Meeting Rules For A Successful Meeting: How To Choose Them?


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A new weekly or daily meeting is coming up soon, and you are instructed to organize it or to participate in one. But how to do it?

You should stay calm and focused. If as children we learned the rules of behavior, now as professionals, we must find the highest productivity in our actions. Below you will find the right rules and tips to prepare for a successful meeting.


  • The organization of the environment, necessary materials and the planning of defined objectives are the basis for a successful meeting.
  • In addition to time management and participation, it is good to make an analysis and ask for feedback from all participants. This allows you to improve your attitude and your next meetings.
  • It is important not only to know how to choose the right rules for a successful meeting that could be a group activity. You also need to understand how to react in case of non-compliance to avoid being distracted from your objectives.

What you should know about meeting rules

In our minds, we would like to leave the meeting positive and full of energy, without feeling the weight of the time that has just passed. However, it is possible for a successful meeting to lead to disaster. For this reason, meeting rules are used. They allow us to create a comfortable atmosphere, putting participants at ease and in the same professional manner with respect for others.

What are the rules for a successful meeting?

1. Knowing who to invite to the meeting

How many times have we been invited to meetings with too many people? Or found ourselves in meetings of other departments just to make up the numbers?

Having too many meeting participants lead to Social Inertia (1). What is it? An individual who is surrounded by other people feels less sense of responsibility. In fact, a person does not feel responsible if he or she does not feel indispensable in the activity.

By inviting irrelevant people to decisions, we would have to organize yet another meeting. Waste of money? Yes. Loss of time? Yes. Loss of productivity? Absolutely yes! It is important to answer the question “Who” – who is critical to achieving the objectives? So start from here.

2. Organize the materials

The meeting starts before the meeting itself. What does that mean? It means that you must arrive at the meeting ready: ready with ideas, ready with the materials at hand, ready physically. Before you start you must organize all our materials to avoid interruptions, delays, confusion. Whether the meeting is online or face-to-face, you must be ready.

For online meetings, your best ally is the computer. For this type of meeting, it will be necessary that the surrounding environment is calm and peaceful. Make sure you have a good connection, a working microphone and a neutral background.

On the other hand, pay attention during the meeting to whoever raises their hand, always speak to the camera and not to the screen. Finally, decide before the meeting starts when attendees can turn on the microphone to speak and decide on break times.

3. Show up on time and come prepared

The British used to say “time is money.”(2) And how right they were! As a meeting organizer, the right thing to do is to arrive or log on 5/10 minutes before the start to check that everything is ready. That way you have some recovery time if you have forgotten something.

Even in online meetings, if you are the organizer, log in first to welcome participants. Punctuality is a sign of seriousness and responsibility. A big smile, a welcome, and the meeting begins.

4. Be mentally and physically present

When it’s time to start the meeting, it’s important to keep distractions out of the room. Even if your mind is full of thoughts, calls, and things to do, during the meeting you should be actively present.

Primarily, focus on the objectives of this meeting and continue to keep the meeting active by engaging the other participants, as we will see below.

5. Contributing to the fulfillment of objectives

Our biggest goal of the meeting is problem-solving. You should avoid leaving the room with doubts or confusion. Therefore, try to be clear and honest when you talk.

An extremely important part of the meeting is time for questions. If you are leading a meeting, and explaining a step, process or project, you don’t want to be interrupted. So make sure you that at the end there will be a time for questions.

6. Planning

Before each meeting, it is good to have the agenda in front of you. As a host, you should prepare it. All the participants should receive the agenda before the meeting so that that can attend it fully prepared.

Read about How To Create An Agenda For Your meeting

Therefore, you must make sure that everyone knows how much time they need to devote to the meeting, so as not to make commitments that will force them to leave earlier than expected. Choosing objectives is fundamental, and doing so with the SMART method is certainly more effective. A method that allows us to define our objectives and at once to take action.

Effective method for choosing meeting objectives. (Source Alessia Perrera/

You can use tools, such as MURAL, to use the different templates and plan your meetings.

Mural Templates

7. Let everyone participate

Attending a meeting where only one person speaks is not pleasant or productive for anyone. For this reason, no one should be excluded. Understanding the purpose of the meeting, it is necessary to alternate dialogue. Otherwise, the meeting would be a big mess.

8. Listen with an open mind

Is there only one solution to every problem? Absolutely not! In fact, during the meeting, you must be prepared to receive any opinion. Each participant should have the opportunity to propose new solutions that may help our objective.

You must not fall into the temptation of the Dunning-Kruger effect, overestimating your capabilities (3). Therefore, it is not very productive to presume yourself as the only expert. On the contrary, you must be open to new proposals, listen to every word and respect other opinion.

9. Think before you speak

First of all, put on your best smile and you are ready to start. Your language should be genuine, natural and logical. Depending on the meeting, the language can be more or less technical. Try to be as clear as possible to avoid creating confusion, misunderstandings and doubts among participants.

Secondly, when you speak, your non-verbal language must be coherent. By observing body expressions and movements, it is possible to detect and interpret thoughts, feelings and intentions that are not verbalised (4). Avoid too much gesturing and movement, so as not to distract anyone. Always maintain a positive and calm tone in order to convey trust and confidence in our meetings.

Finally, show respect for the others’ opinions. Welcoming is a synonym of trust. You may not agree, but you should always express it in a positive and polite way.

10. Stay on time and on point

As we said, planning is the priority for a meeting, and you have to follow the agenda. Wasting time is absolutely not productive, and you must keep a track on it.

On the other hand, although it may seem contradictory, one of the best things you can do to improve your time management is to take a break. Human concentration is limited in time, and the meeting deserves all the attention it can get. A coffee break might be a good option to rest and get your energy back.

One of the methods that can be used is the Pomodoro Technique (5). A popular time management technique that involves working in 25-minute sessions with short breaks in between to maximize concentration.

Another method is the Pareto Principle, or 80/20 rule (6). In 20% of our time, we can have 80% of the results. This way, in the remaining time, we can dedicate ourselves to simpler activities.

11. Attack the problem, not the person

Personal issues in the workplace should always be left out. We’ve all had an unpleasant colleague or a not-so-nice boss.

In meetings, however, we need to forget all that. In our speech we must weigh our words carefully, our attitude must always be positive and welcoming of others’ opinions. But are meetings always peaceful? Of course not!

You must never lose sight of the focus of meetings. People may disagree, but you must be patient. Confrontation should be constructive and not a challenge to the person.

On the other hand, as participants, we always try to maintain a relaxed atmosphere and avoid misleading questions that put others challenged. Or worse, create disagreements between colleagues.
We need to get closer to solutions, and for that teamwork is important.

12. Closing decisions

As meeting organizer, you must ensure that decisions are shared by all and each main objective is assigned to a manager. Participants, after taking note of the highlights of the meeting, should start working on their assigned tasks.

You might take it for granted, but you should summarize the results. How many meetings we have attended turn out to be just a waste of time? A lot. Let’s keep this in mind. It’s important to analyze the meeting afterwards by receiving feedback from the participants. We can do this with simple questions such as: What was the best thing about this meeting? What could we improve for next time?
The information gathered will help you in the improvement process for the next times.

13 Sharing the results

Whether online or face-to-face, if we have a good start we can’t help but finish well. Let’s greet everyone with a big smile and a big push towards the goals to be achieved.

After gathering feedback and highlights from our meeting, what do we do? Make sure you share your analysis with everyone in attendance as soon as possible. The more time passes, the more it loses its effectiveness. Moreover, a participant who receives feedback immediately feels that he/she has accomplished something.

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How to set the meeting rules?

To establish the rules of a meeting, you can rely on the common sense and professionalism of all participants. Probably, the result you will get would be confusion, a lot of confusion.

On the contrary, you can also involve all participants and decide together on the “Rules for a perfect meeting”. Similarly, you can take as a reference our proposed list and adapt it to our meeting and business needs.

Read more about meeting challenges in this article

What to do when meeting rules are violated?

Could everything always go smoothly? Unfortunately not. Unforeseen events are always around the corner, and even in the circumstances of meetings this can happen. Every person has his/her own character and aptitudes. Therefore, during a meeting, there may be the witty or impolite member of the group. But of course you have to keep the focus.

It is possible that one of the participants of the meeting does not respect the rules: a look or a small nod is enough, and the matter can be solved separately. Never in front of everyone. Also if the situation worsens, you can simply invite the participant to leave the room. Again, resolve the problem separately by asking for explanations and focusing on the objectives of the meeting.


Meeting rules are the necessary aspects of meeting success. Unforeseen events are never included in the agenda and having rules to follow, shared with everyone, makes it easier to get back on track.

The meeting should bring innovation, participation and results. If you follow the rules, you can certainly achieve these goals.


1. AM. Effetto Dunning-Kruger – La Presunzione dell’ignorante [Internet]. tibicon – valore dal tuo sapere. 2021 [cited 2022 Oct 17]. Available from:

2. Villers D, Mieder W, Time WM. Time is money: Benjamin Franklin and the vexing problem of proverb origins [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 18]. Available from:

3. Dunning D. The dunning-Kruger effect. In: Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. Elsevier; 2011. p. 247-96.

4. Kuhnke E. Nonverbal language for dummies [Internet]. 2015. Available from:

5. UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE LICEO EXPERIMENTAL MANUEL DE SALAS. How to better organize our working moments with the Pomodoro Method [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 17]. Available from:

6. Recuerda AM, Varón DJ, Ripoll FS, Villalobos. AR. TIME MANAGEMENT AS A MANAGEMENT SKILL [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2022 Oct 17]. Available from:


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