[council] Protocol for participation in teleconferences

Bruce Tonkin Bruce.Tonkin at melbourneit.com.au
Thu Jun 16 04:43:07 UTC 2005

While I was searching through the archives regarding the guidelines for
the original WHOIS task forces, I also found this item, which may assist
new members of the Council or task forces:


This protocol of course can be subject to improvement - suggestions for
improvement always welcome.

Bruce Tonkin

[council] Protocol for participation in Council calls

Hello All,

Given we have some new council members, and some new participants from
the ICANN staff and GAC, I would like to state some of the "unwritten"
protocol rules that have been built up over time on the GNSO Council
that make it easy to participate on a call with a large number of

My basic approach to a call is for each agenda item:
- introduce the agenda item
- provide some brief background to the issue, or ask a person to present
a report or motion
- form a queue of speakers to talk on agenda item

If you wish to comment on a topic, please say:

"It's <your name>.  Please add me to the queue." 

I will normally collect a list of names for the queue and announce the
queue order.  E.g " I have Ken Stubbs, Marilyn Cade, and Jordyn in the
queue - anyone else like to join?".

This helps you know when it is your turn to speak.  

It is often polite for frequent speakers, to allow less frequent
speakers to speak first. 

"It's <your name>.  Please put me at the end of the queue, as I would
like to hear the views of the other speakers first".

Please don't assume that I or other participants can determine who you
are based on the sound of your voice.  This may work for calls with a
small amount of people that know each other well, but it does not scale
to calls involving a wide range of people that often sound similar based
on their particular regional "version" of English :-) Ie don't just say
"Add ME to the queue", as often it is hard to hear who "me" is.

If you wish to comment immediately on a statement made by a speaker
while a queue is in place please say:

"Its <your name>, may I comment?"  or "<your name>.  May I respond?"

At this point I will either say "Yes, go ahead <name>." or "I will add
you to the queue, after  <name of another council member>".   

I am more likely to give the option to speak immediately to those that
are infrequent speakers.

If you are expecting to give a long response to an individual's
statement, I would prefer that you join the queue rather than
immediately respond, to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance to
speak, and we don't end up forming a back-and-forth dialog between two
individuals on the call.

Please do not just jump in and speak.  This means that some that have
been waiting patiently to speak don't get a chance, and it is also hard
to determine who you are purely on the basis of your voice (particularly
if you do not speak regularly).

This may sound cumbersome, but it is surprisingly efficient and ensures
that at any point in time the council knows who is speaking and who gets
to speak next.

It is also a standing unwritten rule that everyone is entitled to a
particular view, and if you want to change their view, this should be
done by addressing the particular view and not the credibility or
motivation of the person expressing the view.  Ie personal insults or
criticisms such as "I am more intelligent than you, so how would you
know?", or "You are only saying that because you are a secret agent for
company x" are not appropriate.

As chair, I always welcome suggestions for improving the running of
meetings either on the list or by private communication.

Bruce Tonkin
Chair, GNSO Council.

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