Ground rules for good conversations

Effective conversations encourage exploration of the contexts, behaviors, beliefs and relationships that influence how you and your team feel.

ground rules

Set the emotional parameters for a space that enables this sort of exploration: spaces that feel safe, supportive and challenging.

Agree clear boundaries for behavior. Ground rules that encourage empathy, inclusivity, openness and courage work best. To get you started, here are a few we like…

We will…

  1. Seek to understand - rather than persuade
  2. Listen to the quieter ones (they often hold a truth)
  3. Try not to shut conversations down – instead of ‘but’, we will use ‘and’ to open conversations up
  4. Understand that every view matters (especially if you are the only one who holds it)
  5. Balance our listening and thinking time (active listening is key!)
  6. Look after those who may feel exposed - eg leaders, managers - and those who may feel ignored - eg the least powerful in the room
  7. Be honest
  8. Be on time - let others know if you can’t make it!
  9. Encourage each other to disconnect from outside (eg cell phones off, laptops closed) and to focus
  10. Have an open discussion but respect the privacy of others when needed (eg “what happens in Vegas…” / “Chatham House Rules”)
  11. Go for it - even if it feels a little uncomfortable sometimes!