Making Meetings Easy-Democratic Rules of Order

by: Sara on 05/14/2019

I feel safe in assuming that the majority of people reading this have attended a meeting or two in their lifetime, and will probably attend many more. Many of these meeting are conducted using Roberts Rules of Order as their guiding principles in conducting a democratic meeting. Robert's Rules were originally written as a parliamentary procedure guide in 1886, by an Army Officer, and have been adapted over the years for use in meetings of all sizes.

But weighing in at 816 pages they are a bit of a slog, and a lot to ask volunteer meeting goers to read...and understand. This is where Democratic Rules of Order: Easy-to-Use Rules for Meetings of Any Size, by Peg and Fred Francis comes in. Now in its 10th edition, having sold over 20000 copies, it is only 104 pages, can be read in under an hour and lays out clear, concise, easy-to-use rules for governing meetings from clubs and non profits to formal meeting. Below is a post from Joyce McMenamon, daughter to authors Peg and Fred Francis.

Such a need! With over 50 million meetings a day in the USA alone, making decisions together efficiently and harmoniously is an urgent requirement. Using Democratic Rules of Order optimizes meeting productivity.


The writing of these new rules of order for running meetings has been momentous for the authors. From the time that they became aware of a need for easy meeting rules, they worked tirelessly to get it right.  Now polished and spiffed up by New Society Publishers, the book enables the running of meetings to be more straightforward than ever.

Author Peg Francis, my Mum, tells the story of one of the triggers for the need for this book. Mum and Dad were attending a condominium council meeting for my Grandma and saw that many members were intimidated by one member whose husband was a burly sheriff. No one seemed to understand meeting rules so whatever this woman wanted, the others would concede to because they didn’t know how to object. After a particularly bad meeting, my Mum said to my Dad, “Fred, we need better meeting rules”. They searched for something that all members could read and understand but came up empty handed. So again Mum said to Dad, “Fred, we need to write some straightforward meeting rules.”  That was in 1993 and thus began the journey that they agreed “was a very satisfying project” as they “saw the urgent need for more justice and stronger democracies in our world”.

On behalf of the family of the authors of Democratic Rules of Order, we are thrilled to see the publication of this 10th edition by New Society Publishers!

Joyce McMenamon



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