Meeting Etiquette and Rules from 1776. Declare your Independence from Boring Meetings

Do you have basic, simple guidelines your team commonly follows for how to run meetings?

If not, how DO YOU run meetings?  Poorly, inconsistently, ineffectively . . . with an occasional great-feeling, effective meeting?

OK, so your company handbook may have some guidelines for meeting etiquette. But when is the last time anyone actually saw that?  So, how can we complain about them if no one actually knows about them?

Why not declare your independence from boring meetings and create some declarations that your team can agree to and follow. It’s not hard. Keep it simple and have short, basic guidelines for how to run a meeting on your team. If you make it too complicated, it will never be implemented.  Start by answering some simple statements such as:

  1. What happens if the facilitator doesn’t show up on time
  2. What do I do if I’m on a meeting invite, but I don’t know why
  3. When can I decline a meeting with no feeling of guilt or retribution
  4. How long should a meeting be?
  5. Who is in charge of documentation and posting the follow up tasks
  6. Where do we post the follow up

It made me think back to the days when a single meeting in a week, was a major affair. I mean waaay back. How to you think the parliamentary meeting procedures really went when they were drafting the Declaration of Independence?

I certainly don’t know if that had any, but in thy spirit of the American Independence Day (July 4th for those many international readers) here are some declarations of Independence for boring and ineffective meetings they may have found useful back in the late 16th century.  Enjoy the fun, and forward to a friend.   (Also find the authentic looking PDF version for easier printing here – “Fix Boring Meetings with these Olde English declarations“)

Declaration of Independence from Boring Meetings

We The People:

Dost Declare: We want meetings thou art necessary and hath focus and results.

Dost Declare: Thy meeting invitations will clearly show value and purpose by using:

  • Mission Statement: Thee are coming together to: (decide, inform, explore, pillage…why?)
  • Outcome Statement:  Upon completion thee will have conquered…

Dost Declare: Thy last attendee who arrive’ith at thy meeting, shall take’ith thee notes and distribute.

Dost Declare: Thy attendee who appear’ith late and asks “What did thee miss?” will clean’ith thy stables.

Dost Declare: Thy more peasants or royalty invited to thee meetings, thy exponentially more difficult it is to make’ith thy decision.

Dost Declare: Ye don’t want do-over meetings because of poor documentation and crappy follow up.

Dost Declare: Thou shall come’ith prepared, or come’ith thou shall not.

Dost Declare: Thy default answer for everything shalt be: “We shall hath a meeting”.

Dost Declare: Thou will think’ith before thou send’ith a meeting invite and look for other solutions first.

Dost Declare: Ye shall not schedule an attendee for 50 minutes if ye need’ith them for 5 minutes.

Dost Declare: Any peasant or royalty using thy iPhone, iPad or personal mobile device whence bored or for non-related meeting functions, should take thine device elsewhere.

Fare thee well, fellow meeting planner or attendee. If thou hath need for assistance, or a custom declaration for thine organization, then methinks thou shall not hesitate to reachest thee at

Here again is the authentic version from 1776 . . . really!  “Fix Boring Meetings with these Olde English declarations


Posted by Jon Petz in Boring Meetings Suck, Effective Meetings Skills.

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