We are often asked “Why should an organization employ a professional presider?”
We usually use an important quote from Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 11th Ed.
“The presiding officer of an assembly-especially a large one-should be chosen principally for the ability to preside. This person should be well versed in parliamentary law and should be thoroughly familiar with the bylaws and other rules of the organization-even if he or she is to have the assistance of a parliamentarian.” RONR 11th Ed. p. 449 l. 7-12
Our follow up question is then, “Is your president well versed in parliamentary law.?”
It is much easier for us to become familiar with your organization’s bylaws than it is for your president to become an expert in presiding and/or parliamentary law.
That is not to say that if you are charged with presiding over a large meeting or convention that you must employ a professional presider. Part of our services as parliamentarians when serving a convention is to train the presider in advance and make them look good during the convention or meeting. There are however a few major advantages to hiring a professional presider. They are:
- A professional presider allows the president of the organization to speak in debate and voice their opinion which may otherwise go unheard. It also allows the president to vote on all the issues and relaxes the expectation that the president will be impartial on issues.Often, the president of an organization is the most knowledgeable of the every day workings of the assembly and the logistics of the resolutions at hand.
- The professional presider expedites business and avoids errors that may be difficult to fix down the road. By expediting business, delegates or members may be more willing to attend and participate in meetings based on time requirements and an absolute knowledge that their voice will be heard as a representative of constituent units.
- As a professional presider, it is much easier for us to be impartial and thereby honor the minority positions and absentees. We have no stake in the outcome of a particular issue which often leads to a more open dialogue among members and in a heated situation better behavior by opposing sides simply because of the presence of the presider. Less heated exchanges, leads to at least the opportunity to compromise and thereby complete more business in the allotted time. Disputes that have been festering for years are often brought to resolution by the use of a professional presider and a credentialed parliamentarian.
The next common question is “Can you serve as both the parliamentarian and the presider?”
The answer to this one is definitely “Maybe”. It is difficult for us to preside and address parliamentary law issues at the same time. I highly recommend, hiring both a presider and a parliamentarian (or multiple parliamentarians) to accomplish a large, complex, or contested meetings or conventions. At The Parli Pros, we are used to working as a team in concert both philosophically and contextually. Our experiences together compliment each other and thereby put the best possible convention or meeting results as real possibilities.