Meeting Etiquette

Bringing your passion for people to life

Ian Pratt

Running Effective Meetings - Ground Rules

Good Etiquette in meetings requires all participants to adhere to a number of ground rules. These ground rules provide a framework to guide individual and group behavior, and to explain how the group will function and make decisions.

It is good practice for all meetings to have a set of documented ground rules that all members of the group have easy access to. Normally these are stored in a central accessible drive. If the membership of your group changes it is good induction for the new members to be given a copy of the meeting rules. It is also good practice for the members of the group to review the meeting rules frequently.


Ground Rules

You will find that meeting ground rules fit in to three categories

  • General Meeting Rules - These rule describe good etiquette, there is not a lot of scope to alter or vary these rules as they reflect social expectations
  • Meeting function Rules - These are rules that describe how your meeting will function
  • General meeting etiquette rules for leaders - Here are a few tips for leaders to ensure they demonstrate leadership during meetings

Now let's take a look at each category of meeting rule


General Meeting Rules

The following suggested rules are universal and should be encouraged at all meetings Share reports or documents that you wish to reference or discuss during the meeting at least three days in advance

  • Prepare well for the meeting read all documents distributed before the meeting
  • Be on time
  • Start the meeting on time
  • End the meeting on time
  • Switch of all mobile phones
  • It is good practice to ban laptops, i-phones and other media devices as they cause distractions
  • No interrupting others even if you strongly disagree with their comments
  • Listen to all contributions
  • Personal criticism is not permitted
  • Keep the meeting focused on the agenda and discussion on the topic
  • Ensure participants are aware of the purpose of the meeting


Meeting Function Rules

The following set of meeting rules require your group to make a decision on how your group would like to address them How are decisions going to be made?

  • Is there one chairperson or a rotating chairperson?
  • How is the agenda determined?
  • Who is keeping minutes?
  • When will minutes be distributed?
  • How will you deal with conflict?
  • How do you determine who needs to attend the meeting?


Good Meeting Etiquette Rules for Leaders

This final set of meeting rules are tings a good leader will do to ensure the success of your group. Encourage all attendees to contribute to the discussion

  • Enforce the meeting rules
  • Encourage feedback from all members on the effectiveness of the meeting
  • Be a leader, show interest in other peoples contribution and appreciation for their contribution
  • Summarize decision made or progress made at the end of each discussion
  • Confirm the date and time of the next meeting