The 2-Foot Rule

Anyone that cannot provide value in a meeting or group, gets up, uses their two feet, and leaves. The only response from the group is oriented on gratitude for the potential of a greater outcome. No fan fair when leaving. No judgment for leaving. Just a continued move toward a better outcome. 

Applying the 2-Foot Rule

How many times have you sat in on a meeting and known you weren’t all there? What about people who were there, were distracted but demanded attention around a topic you’ve already covered or sat oblivious to what was happening? 

If you have the courage to institute the 2-Foot Rule in your meetings, you’ll discover a different kind of outcome is possible.

Meetings are incessant. But of course, we need meetings to coordinate and collaborate. So be intentional about who attends even before the meetings start. 

  • Discover the purpose (what are the expected outcomes) 
  • See if the right people will be in the room to reach the outcomes
  • Be clear on whose meeting it is

With all of this in place, each individual sitting in a meeting can take a look at “the now”. Is my participation valuable? Am I providing the kind of attention this meeting needs? Am I distracting others from participating to their fullest?

No, no, or yes? You should consider leaving.

But Two Things to Try Before Using Your Feet 

If you are clear about your role, your participation could be valuable, and you are still pulled by other things, try to shake off the distractions with: 

    • Gratitude. Recall and be grateful for a safe drive to work, and an excellent group of people to work with, being healthy, problems you can solve, or one of a million other things.                     THEN
    • Radical curiosity. Try having a preference for questions over answers. Sustain an aversion to stereotyping, generalizing, and jumping to conclusions. Or cultivate an enthusiasm for the mystery embedded in what appears mundane. 

If you fall off the wagon, get back on by focusing on these two ways of being. And if you can’t really be IN the meeting, leave. It will be better for everyone.

The Advantages and Consequences

It takes courage to institute the 2-Foot Rule with a team. The advantage is that your team will feel empowered and trusted to be where they need to be. It encourages team members to be present by doing the work necessary to be ready to participate. Leaving too often produces a feeling that they aren’t holding up their end of the bargain and forces them to really take a good look at what’s on their plate and renegotiate when they are on overload.

The consequence mainly is an apparent lack of self-accountability or open and honest communication in the team. Dealing with it could mean a team shakeup. This, though is inevitably an advantage. Making your team more lean, but more focused on mutual outcomes and reaching them more easily.

What’s Next

Will you have the courage to offer the 2-Foot Rule in your meetings?

What challenges will you face in offering it? 

What effect will it have on your outcomes?

Don’t suffer with your hiring; we are here to help.


Miche Rayment is the Founder and CEO for The Hire Effect™. The Hire Effect clients learn how to identify, organize, and get the most out of their Unconventional Hiring Teams.