How Parliamentary Procedure Can Benefit Your Meetings

Posted on April 28th, 2014 in Uncategorized by Jan Bilgen



Ever feel like your meetings can drag on and on? Does it seem as if people interrupt each other in an untimely fashion? Is there that one member that raises the same point as if they were trying to extend the meeting time into the next day?

If only there were a way to solve these problems, increase meeting efficiency, and frankly, get stuff done. Well there is! Thanks to Robert and his Rules of Order, there is a specific guide to making your meetings more official and less confusing.

“The purpose of parliamentary procedure is to make it easier for people to work together effectively and to help groups accomplish their purposes. Rules of procedure should assist a meeting, not inhibit it.”

I know I used to dread the phrase “parliamentary procedure.” It seemed so archaic, outdated, and simply put—not for me. After a year running an organization such as student government; however, my tune has changed and I’ve become one of the biggest advocates of how empowering the members of any organization with helpful parliamentary procedure will increase efficiency as well as save the organization’s members time to actually finish their homework and have a social life while they’re at it.


Reasons Why and How Parliamentary Procedure Rocks

         Everyone is allowed to state their opinion…in a timely, organized, and respectful fashion

  • One of the best parts of Robert’s Rules is that it ensures the opportunity for everyone who wants to speak on the topic at hand the chance to. By having the Chair of the meeting have to recognize the person speaking, it insures that no one interrupted, and if it does happen, gives a formal process to stop the person who is being disrespectful and giving the floor back to the initial person.


–         It’s easier for the secretary to document the minutes

  • By having a formal structure of how the meeting is run, the secretary will already have an idea or outline of how the meeting will go, making it easier for them to be able to accurately record what happens for future record.


–         There’s less confusion

  • I mean this in a multitude of ways. There is more consistency from meeting to meeting as well as a set way for the new Chair to run the meeting when they come into office. Because parliamentary procedure is nothing new, it’s easy for anyone to pick up a book at the library on it and be able to be as versed as the Chair in a matter of months.


–         Provides a specific way to deal with complaints

  • If a decision is made by the Chair, there is also a formal way for the aggrieved member to voice their compliant there and then. Nearly any issue that occurs during a meeting can be resolved via parliamentary procedure. This prevents petty argumentation that can occur when meetings stretch on for hours




If you have any other questions about parliamentary procedure, feel free to reach out to

Below are some helpful links to parli pro tips:




6 Ways to Be an Inclusive Leader!

Posted on April 23rd, 2014 in Tips and Secrets by Jan Bilgen

6 Ways to Be an Inclusive Leader


Being an Inclusive Leader means creating an environment where everyone feels like they are included, particularly regarding the programs and activities your organization plans. This can be done in many ways. You can have committees for events and include people in important decisions. Doing this, you will give the members of your organization a sense of belonging and have them feel like they are needed.

I see many organizations that just have their E-Board and they are the ones who make all of the decisions. By including your members they will begin to have stronger ties to the organization and it will give them some leadership within the organization.

Here are 4 additional ways to be an Inclusive Leader:

  1. Set the Tone of Your Organization! It all begins and ends with you being the inclusive leader. If you are willing to include others in what you are doing and are asking for others input it will set the tone for the rest of the members of your organization to include others as well. Having an inclusive attitude is all about being non-judgmental, being open, and willing to help others grow.
  2. Understand diversity and include EVERYONE. Many organizations allow anyone to join no matter their race, background, so that means that in order to become an inclusive leader you need to be willing to work with diversity. Everyone is different and being able to include various types of members is a key aspect.
  3. Incorporating Other’s Ideas. Give your members a voice.  When you include your members you are not only including them as a person, but you are including their ideas. Listening to others is a big point when being an inclusive leader.  You can simply do this by having discussion when voting on a subject. Letting your members know they have a voice in the organization will move towards feeling included.
  4. Talk to Everyone.  When addressing the group talk to everyone, not just your “favorites.” There is nothing worse than being in an organization and feeling like there is already a clique and that they get more attention or have more input than you do. Try to make everyone feel like they are your number one and give everyone eye contact not just a certain few.

What ways have you been an Inclusive Leader within your organization?  Spend a couple of minutes reflecting on ways you have been successful at being an inclusive leader and ways that you can grow in this area. Make some specific goals!



Leadership Transition

Posted on April 22nd, 2014 in Uncategorized by Jan Bilgen

It’s about that time of year again where either your organization has elected their new executive board, or you’re preparing for the upcoming Fall semester with a new fresh set of faces who have joined within the past semester. This is the perfect time to reflect not only on the success of the last year, but also to critically evaluate ways in which your organization can better serve its members and the campus as a whole. This column will cover helpful ways to insure a successful leadership transition, tips for finishing the year strong, and preparing for the year to come! At the end there will also be a selection of helpful links that will surely provide you a personalized plan to success for your own organization.


Leadership Transition

  • Documentation– If the previous officer hasn’t done so already, set some time aside to sit down and write out important things they’ve done in their current position. This includes everything from how they planned a stellar fundraiser to how they handled e-mailing their weekly agendas to their organization. These are the types of tips that will ensure the person entering the position in the Fall will be able to hit the ground running by having been properly informed of what’s expected outside of what your Constitution states.


  • Knowledge Transfer Sessions– Besides creating a handy dandy binder that the new executive board member can refer to, a great way to foster a sense of respect and create an energy of excitement for the next year is to have one-on-one sessions where the past and new position discuss the ups and downs of what it is to be that specific position. These kind of casual settings can also allow brainstorming on what can be done with the position that has never been accomplished in the past. This is the perfect environment to inform the newly elected officer of the obligations they have to do even before starting their role, such as meeting with your organization’s advisor to ensure there is a cohesive vision for your organization outside of the mission statement that your organization believes in.


Tips for Finishing the Year Strong (in your org)

  • Re-evaluate your initial goals– One of the most critical things any person in an organization can do is to look back at the goals that were set in the beginning of the year. This is especially imperative to the executive board members due to the fact that they are the elected leaders of the organization. An important question to ask yourself is if you have successfully achieved all of the goals your organization set out to accomplish. If not—why was that the case? There may still be time to help your organization reach goals that have previously fallen by the wayside. Even if you have accomplish all of your main goals, you can still push your organization and its members to continue to push beyond the initial goals you set by picking up additional community service projects to do together that will have a positive impact on your organization as well as the rest of campus.



  • Leave Things Better Than You Found Them–  All too often the end of the year leaves people eager to finish the year and start their summer without always taking the time put things back in order as well as finding a way to leave the organization in a better condition than you entered it in. This can be done in a multitude of ways—some more abstract than others. A great place to start with leaving an organization better than you found it is to think of an essential struggle that you faced when first entering the organization. This can be anything from, “Wow, it was really hard to understand how to behave and what to do during meetings,” to “I never knew how to submit my community service hours.” If you can make a guide or pamphlets on pointers to alleviate the confusion that exists with whatever specific problem it may be.

Preparing for the Year to Come                                                                                               

A lot of this advice is aimed towards the newly elected officers:

  • New Executive Board Retreat– A fantastic way to get the new executive board on the same page is to have a retreat to get to know one another better, as well as to review the history of your organization, your mission statement, as well as what it means to your current executive board personally. Each person was elected for a reason based on their own personal vision for their position in the organization. The most critical goal for the new president of the organization is to figure out how everyone’s unique vision can come together to produce a united team that will work together harmoniously. A retreat setting is a perfect time to get together to see how individuals interact together as well as getting time to see where they are with their own goals.


  • Set Your Goals-As mentioned above, goal setting is crucial, and chances are each member has a large list of goals they want to achieve within the upcoming year. It’s important for the executive board to collaboratively understand each other’s goals as well as setting overarching goals that each member will assist in accomplishing. These goals can be made at the suggested Retreat. These goals should be written down and documented as well as having an initial approximation as to how the goal will be accomplished, and the expected result if all goes well. This activity will also create a more realistic vision of how your executive board will function together and will assisting in uniting different perspectives.



  • Figure Out How-To Create Buy-in– Once you have your executive board united, they must work to ensure the buy-in of the rest of the organization. There is an unending amount of importance on an executive board to not separate itself from the rest of the organization if a goal of the executive board is to foster a sense of community. A larger scale retreat geared towards the rest of the organization explaining the goals of the executive board after the organization creates its own personal goals are fantastic ways in which to get everyone on the same page, ensuring a cohesive organization.


  • Plan Your Events In Advance– Events are one of the best bonding and fun ways to engage your members. However, something that often prevents maximum attendance is poor notice as to when the event will be happening. By planning your event in advance, (hint: now is the perfect time!) you ensure enough time for your public relations director to be able to publicize the event as well as getting an approximate idea of how many members will be able to attend. By planning now, you also ensure you’ll have a space to have your event in by contacting room reservations.


I hope all these tip help, and feel free to visit any of the information in the links below for more assistance.



Student Involvement Office
UC 146
Facebook & Twitter: Uww Involvement

SEAL (Student Entertainment Awareness League)
UC 146

UC 253

-Policy Information