Today, I want to share with you some of the ground rules that I use to successfully run meetings, maybe they can help you too.

So, there are three that I really find useful, particularly when I’m chairing the meeting but, frankly, these hold true no matter what position you have in the meeting.

The first is…

Defining success

What is success for that time you have together – half hour, hour, or whatever it might be. And then you want to check back in the middle, “Hey, how are we doing?” and then certainly at the end, “How did we do? Did we get there?”

Every meeting needs to have a purpose and defined success.

Being professional

The second thing I like to do is to make sure that we’re all going to behave in, what I call, a neighborly way or, in a work setting, you might say a professional way. So I have some ground rules for that too. I like to say, “Let’s all be direct and honest, and at the same time, constructive and not combative because, remember, we’re all here to achieve this common goal.”

The third piece is about…

Managing air time

Really important, and that I like to call the “no home movie” rule.

Now, home movies are, imagine you’re going over to visit your aunt or a friend and they say, “Oh, look at this – let us show you the video of when Jamie was two months old”. You’re watching and you’re thinking, “Oh my god, Jamie is 45 years old now. Are we going to see every single clip for 45 years?”

So, it’s really about making sure that you don’t go on and on and on about “When I was back at Company X…” or whatnot. It’s really about not dominating the whole meeting but on the other end of the spectrum, also making sure you use the air time that you should have in the meeting, so speaking up, but it’s all about managing that.

The key to all of this is setting up these ground rules with the group at the start of the session, in advance, so everybody’s clear on this.

  • Defining success; what’s our common purpose for the meeting?
  • Secondly, neighborly or professional behaviour.
  • And third, let’s manage our air time because we share that together, and time is the only thing we can’t get back.

So, get out there and the next meeting that you are running or chairing, remember to set out the ground rules up front.

And then share with us any ground rules that you come up with that are even better.