Setting ground rules

Make sure that meetings are efficient and respectful by getting the group to agree on some basic ground rules.
  Published:  25 Sep 2017    |      1 minute read

People are more likely to adhere to rules if they've contributed to them – so agree on them together.

Some example ground rules.

"We all agree to..."

  • Have a positive attitude and try to always be constructive.
  • Avoid criticising others.
  • Turn our mobile phones off (or at least on silent).
  • Give the meeting our full attention.
  • Try to build on ideas rather than dismiss them.
  • Be patient and not interrupt others or speak over them.
  • Put our hand up and/or use hand signals. If you are using hand signals, make sure that everyone knows how to use them. Learn about useful hand signals.
  • Be prompt and respectful of time.
  • Stay on topic. Avoid distracting diversions.
  • Never tolerate sexist, racist, disablist, transphobic or homophobic comments. Even if they were not made to offend, they are never okay.
  • Not tolerate bullying.
  • Operate a "safe spaces” policy. This means that if someone's words or behaviour creates discomfort or distress, regardless of intent, they will be asked to modify these.

Everyone should show understanding if asked to use different language or change their bahaviour.

Importantly, try to agree what will happen if someone persistently breaks the rules.

We suggest that the first couple of times, they are politely reminded of the ground rules they agreed to. If their behaviour persists, they should be asked to leave.

If anyone experiences or observes any behaviour that makes them feel at risk or vulnerable, they should speak out about it as soon as possible.