Karen A. Thomas, Certified Etiquette Consultant, Civility Analyst
"Professional Business Savvy is no longer a Luxury...It's a Necessity"
We all attend meetings. Parents, business owners, even children attend meetings via various organizations such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts,etc… While the utmost important thing is your attendance, do you comply with the suggested protocols for meeting etiquette? Here I offer a few tips for meeting success.
PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME
Bring along the materials needed such as a pen, paper and any other items you will need to participate. There is nothing more bothersome than a person fumbling around for a pen. This also alludes to being unprepared and leads to making a spectacle of one’s self.
ARRIVE ON TIME
Fashionable late is never acceptable for a business meeting. Plan to arrive at least 5 minutes ahead to gain composure, choose a seat and mentally prepare for a meeting. If allowed arrive 10- 15 minutes earlier for networking and chatter.
If you are a newbie to the group, introduce yourself when appropriate. Even if you have attending this meeting before, attempt to get to know others by introductions and titles. It is much more productive to acquaint yourself beforehand so as to speak with proper titles, honorifics and pronunciations.
If you are the meeting host provide a solid agenda for the group to follow. Mentally prepare time constraints for each agenda item and stick to them. People often become disengaged quickly when meetings run over or tend to lag on due to not following time constraints. Learn how to “table” discussions properly without seeming rude thus allowing concise meeting times.
SPEAK CONFIDENTLY & LOUDLY
Use your inside voice, however, you must remember you need to speak up to ensure each attendee can hear your input. Speak with confidence and stand to be recognized and addressed.
PUT PHONE AWAY
Put your phone on vibrate or off and place it out of sight. Leaving it on the conference table often proves to be a distraction to you and others. If it goes off and vibrates, you are disrupting others. If it lights up, people tend to check it for updates which conveys that you are distracted and uninterested in what is being discussed at the meeting. If absolutely necessary, excuse yourself and check your phone while out of the room if you absolutely can’t live without for the meeting length.
Listen intently and seriously. While some of the material may be repetitive or down right boring, put yourself in the shoes of the presenter or meeting host. Think how you would like to be heard and reacted to if you were in his/her shoes. Make eye contact and nod in agreement and if all else fails, smile to allow your fellow meeting goers, as well as the host, the pleasure of looking out and seeing your delightful presence and beautiful smiling face.