, what do I do when I am dealing with an Chair that is being unfair? This happens in meetings all across the country on a daily basis and Ann I would love to get your perspective on how you council your clients about dealing with an unfair chair, what do you say?

ANN: Well there are several different aspects to this Susan but the first and most immediate thing is the Chair must realize that he or she is not the boss of the meeting but rather the servant of the group. So its very important that the chair should be fair and the members have the right to bring that to his or her attention if necessary.

Susan: Yeah, very important and that’s hard to do sometimes to bring that attention to the chair but it is such an important thing to remind the chairs that they are the servant of the group, I appreciate that. And what else do you do when you’re dealing with an unfair chair?

ANN: Well a method you can use when you’re actually in a meeting is, when it goes on is simply say “point of order,” is a claim that a mistake has been made. And when you say that the chair has to listen to you.

SUSAN: The chair has to listen to you! And this is what I love about Robert’s its not about being passive its not about the people in the assembly just sitting back and letting the meeting happen to them. They are an active and intricate part so if something is happening that is not proper they can stand up and say things like “point of order” and be immediately recognized, so that they can be heard and get the meeting back on track and moving forward. Really great point,

ANN: And well, I encourage people to use that third person you know not to say “you’re not being fair” but to say “the chair has not allowed this member to speak, and I have something to say.”

SUSAN: And I think that beyond the point of order, I think also when I’m in a meeting and I find the chair is being unfair, I kind of let it be a red flag that the chair may be lacking some type of experience and perhaps they are over compensating, you know maybe they are becoming the big bully because they themselves may be feeling uncomfortable. So I would encourage if you feel like your chair is being unfair at first, instead of getting mad at them start doing some investigation to see if your chair needs some training and some additional support to see if they could use help running the meetings well.

ANN: I think that’s very important Susan, there are many different ways that one can tackle these types of problems but obviously being as supporting and kind as one can be is very helpful.

SUSAN: And I think that that’s a big thing you don’t want your meetings to be adversarial, your chair is not against you. Don’t you think that sometimes that energy gets created in meetings where it’s the chair against everyone else?

ANN:
Sure, it starts to feel very personal, and you want to avoid that.

SUSAN: Absolutely you want to avoid that, so if you feel like your chair is being unfair, utilize tools like; point of order that’s inside Robert’s or maybe think about going down the avenue of getting some training because, you are going to run in to some unfair chairs in your life. But the goal is to figure out how to work with them, and how to get them to work with you so that you can have more productive meetings. Thanks so much Ann.
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