Ground Rules for Facilitating Meetings

Leaders are called upon all the time to facilitate meetings for boards of directors and other large groups. A good facilitator will have the ability to develop an effective meeting process and to set ground rules for the group to operate within to move an agenda along.

This week, let’s look at some of the ground rules you can use when working with groups.

  1. Focus on the future. It is important to understand what has gotten the group to the point they are at, but it’s also important to spend time looking ahead.
  2. Encourage everyone in the group to contribute and make sure everyone has a chance to speak. Don’t let any one person dominate the conversation.
  3. Speak in the first person and speak for yourself. Don’t let the group speak about or for other people, just focus in on the person speaking in terms of ” I think, I feel.”
  4. Be concise and share airtime. Have everyone try to make three precise and to-the-point comments rather than rambling on with lots of stories and wandering off the central topic.
  5. Listen and understand! Make sure everyone really listens to the person who is speaking rather than always thinking about what they are going to say next.
  6. Respect and encourage a wide range of perspectives. Make sure that everyone respects each other’s opinions. Encourage lots of different points of view and perspectives.
  7. Be the crew, not just the passengers of the ship. Make sure everyone takes responsibility for the discussions and the decisions. No one at the meeting should be just an observer.
  8. Respect the time frames so the meeting can begin and end on time.
  9. Speak with the well being of the group in mind.
  10. Have courage and speak what is honest and truthful. Communication is built on not being afraid to say what you believe and feel.

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