It’s your meeting: you set the rules

In the average yoga class, people arrive on time, know why they’re there and are willing to follow instructions. Pretty basic.  So why aren’t business meetings like this?

It’s more likely participants arrive late, are unsure why they’re attending and become easily distracted.

Here are three tips for setting ground rules that lead to an efficient meeting that runs on time.

Set boundaries that help you do your best work
Some yoga teachers are happy for students to arrive late to class. I personally find that late arrivals disrupt my teaching, and I ask my students to respect that. Setting that ground rule means that everyone can enjoy a great class, including me.

Think about ground rules that others in the meeting would want
When I ran How to run great meetings at Engineers Australia almost everyone said they felt uncomfortable asking someone to stop talking during a meeting, especially if they were senior in age, rank or technical skill.

Rather than how you feel about it personally, think about the impact on other people.  A ground rule that gives you permission to politely end a colleague’s soliloquy could mean that you finish your meeting on time, get through everything on your agenda, and make others in the meeting happy that their time is not being wasted.

Let people know your rules in advance – and agree to them
Think about the ground rules you’d like in place to make your next meeting a success.  Perhaps you want participants to turn their mobile phones off, stay until the end, and come up with one action to do before the next meeting.

Before the meeting begins, ask your colleagues if they’ll agree to your ground rules.  You can’t assume that everyone values the same meeting behaviours so ask if they’ll agree to your suggestions. Their permission will help you to feel confident about keeping them in line.

It’s your meeting, so you need to feel confident that you can do your job and get the group to the intended outcome.

How to run great meetings is available as a one-hour workshop to help your team, organisation or group understand the qualities of a good meeting, the skills to make them happen effectively, and the confidence to put those skills into practice. Email me for more information.

Published by rachaelwest

Strategic Speaker Coach | Founder | Engineer

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