Business meeting etiquette is basically good common sense, but one that takes a little practice.
Certainly, we can all identify what not to do when planning and/or attending a meeting, but often what we really need is a set of guidelines or rules of etiquette as to how to do this successfully. Here are some business etiquette tips to help.
Attending a Meeting:
- Be on time. Always arrive a few minutes before the meeting is set to begin. This indicates respect for the person planning the meeting and shows that you are organized.
- Be prepared. Before the meeting, be sure to read any related material or review policies and procedures that will be addressed. You will be much better able to provide valuable input.
- Bring a notebook and pen. It's proper manners to give the speaker your undivided attention. Even if you don't take a single note, this will show that you are interested in the agenda and serious about your role at the meeting.
- Participate. When the chairperson asks for feedback and you feel that you have something to contribute, be sure to do so. Ask questions as well.
- Be polite and attentive. Never engage in cross-talk in a meeting and be courteous to the person who has the floor. Listen to what is being said and resist the urge to argue with anyone.
- Conduct yourself professionally. Meetings are a great place to let people know that you are serious and have something to offer. If you display proper etiquette and manners, this message will be sent. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding.
- Thank the chairperson. It's such a little thing, but thanking the person who organized the meeting is not only good etiquette, it is also a sign of respect.
Running a Meeting:
- Plan ahead. If you are responsible for calling a meeting, plan ahead before sending out the notification. Make sure that all interested parties are invited.
- Set a clear agenda. In your meeting invitation, clearly state the agenda. List the action items and request that attendees come prepared to address these issues. Attach related documentation for review and request input.
- Set a time limit. In today's business environment, everyone is busy. By setting a clear time limit, you are showing that you respect your coworkers' need for time management as well as your own.
- Dress professionally. You want to be taken seriously, and appearance is important. Even if it is "casual Friday," wear appropriate business apparel.
- Encourage punctuality. Never be late to your own meeting! Set an example and plan to be in the room a few minutes before the start time.
- Manage the meeting. Stick to the agenda and keep an eye on the time. Politely discourage cross-talk and make sure that every person has an opportunity to speak. Move the agenda along, but not so fast as to miss key points. If the meeting goes off-topic, remind the group of the agenda at hand and suggest that unrelated matters be addressed at another time.
- Avoid engaging in petty bickering or arguments. Remain calm and diplomatic, no matter how heated the discussion may become. This portrays your good manners to the group.
- Summarize. At the end of the meeting, sum up the action items and if necessary, request another meeting.
- Follow-up. Once the meeting is over, follow up with all attendees. Send a list of action items, resolutions and issues that remain open. Thank people for taking the time to attend, and request feedback.
Now you're on your way! Consider taking a few online courses in business to learn other great tips.