Every meeting needs rules however informal it might be. These can be very rigid, as found in the Standing Orders for an Annual General Meeting, or the regulations for a disciplinary hearing, for example. More usually they are much more casual than this. However, it is increasingly accepted that the chances of a meeting being successful are vastly increased if it has agreed ground rules. The following are examples of the kind of statements which might make up ground rules:
- Start on time.
- Finish on time.
- No interruptions.
- Take account of other people’s contributions.
- No mobile telephones.
- No substitute members without agreement.
- No smoking.
- No side discussion i.e. two or more people talking aside from the main debate.
- Keep to the agreed remit.
- Action items to be agreed at (or by) the end of the meeting.
These are just examples of rules; it is up to each meeting to agree its own. If each member has signed up to them, they will be less likely to contravene them.