What your colleagues think about you in the first few seconds of a business meeting may hurt or help you to develop potential business or personal relationships.
Meetings come in all shapes and sizes. Your meeting may be in a large auditorium equipped with all kinds of electronic bells and whistles. Or, you may be meeting in a small conference room, office, or other work area.
Meeting etiquette is easy. There are a few important things to remember about all meetings:
- You have to be there and you have to be there on time, dressed appropriately.
- Aim at arriving ten minutes before the meeting’s starting time. This will give you time to settle in comfortably and introduce yourself to anyone whom you don’t know.
- Never walk into a business meeting while checking your e-mails, text messages, or social media. Since you are being watched when you enter a room, why not enter a room smiling, looking confident and approachable.
- Remove your Glass, Bluetooth® or other wireless headset before you enter a business meeting. Take your ear buds out of your ears and stow any music device in your briefcase or pocketbook.
- If this is your first meeting with the group, ask where you are to sit. Sometimes attendees are seated by seniority.
- Please do not go searching for coffee after the meeting has begun; this may appear disrespectful to the person speaking.
- It will help if you’ve reviewed the agenda and are prepared for the meeting by bringing along a pen and notebook or electronic device on which you can take notes.
- Don’t worry about actually taking notes. This is about being ready to participate when the chairperson or speaker asks for questions.
- Since you have prepared for the meeting, perhaps you have something valuable to contribute or a question to ask.
- Remember to keep your elbows off of the boardroom table.
- A gentle reminder: no texting, and certainly no I-Phone®, Android®, or other electronic usage unless to take notes.
- Please refrain from constantly checking your smart watch. To others, it may appear that you are not paying attention to important meeting content.
- You will never use electronics to check your e-mails, social media, or surf the Web during a business meeting.
- Meeting etiquette is not only about respect but also about efficiency in getting the agenda’s goals accomplished without interruption. Generally, all electronic devices need to be turned off during the meeting. The meeting will fly by without electronic interruptions.
- The only time that your smartphone, tablet, or laptop is ever used, or placed on a conference table is when you are using it to give a presentation, to show your clients or associates a project-related item, or if you are taking notes during the meeting.
- Pocketbooks, tote bags, and briefcases are never placed on a conference table or on a desk. Besides being considered a rude gesture, this makes you look disorganized (especially if you start going through your handbag looking for a cosmetic item).
- Personal items (like tote bags, brief cases and pocketbooks) are placed on the floor. Place your cell phones, tablets, and other electronics with your personal items during the meeting.
- Should you know prior to the meeting that you are expecting a telephone call, tell the person running the meeting that your cell phone is on vibrate and you may need to briefly leave the meeting. Find a seat close to the door so that you may exit quietly.
- Your organization may send out computerized calendars that advise you when meetings will be held. If the electronic calendar allows you to respond to the meeting invitation, do so within 24 hours of receiving the invitation.
- Other organizations are not that structured, and you may be invited at the last minute. Try to attend.
- If you are truly unable to attend, you might want to request a copy of the minutes or a report of the meeting.
- Never whisper to the person seated beside you; this will appear discourteous to the person who has the floor.
- You may disagree with what is being said. Never argue. Demonstrate your knowledge, understanding and professionalism with a short, positive statement about the issue.
- At the end of the gathering, thank the chairperson for a productive meeting. Take care of action items resulting from the meeting
- Accomplish these things and you will show that you are organized and that you respect the person who planned the meeting.
Each of these 25 tips is closely related to your character and to the sterling industry-wide reputation which you are building for yourself and for your well-respected brand.
Excerpts of blog taken from the book: Hospitality Management – People Skills & Manners on and off the Job. Copyright © 2015 Lyn Pont, PhD
“Pont’s book is a must-read for anyone considering a career in hospitality.”
— Isadore Sharp, chairman and founder, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
See the book at: www.HospitalityManners.com
Visit Lyn at: www.MannersForBusiness.com
Lyn Pont, Ph.D. – World’s Top 30 Hospitality Professionals, 2016 – Global Gurus