Susan Leahy

How to Use Point of Order Properly

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Point of order!

Have you ever been to a meeting where a board member yells out “point of order”? 

Have you ever wondered “are they using it correctly”? 

How do you use a point of order?

The purpose of this video is to support you and your board members in understanding how to use a point of order properly and what to avoid when it comes to making a point of order in your next meeting.

So first of all let's look at “what is a point of order”? 

The purpose of point of order is to call attention to some possible fault in parliamentary or other procedure that would violate some of your organization's rules.  

So let's give an example of when you might use a point of order: Let's say that there's a “previous question” on the floor, and the chair just held a vote on the previous question, and the chair announces that the previous question passes majority vote. This might be a red flag because according to Robert's Rules of Order, a previous question requires a two-thirds vote to pass, so this would be an opportunity for you as a board member to point out this possible fault in parliamentary procedure. 

So what do you do if you think some fault has occurred and you want to get the chair’s attention? 

You do not need to be recognized by the chair, you will just say out loud “point of order Madam Chair”.

The chair will look at you and ask you to “please state your point”. So in layperson’'s terms the chair is saying “what do you think I did incorrectly”? And you then share with the chair what you believe the procedural fault was. 

At this time the chair will either agree with your point and continue on with the meeting in the direction that the point of order was made, or the chair could disagree with your point and say “your point is not well taken”. 

So what is really going on with a point of order, is that you as a member are supporting the board chair and making sure that process and procedure is followed properly. You should only use point of order to point out a possible fault in procedure or process.

Unfortunately you may see board members using point of incorrectly. You might see them using it as a weapon. You might be seeing people use point of order to interrupt the meeting because they don't like something that's been done. You might see them use it because they want the floor or even just because they don't like the chair.

Remember these are all incorrect uses for point of order, and if you see a board member using point of order incorrectly it may indicate that your board has a training opportunity and that your board members do not understand the basics of Robert's Rules of Order.

Making sure that your board members all understand the fundamentals of Robert's Rules of Order will save your board time, energy and life.

Happy meetings!