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The board of directors runs the company through making decisions or establishing policies. In most companies the board is required to be able to vote on any decisions. To ensure a successful decision-making process, your board must have clearly defined meeting rules and guidelines that all members follow.

The rules for meeting that most boards follow are based off Robert’s Rules of Order, an English rules book for parliamentary meetings written by American General Henry M. Robert in 1876 to avoid meetings turning into chaos. While implementing Robert’s Rules of Order may not be necessary for every board, the application of formal guidelines can help create a structure that allows for the fairness of debates in a digital or hybrid meeting where directors might be lost in the shuffle of faces displayed on the computer screen.

This includes ensuring the agenda is concise and clear. To do this, well-written boards documents must be prepared and distributed prior the meeting to ensure directors are prepared to discuss. It is essential to limit time spent on routine questions and reports, as they can delay an entire meeting.

Other rules for meetings include restricting the number of times someone can speak on any given motion (two minutes) and making sure that all speakers remain relevant to the topic at hand. Motions that are causing tension or a heated debate may be ended by an overwhelmingly voted vote. To avoid being a waste of time, it is crucial that everyone respects one another and does not impede motives of the other members or uses derogatory language.

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