Ground Rules for Meetings

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.
  • Listen.
  • 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.

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