How to Establish Ground Rules?
When you are leading some form of group / discussion activity such as a:
- Brainstorming session
- Other form of consensus building.
then it makes sense to establish so called "ground rules" before you begin.
Ground rules are standards of conduct all participants must adhere to. They are also called: discussion guidelines, community norms, participation agreements, a protocol, or rules of engagement.
Ground rules help improve the efficiency of the entire group process making up the event and also to ensure all parties that they will be treated equally and fairly during the process, by anchoring the respect attendants should have towards each other, towards the facilitator and towards the event during its process.
Simple examples of ground rules are: Respect other people's opinions and Be on time. Here you find a very comprehensive list of examples of ground rules plus useful tips for facilitators.
Depending on the nature of your event, you are advised to strike a balance between covering the most important and common situations and keeping the number of rules as low as possible in order not to over complicate things unnecessarily.