Set ground rules

Make sure that meetings are efficient and respectful by encouraging your group to agree on some simple ground rules.

31 Oct 2023

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're using hand signals, make sure that everyone knows how to use them. 
  • Be prompt and respectful of time.
  • Stay on topic. Avoid distracting diversions.
  • Never tolerate sexist, racist, disablist, transphobic or homophobic comments. Even if they weren't made to offend, they're never okay.
  • Not tolerate bullying.
  • Operate a "safer spaces" policy. 

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

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

We suggest that for the first couple of times they're 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.