David Meiser, author of numerous books (my favourites being the Trusted Advisor and First Among Equals), started a conversation on Meeting Rules. Funny how making meetings more productive seems to be a recurring theme and common problem in organizations, despite the volumes of information and proven practices available out there.
In the blog entry, David asks: "What meeting rules would you propose?"
In my comments, I suggested that the MOST IMPORTANT RULE, maybe the only one is "We will respect each other and ourselves."
Meeting organizers should respect participants by creating an environment that maximizes participation and contributions, and minimizes unnecessary negative impact on workloads - by being clear and explicit about outcomes, objectives, roles, responsibilities, preparation required, meeting structure and underlying process.
All meeting participants should respect each other by:
- "being there" - being cognitively present in the meeting and focused on contributing to outcomes, and yes, that means turning off cell phones and Blackberry's .. perhaps every meeting room / meeting organizer needs one of these - http://www.phonejammer.com/cell-phone-jammer/p2jbz-r.asp
- tabling all relevant information to enable everyone to make fully informed choices and decisions
listing to others' opinions and ideas for value, and not just criticism - balancing advocacy with inquiry
- being productively candid, and discussing the "undiscussable"
These are a blend of a few principles found in Roger Schwartz' "Using the Facilitative Leader Approach to Create an Organizational Culture of Collaboration." and some of the principles in that video FISH! that you may have seen a few years back.