Learn about the different types of meetings and roles, and how that affects etiquette. Learn how to observe others for cues and judge the tone of the meeting.
- Business meetings, like them or not, are a great place to stand out and get noticed. It's your opportunity to be seen and heard by the people above you in the company. But you want to be noticed in a positive way, so knowing the basic etiquette rules can help you look confident, capable, and promotable. Let's talk about a few of the most common rules and how to shine in the meeting. First off, technology in a meeting can be really disruptive. If you want to make a good impression, silence your phone and close your laptop.
Sit straight, be attentive, and smile. When you do, you're sure to stand out as someone who's invested in the company and in the topic. Whether it's face-to-face or virtual, dressing well and being on time to a meeting shows you're efficient and capable. If you absolutely can't avoid being late, let someone know with a quick email or text, so they can pass it on to the meeting coordinator. And most meetings have agendas sent out ahead of time, or there's a known topic. Use this information to come prepared with any data or materials you may need.
By having the facts available, you can participate better throughout the meeting and you won't be caught off guard. If there's someone you haven't met before, make sure to introduce yourself. Let them know your name, give a firm but not too strong handshake, and tell them how you fit into the meeting. Whether you're a key person on the project, part of the support team, or your position in the company. It's a great opportunity to get to know who they are as well. And having something to say is important in a meeting.
Make sure you add your comments respectfully. Speak up so everyone can hear you and don't interrupt when someone's speaking. It's usually best to allow the more senior people to comment first. Wait until there's an opening to speak, be brief, and stay on topic. If it isn't relevant to what's being discussed at that moment, wait for later in the meeting to bring the subject up again. Don't save all your questions for the end though, unless that's the format of the meeting. As everyone's ready to leave, it can be frustrating to have the meeting extended due to a lot of new topics and questions.
Most meetings serve coffee and water or allow you to bring your own. Other than that, avoid eating during the meeting, unless everyone else is. And before you leave the room, push in your chair and pick up after yourself. Don't leave napkins, papers, or pens laying on the table. You'll look more respectful and professional if you don't. With a lot of meeting etiquette, you can take your cues from the host and other attendees. If everyone has their laptop open, feel free to open yours.
Use your best judgment when deciding which rules to follow and which rules to break. Each situation is different. And remember, meetings are confidential. Usually, what goes on should only be discussed with other participants. Keep this information to yourself, unless you have permission to share. Being effective at meeting etiquette can make or break your career. You want to be seen as confident, respectful, and capable. Practice these skills and you're sure to stand out from the crowd and be seen as the person to watch in the company.