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Robert's Rules of Order Video blog

ROBERT'S RULES REVEALED: EP #06 – How to Use “Point of Order”

Monday, September 17, 2012 - Susan Leahy

Hi, Susan Leahy here from Welcome to another episode of Robert’s Rules Revealed. Today we’re going to be talking to fellow parliamentarian, Lorenzo Cuesta as we answer key questions about Robert’s Rules of Order. Now before we start, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss a single episode.

SUSAN: All right so we are on the phone today with Lorenzo Cuesta from, and we are going to be talking about a really important tool that a lot of people don’t use properly in meetings, and that’s how to make a Point of Order. So we are going to talk to Lorenzo about how and when to make a Point of Order. So hi Lorenzo how are you doing?

LORENZO: Good evening, glad to be here.

SUSAN: We are glad you are here too. Lets talk a little bit about point of order because I think that sometimes we all have heard about point of order but people don’t exactly know how and when to make it.

LORENZO: Every member has the obligation of making sure that all the rules are followed. If a member believes that one or some rule is violated he has the obligation to speak up and making the motion by yelling, “point of order!”

SUSAN: And I like the word obligation, obligation. This isn’t about telling anyone they are wrong just making sure the rules are being followed. That fundamentally feels different to me and I’m glad you are bringing that up. So now, if I’m in a meeting and I see that something is going wrong or we are debating the wrong motion, I stand up and say “point of order,” how does the chair respond?

LORENZO: As soon as you yell out, “point of order” interrupting everyone and not allowing debate or amendment, the chair has the obligation of stopping everything and turning to you stating “please state your point,” then you get a chance to explain what you believe is violated. And he gets the chance to say to you, your point is well taken or not well taken and moves on ignoring your statement.

SUSAN: And I want to say that when you are saying “point of order” you are not attacking the chair this is not about you’re wrong this is about something in the process isn’t being followed. So I think the energy in which you are using point of order is so important because in meetings is that sense that the chair is on the same team as you. So when you call the Point of Order its not to make a personal attack its just to make sure the process is being followed.

LORENZO: Exactly, its even more than that, the chair should welcome anyone correcting what’s going on because after all you are all there protecting the rights of the members and to make sure the proper transaction of business occurs. The chair should be very gracious and accept corrections so we can move on.

SUSAN: These words you are using are giving us the chills, Lorenzo. Its that sense that they should welcome this interaction and that its okay its about the process. I really like that word, obligation, and its about the member making sure that process is being followed. Lorenzo thank you for shedding light on what I think can be a controversial emotion to make in the middle of a meeting and that is what is called, Point of Order. So thanks so much Lorenzo and I hope we’ll talk to you again soon. Bye now.
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