In-Person: If, When, How?

Having made heroic efforts to master new technology quickly under pandemic-induced duress, many organizations are weighing a return from electronic to in-person meetings. And many are asking their parliamentarians for help and guidance.

This article is aimed at those parliamentarians, not at the organizations themselves. So let’s first review – what do parliamentarians mean when we talk about meetings?

For the purposes of this article, meetings are what RONR1 terms deliberative assemblies. Organizational meetings, committee meetings, conventions, etc., are deliberative assemblies; classes, staff meetings, and social gatherings generally aren’t. (See RONR 12th ed. 1:1 for more.)2

During the pandemic emergency, electronic tools provided a lifeline: without them, those organizations would not have been able to meet at all.

Participants experienced frustration as they learned the technology, but something funny happened on the way to the home office: some organizations enjoyed increases in participation and attendance. Travel costs decreased, travel time was eliminated, and a, shall we say, less casual dress code prevailed. (Feel free to pause here for your own humorous recollection.)

Continue reading “In-Person: If, When, How?”


  1. “RONR” is shorthand for Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th ed., currently the world’s predominant parliamentary authority–commonly called “Robert’s Rules of Order.”
  2. It’s possible that some of these remarks will pertain to other kinds of meetings as well, but I make no such promises.

And Now, Three Letters

I received notice recently that I had successfully completed the Professional Qualifying Course (PQC) for the Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP) credential.

Parliamentarians are hardly top-of-mind for most people, although legislative parliamentary rulings make news occasionally. (Google “Senate Parliamentarian” if you like.) I became a Registered Parliamentarian (RP) early in 2020, and I wrote about that at the time.

The new designation involves three letters instead of two. It includes the word “professional,” and there’s a bit of irony there, since unlike most people who pursue this credential, I don’t plan to begin a practice as a professional parliamentarian. (I’ve had two great careers already; I don’t plan to start a new one.) Earning my PRP was an opportunity to test the level of my knowledge and skill against the yardstick of people I work with and admire, and I’m glad to join them.

I have a page on the overall topic at

Thanks go out to my study group colleagues (you know who you are); to our friend and mentor, Patricia Koch; and to Jim Connors, who helped me and others in OEA qualify for NAP membership several years ago.

And on a bittersweet note, let me express much respect and affection to my late friend, the parliamentarians’ parliamentarian Jim Williams, who encouraged me to pursue this goal back when I would have been happy to stay an RP.

Zoom to Success

Recently I had the honor of presenting a parliamentary workshop for the Miami Valley and Queen City Units of the National Association of Parliamentarians. The topic was Zoom for Parliamentarians. I’ve done parliamentary workshops about Zoom, but this one had a different focus.

Zoom has become an important tool for parliamentarians; even if you know your parliamentary procedure, if you’re bumbling around with your Zoom, people might infer that you don’t know your parliamentary procedure either. Parliamentarians are expected to project a certain authority, and if we don’t know how to use Zoom confidently and comfortably, it compromises that authority.

So this program was more about mastering Zoom than about parliamentary procedure. Some of it may be helpful even for Zooming civilians who never lift a gavel, advise a presider, or render a parliamentary opinion.

Those interested in seeing the presentation can contact me for a link. And if you’d rather read than watch, in October I offered some resources in a post I called “Okay, Zoomer.”

Comments always welcome.