A Warmer Friendlier Parliamentary Process

Last night’s business session (for which I was the chair) presented the club with a warmer more accessible parliamentary process.

In several cases members asked questions in a form that was questionable at best and incorrect in fact. So why did I allow them to proceed?

It’s because their inquiries, although not correct in form, were quite correct in function.

We have, IMHO, become overly pedantic and dogmatic in our business sessions. This defeats the point of using parliamentary procedures which is supposed to ease the passing of business and not obstruct it.

In both cases the members, who were both fairly new Toastmasters, rose to points of parliamentary inquiry. Both were asking the chair to tell them: “What’s happening right now?”

To be correct, they should have risen (although rising is not absolutely necessary if for some reason the member is unable and raising a hand is permissible but just not as effective at getting the attention of the chair and said “Mr./Madame Chair I rise to a point of parliamentary inquiry”. Only if necessary can they interrupt a speaker who has the floor and no seconder is required and there is no debate (unless the inquiry ends up in a new motion being brought forward and then that motion is debatable).

Every member at anytime during a business session is free to ask “what’s happening” and that’s the important issue not the form in which the question is asked.

We can fix the form at another time. What’s more important right now is to encourage and not frustrate members from participating in their own business sessions.

To learn more, come to the Parliamentary Procedure Workshop tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 4) at the Quality Inn on Bronte Road from 9am to 11:30 pm.

I promise you a warmer friendlier workshop on our parliamentary process.

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