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Ultimate Guide to Meeting Manners

Ultimate Guide to Meeting Manners

AdobeStock_64491392.jpegIn-person impressions matter now just as much as they ever have. But, unfortunately, a lot of us are rusty on our manners since most interactions get done via screen these days. Not to worry! We have some meeting etiquette tips to help keep you on your best behavior and make your Momma proud the next time you have an important meeting.

Show up on Time

Aim to get to your meeting 15 minutes early so that you have a bigger window for any mishaps or delays that happen along the way. The last thing you want to do is make everyone wait on you. Not only is it rude, but it also derails focus when you either interrupt the meeting and have everyone recap it for you or when the meeting gets delayed, causing the leader to lose their steam.

If you arrive early, you also have the chance for some friendly introductions to smooth things over.

Stay off Your Phone Before, During and After the Meeting

As long as you are within eyesight of the people you are meeting with, you should pretend your phone does not exist. Yes, you may need to respond to that important email, but pretty soon you will also end up checking on your fantasy team and then getting lost in social media land.

Better to stay focused and give everyone your full attention. This maxim also applies immediately before and after the meeting since small talk in the business world can often add up to big results.

Be Self Aware as to When You Speak and for How Long

Two cardinal sins in meetings:

  1. Interrupting in a rude way
  2. Rambling on and stealing time away from others who might speak

In regards to the first one, you may have to be a bit assertive to have your point or question addressed during the time in which it is relevant. Don’t hesitate to say “excuse me” or “actually, I have something to say about that” or use some other indication for someone to yield the floor to you.

That said, use this interruption sparingly. Also, make sure to apologize to the person who was speaking when you are done, and give them the chance to resume their train of thought.

As for the second point, mentally keep track of how long you have been speaking, and sum up your point if you can feel like you have spoken for more than a minute or so. Meetings should move fast, which means everyone needs a chance to share the floor and say their piece.

Introduce Unknowns, and Stand When Introduced

If you are in a position where you know two people who do not know each other, take a second to introduce them before the meeting begins. When you are introduced, make sure to stand for a moment so that it is clear who they were referring to.

Take Notes on Pen and Paper

Write down important bullet points while maintaining focus. These statements can come in handy when trying to jog your memory later, especially when trying to recap something a prospect said.

Some Other Important Meeting Etiquette Tips

  • Don’t bring anything in except coffee or water unless you know for sure that people will be eating or drinking during the meeting
  • Don’t pull out a chair for anyone else; it looks nice at a formal dinner but awkward in a professional setting
  • Pay attention to your posture; sit up straight, and avoid crossing your legs too casually into your lap
  • If you are leading the meeting or in a leadership role, bring along an agenda, and help keep focus
  • Ask questions at the appropriate time; too many people backload their questions at the end of meetings, holding everyone hostage until the questions are answered 
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