by Allen J. Sheinman | November 12, 2010

The following rules are examples taken verbatim from the classic of parliamentary procedure, Robert's Rules of Order, originally written by Gen. Henry M. Robert (1837-1923) and first published in 1876. The exclamation marks are the author's, and remember: "Silence means consent!"

1. Obtain the floor (the right to speak) by being the first to stand when the person speaking has finished...Raising your hand means nothing, and standing while another has the floor is out of order! Must be recognized by the Chair before speaking!
2. Debate can not begin until the Chair has stated the motion or resolution and asked, "Are you ready for the question?" If no one rises, the chair calls for the vote!
3. No member can speak twice to the same issue until everyone else wishing to do so has spoken to it once!
4. All remarks must be directed to the Chair. Remarks must be courteous in language and deportment -- avoid all personalities, never allude to others by name or to motives!
5. The agenda and all committee reports are merely recommendations! When presented to the assembly and the question is stated, debate begins and changes occur!

Source: Robert's Rules of Order, revised edition of 1915;