A friend was looking at her work calendar and sighed because she had a week with lots of meetings scheduled. She continued to vent frustration about attending meetings that were unstructured with rude people.
Technology is a wonderful thing but the (negative) impact it has had on meeting productivity has been significant. There was a time when meetings didn’t have the challenge and distraction of ringing cell phones, beeping text messages, emails on laptops or news updates on IPads. I’m not suggesting that meetings were always run well – because they weren’t – but there are definitely things a meeting team leader can do to increase participation and reduce wasted time.
Anyone who has had team leader skills training, understands the concept and importance of having meeting ground rules that help influence positive meeting etiquette and productivity and is an important part of effective church management.
So what are meeting ground rules?
Meeting ground rules are simply an agreed upon list of behavior expectations for team members while participating in a meeting. They help to keep everyone accountable for behaviors as well as focused on the task at hand.
It’s pretty common for chartered committees or decision making councils to come up with ground rules but the day-to-day meetings that most of us endure don’t always see the value or take the time to establish those behavioral expectations. This can become frustrating for the person who is trying to facilitate the meeting.
Every organization should have company-wide meeting expectations (meeting ground rules) that should be printed and hung in every conference room. However, there always needs to be flexibility and individual teams may vary their ground rules based on the objective of the meeting and the participants involved. For example, if a meeting is to come up with a creative theme for the upcoming children’s program, having laptops and IPads to use as a resource for ideas may be appropriate.
Establishing meeting ground rules.
To come up with a list of group or team ground rules, simply start by communicating your list of behavior expectations as the meeting facilitator. Then open it up to team members and see if they have anything to add. Ask them how they would like the group to interact and behave and what they hope to gain out of participation in the group.
Example of Team Meeting Ground Rules
- turn off cell phones
- no side conversations
- be respectful of the ideas of others
- start and stop meeting on time
- everyone participates
- everyone comes to the meeting prepared
- no electronic devices
Again these are merely examples of common ground rules and obviously every meeting, every team, every group has different goals, objectives and agendas which is why customizing ground rules for each meeting often makes sense.
Do you use ground rules for your meetings?