This article contains examples of typical items for meeting ground-rules and domestics, and methods for implementing. I share some ideas for this in the tutorial how to establish meeting ground-rules

It seems sensible as the facilitator/chair of the meeting that you would want to establish your own ground-rules. Nothing is stopping you doing this, and in some cases this will work well.

However, where practical, I get the team to create the ground-rules, so there is greater buy-in.

These techniques and concepts help those who have to run sessions for example - Team Meetings, Project Meetings, Inductions, Training, Presentations, Briefings, Informal Meetings, Formal Meetings.

Ground rules versus Domestics

Before I share just a quick point on what I feel are the differences.

Ground-rules - These are how participants will behave, to ensure a smooth meeting.

Domestics - These 'notices' ensure our wellbeing, health and safety, some are be set by the organisation and are in Law.


Domestics Comments
Fire Exits and Evacuation Procedures Make sure you cover these from a Health, Safety and Comfort Level.
Despite your best efforts people may spring a surprise on the day.
Toilet locations
Comfort breaks
Coffee / Tea Breaks - advise of when and how long
Lunch times
Finish time


Ground-rules Examples Comments
Phone and Devices Phones and Devices on silent I use this in a lighthearted way.
I operate special exemptions
eg Wife in Labour, On call
If a participant is distracted, I advise them to deal
with the call/distraction and come back
£5 Fine to charity of it rings
All devices in a box
All devices in the middle, first to answer buys lunch, does a forfeit
Your phone rings, I answer/reply!

Increasingly I find people using laptops and tablets to make notes, I don't really want to discourage this, I do though say turn of wifi / alerts to avoid being distracted by 'work'

One Voice One person speaking at a time Depending on the nature of the meeting these can help balance peoples contributions.
I prefer strong facilitation skills to control.
No interruptions
Pass the block (only speak when you have the block)
Round Robin
Alphabetical or by Birth Month
Keeping on track Limit slides to prevent death by PowerPoint. eg Maxium of 3 slides per person Use these to ensure smooth running and prevent overkill.
These stop people from deviating and being verbose.
No slides
2 minute presentation
Appoint a note taker
Allocate time limit, eg 60 seconds for each to share view or 5 minute brainstorm
Handling challenges Be constructive in your challenge with specific reasons Often attendees will bring their own baggage and issues.
These ground-rules limit and control this.
P + 2S
When sharing ideas, no criticism, See Brainstorming Rules for more
Contribution and Involvement Everyone to contribute Get views from everyone, not just the loudest or most energetic.

The quieter more methodical people have ideas too, we just need a platform to hear them.
No such thing as a stupid question
All views matter
Write ideas down
Share in pairs
Keeping to time Add timings to an agenda These can add a fun element to getting people to arrive back on time.
Most importantly they allow you to get things started and complete in allocated time.
Appoint a time keeper
Use music for breaks, everyone needs to be back before end of a certain music or face a forfeit.
Egg timer or countdown clock, place in the room so all can see when
Allocate time limit, eg 60 seconds for each to share view or 5 minute brainstorm
Start meetings at 10 past or 10 to the hour.

Happy meetings!

About the author

phil laviolettephil laviolette

Hi!, I'm Phil LaViolette, Founder and Owner of evalu8d. I created resourcily to share hints, tips and resources I've collected over 20 years of training and coaching, across lots of industries and at all levels. I hope that, even in a small way, you gain from the tools I share!