In principle, when everybody understands and plays by the same rules the experience is much more likely to be fun and rewarding than if people make up or assume their own rules and not everyone understands the rules. Like playground rules posted on a fence, meeting ground rules encourage us to play safe, have fun, and include everyone. Group decision making is more efficient and achieves better results when we have shared expectations of each other.
Practical Tip: Establish meeting ground rules at the start of every meeting—a simple list of ten or fewer statements about how we all agree to behave in the meeting. The group might make a list from scratch or discuss and revise a list proposed by a facilitator or other leader. Many groups use the same set of ground rules meeting after meeting.
All participants should be watchful for compliance with the ground rules and politely point out violations. Review the ground rules regularly and don’t hesitate to make additions or changes. Make sure new people understand the ground rules.
– Craig Freshley