Etiquette in Standards Development

Etiquette in Standards Development

Encouraging Discussion without Disdain

On September 9, 2020, the Women in Standards brought together standards experts to hold a virtual panel on issues relevant to the industry. The focus of this panel was a discussion of the role standards development professionals play in ensuring committee members act respectfully during meetings and how standards development organizations can support their work by establishing rules of etiquette and codes of conduct.

Our panelists for this discussion included experts from a range of industries with unique experiences of working within committees and addressing issues of behavior and etiquette.

  • Vicki Worden, President & CEO — Green Building Initiative
  • Alyson Fick, Manager, Technical Committee Operations Division, ASTM
  • Jodi Araujo, CEO –NADCA: The HVAC Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Association, otherwise known as the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA)

Successful strategies for ensuring collaborative and positive discussions included Codes of Conduct, Robert’s Rules, and training for members. Also, an established enforcement mechanism that is well-understood by all.

Panelists also discussed how the standards process can at times create frustration and fatigue which can lead to poor interactions between members and so it’s important to address the contributors to these issues in addition to establishing rules for behavior.

Actions recommended by the presenters included:

  • Streamlining processes
  • Training for members
  • Mentorship
  • Splitting difficult work into smaller pieces or having small groups work on them first

Mentorship was also mentioned as a recommended approach for members that need support in developing their skills and gaining confidence as a contributor. This could take the form of online training, calls and emails, and in person events.

Finally, in discussing with the panel their own experiences in facing situations where they felt they were not being heard or included in discussions, the panelists recommended a calm, even approach. Asking to be heard or for an opportunity to speak, ensuring their points were supported by a firm understanding of the topic, and having confidence that they had a role to play in the process and unique voice and viewpoint to be shared.

To view the full series of Women in Standards videos, click here

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