Individual behavior conveys a great deal about who you are as a person, both professionally and personally. Most of the time good common sense, allows us to know what acceptable behavior is and what it is not, especially when we are in a business meeting. Your professional demeanor or lack thereof can contribute to making or breaking a business deal and will also affect how your clients, your supervisor and your co-workers treat you in a work environment. That is why it is very important that you use proper business etiquette when attending any type of meeting.
Basic rule number one of proper etiquette is to always be punctual whenever you are going to a meeting.
If you’re able to, get there a few minutes early even better. This demonstrates to the other attendees that you care enough about the meeting to show up early and that you are an attentive participant. Be polite and shake the hand of the person who is hosting the meeting and to thank them for inviting you to participate.
Basic rule number two is that you should always be properly prepared and have everything in order for the meeting.
It is a good idea to know what the meeting is about and do some research on the topic, so that you will know in advance what is most likely going to be discussed. Bring any supporting documents and other information that will enable you to be an essential asset during the meeting. By being prepared and having researched the topic prior to the meeting you will be in a position to advise your manager and co-workers more effectively on the subject as well as being able to knowledgeably ask and answer questions regarding the subject at hand. By being properly prepared for the meeting you are demonstrating to your employer, clients and co-workers that you are well organized and focused.
Basic rule number three of proper etiquette is to be courteous and pay attention during your meeting.
You should never speak out of turn, be impatient to get your own point across or talk over those who are attempting to make a point that is different from your own. Don’t do anything else while another person is speaking during the meeting, because this exhibits a lack of interest and a lack of respect for the other person.
If it is up to you to host the meeting, you should be well prepared and give all the participants advance notice of the date, time and location of the meeting. Send e-mail invitations, as well as office memos, which will allow your co-workers time to prepare in advance. You should also inform your co-workers of the topics that will be discussed and provide them with a detailed agenda. Your meeting should have a definite start and end time so that items on the agenda can be discussed more efficiently. If you have guest speakers or presenters you should ask them how much time they will require for their presentations and schedule accordingly. This will keep the meeting moving smoothly without too much time lapse between topics. Guide the progression of the meeting by staying on track and focusing on the key points.
Above all, be diplomatic, calm and avoid arguments. As the meeting comes to an end, summarize the topics discussed and wrap up everything. If a follow-up meeting is required let the attendees know that you will inform them of the time and place. Remember that using proper business etiquette when attending any type of meeting is vital to the success of your professional career, so always put your best foot forward and mind your manners.