Meeting Etiquette

Meeting Etiquette

Md. Tabrej, Director

Dept. of Business Administration, St. Joseph’s College (Autonomous) Jakhama

Etiquette in business comes in a variety of forms- from your choice of attire to how you behave in a meeting environment. This article discusses meeting etiquette and the importance of adhering to it for business success.

If you are a start-up or fledging entrepreneur, you’ll no doubt, want to get your face out there and meet as many people within your industry as possible. However it can all go pear-shaped if you don’t know how to handle those all-important meeting situations.

One of the biggest fundamentals in the corporate world is meetings. They may vary depending on their nature and content, but on the whole, they remain intrinsic to business communications for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Regardless of whether or not your business meeting is in a formal or informal setting, it is essential that you adhere to the common rules of etiquette in any meeting situation in order to give your business the best chance of a positive outcome and the prospect of a second meeting!

So without further ado, here are top tips for adhering to meeting etiquette and maintain a positive, professional image when doing business.

Maintain Punctuality: Some meetings can be over before they have even begun if you fail to show up in plenty of time. You can never be sure whether prospective clients and customers will be sticklers for time-keeping, so it’s always best to arrive in plenty of time for any business meeting. Punctuality is a key characteristic of a good leader and this is a trait that will stand you in good stead in your business.

Don’t forget the Introductions: If you are entering a group meeting featuring individuals that may not know one another, ensure you make adequate introductions to break the ice and give each person an opportunity to ‘sell’ themselves.

Prepare a watertight Meeting Agenda: Some business meeting may only last an hour; entrepreneurs are busy people after all. However, with so little time and so much to say it can be difficult to stay on track. A rock-solid meeting agenda is an excellent habit to get into, enabling you to facilitate the conversation and maintain focus around the table.

Sitting Posture: Particularly for formal, round table meetings it is imperative that you sit appropriately on your chair. Don’t slouch; try to adjust your seat so that you are at equal height with everyone else at the table, so that you are all speaking on the same level, quite literally.

Don’t interrupt other when Speaking: It is not good trait to talk over others when they are having their say in any business meeting. Each person sat around the meeting table is there for a reason, so ensure everyone gets a chance to have their say and that no-one dominates the conversation, constricting the enthusiasm and creativity of others.

The Mobile Phone Issue: In today’s 24/7, always-on, always connected business world it is understandable why some people opt to have their Smartphone’s on the table during meetings to check emails and respond to messages. However, in terms of meeting etiquette, it is not recommended. It can prove distracting to others if they hear the vibrations of your message alerts and see your screen lighting up. It can also indicate to others that you are not switched on and engaged in the conversation within the meeting. If you really want to create a positive impression, leave your Smartphone in your pocket and leave the room briefly, if you must make a call or send a message.

Food and Drink Etiquette: If you are going to eat during a business meeting, it is recommended that your first ensure it is acceptable with the entire group. Try to choose a snack that is relatively inoffensive in terms of its smell and always ensure that you consume your food and drink with class and sophistication -NEVER talk in a meeting with your mouth full!
The rules of meeting etiquette may not seem like a big deal but they truly can be the difference between securing the next big deal and damaging your reputation. Conducting yourself with good grace and professionalism will surely help you to leave a lasting impression.