While most people see conventions as fun meetings to plan for a group’s ongoing work, there are many unseen details that can elevate conventions to events for networking, celebrating, and inspiring members.  A professional parliamentarian can be invaluable in keeping business running smoothly.


Presenters Carlton Lyles and Deborah Davis outlined the various aspects of convention planning and execution, paying special attention to the parliamentarian’s role as described in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, chapters nineteen and twenty.  Many hands make light work; coordination and planning of an entire convention by the current Board of Directors is essential.


There are some essential committees for all conventions.  The first is the Credential Committee that certifies the persons listed as officers, delegates, and alternates that have been registered.  The Committee on Standing Rules drafts all the rules for the particular convention, varying from “all members wear name badges” to “persons may speak on a subject twice for two minutes.”  The Program Committee works out the convention program for a suitable order of business and all other activities that will happen.


The first three committees suggest the opening order of business, casually known as CRAP that have to be accomplished in the convention’s beginning.  The credential report is first approved that officially seats all the delegates.  The Rules are formally adopted.  Finally the Program in its entirety is adopted. After the opening formalities observed by most organizations take place and the CRAP is handled, business begins.


Two other essential committees are the Convention Arrangements Committee and the Resolutions Committee.  Obviously, lots of coordination is necessary to make the entire event, from the tap of the opening gavel to the tap of the closing, run smoothly and efficiently.  While the parliamentarian is primarily concerned with the business meeting she/he may have important duties with the Credentialing, Standing Rules, and Resolutions Committees.


Following the formal presentation and a definitions-related-to-conventions quiz, members discussed other issues related to holding conventions.  On-line meetings in which delegates have simultaneous aural communication, the challenge of locating affordable venues, and the on-going need to encourage full attendance of potential delegates were noted.


Come and join our conversations about all things parliamentary and more.  Guests are always welcome at our third Tuesday of the month meetings held from September through May.  We meet at 9:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1669 West Maple. in Birmingham, Michigan and our meeting that ends at noon begins with the parliamentary lesson.