When I was in Europe last month I spent a few days in Rotterdam. Down the road from my hotel was a yoga studio that I walked past on the way to the Rotterdam train station each day, and inside the window were the above “Studio Rules.” They struck me as directly transferrable to meetings:
1. Make at least one friend today.
Make an effort to have a conversation with someone you haven’t met before at the meeting, or for whom you don’t get to speak to regularly.
2. What could be more important than taking an amazing class? Leave your phone outside our yoga room.
Devices off, unless you are using said device(s) for taking notes or as input into the essence of the meeting. Don’t get distracted by what’s going on outside the room – in email, on Facebook, or via text.
3. Why rush? Come early. Classes always start on time. You don’t want to miss out on the beginning.
Imagine that – if your organisation had that rule embedded in actual practice: meetings always start on time, precisely. Not the “Let’s wait for a few minutes to see who else comes,” or “Should we get started now? (6 minutes after the scheduled time).” But right on time.
4. Get ready to sweat! Bring a towel, wear a clean outfit and you’re good to go.
Get ready to work hard. Do your preparation – read the pre-meeting materials, do your pre-meeting thinking/analysis/discussions. Then you’ll be good to go … to make a contribution, to make the meeting a valuable event, to learn something you can use in your work.
So go ahead … write some meeting rules and post them to the door of your meeting rooms. And the walls.