Meetings are an essential part of any workplace. For it to be successful, you need to adhere to proper meeting etiquette. It fosters respect and a positive work environment. Some etiquette rules termed are ‘common sense,’ but you would be surprised to know how many people make etiquette mistakes.
In this article, we will look at 15 meeting etiquette rules that you must follow without fail. It’s not just professional but also polite.
Top 15 Meeting Etiquette Rules
1. Invite only Necessary People
This is a fundamental business meeting etiquette. You don’t need everyone to join every single meeting scheduled that’s. Invite only those who are relevant to the discussion. For example, if it’s a marketing team meeting, don’t invite people from operations.
Unless their presence is necessary, respect their time, and do not include them in the meeting.
2. Send an Official Invite
Once you identify the purpose of the meeting and people necessary for it, send out an official invite. That doesn’t mean you send them a text message or just tell them verbally.
Send a calendar invite to the attendees, along with the date and time of the meeting. This business meeting etiquette will ensure that the attendees can confirm their attendance and schedule their day accordingly.
3. Prepare an Agenda
Every meeting needs to have a proper plan.
When you detail all the points that the meeting will cover, it will help you and the attendees stay on track for the meeting’s duration.
Keep the agenda simple and send it out a few days prior. The attendees can prepare accordingly for the meeting. This meeting etiquette will ensure efficiency and speed.
4. Be Prepared
We have emphasized the importance of respecting everyone’s time when you set up a meeting. This is another meeting etiquette that you need to follow – be prepared for the meeting.
Check if your slides are in order, your laptop is compatible with the technology and software used in the meeting room, get a pointer, and if the projector is working. Check all these a day in advance to have some buffer time to tackle problems, if any.
Revise your presentation before the meeting so that there are no hiccups on a primary day.
5. Be on Time
Be punctual to the meeting. Punctuality is an important meeting etiquette. If you are late, it conveys that you are disrespecting everyone’s time.
In case you are running late due to an unavoidable reason, inform the attendees instead of keeping them waiting.
Try to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled time. When you can start the meeting on time, you can stay on track and complete it on time.
6. Greet Everyone
Greet everyone who enters the meeting room. It’s not just a polite gesture, but it also helps in establishing rapport with the attendees. Moreover, you must greet everyone with the same degree of enthusiasm and kindness.
Do not be in a rush to start the meeting immediately. Take some time and acknowledge the attendees’ presence. A smile or a simple ‘how are you doing’ will suffice. Do not force a conversation on them or look disinterested if someone strikes up small talk with you.
Remember this business meeting etiquette – do not start the meeting without greeting everyone first.
7. Pay Attention to Names
Imagine going to a meeting where people don’t remember your name or even try to remember it. Not a pleasant thought, right?
That’s why the next meeting etiquette is crucial. Names are the first things that we learn about someone. If you don’t pay attention to names, it may send out the message that you don’t care about them.
If you hear an unusual name and aren’t sure how to pronounce it, ask them sincerely. They will be more than happy to repeat it if you show interest in them. You do not want to butcher or mispronounce their names.
Never call anyone by nicknames in a meeting, no matter how personally you know them. If someone is new, ask them what they would like to be called and stick to that.
It may get tricky to remember names, but do make an effort. If you are terrible at remembering names, be honest about it so that people don’t feel bad or take offense if you forget their names.
8. Give Cues You are Paying Attention
Just like you want everyone to pay attention when you are presenting, it is equally important that you listen when others speak.
Listen actively to them. Gestures like nodding or smiling show that you are engaged and paying attention to what others are saying. This tells them that you value their thoughts and what they have to say.
One business meeting etiquette people often overlook is not interrupting others when they are speaking. If you wish to talk, wait for them to finish, and only then you carry on with what you have to say.
9. Follow the Dress Code
If your office has a relaxed dress code, it’s fine to turn up in a casual dress. However, it is best to dress professionally for meetings. Don’t show up in flip-flops or something inappropriate like sweatpants.
You don’t need to turn up in a professional suit but dress smartly. If your office follows a casual dress code, wear a shirt and jeans. However, if it’s a meeting with essential board members and stakeholders, bring out the formals.
10. Be Polite with Your Phone
An important meeting etiquette to remember is turning off your phone at the start of the meeting. Using your phone during a meeting is quite offensive.
If you expect an important call, put your phone on vibrate and inform beforehand that you may have to excuse yourself. Surfing the net or continuously checking the texts are a complete no-no.
You cannot give your full attention to someone if you are focused on your phone. Make sure you keep it at a distance in the meeting.
11. Watch Your Body Language
Body language can say a lot to others even when you don’t say anything.
Sit upright, smile, and mind your facial expressions. Do not sit with a furrowed brow throughout the meeting. Your body language will play a massive role in how others perceive you. This makes it essential to mind your body language.
12. Pay if You Invite
If you arranged for a lunch meeting with your colleagues, clients, or investors, you have to pay the bill. Period.
It is insulting to expect others to split the tab when you invited them. This business meeting etiquette will put you in good books of others and show that you care about them.
13. Mind Your Table Manners
The next dining meeting etiquette says that you must be aware of your table manners. Start with ordering smartly because eating while talking can get tricky. Stay away from finger foods as it can get quite messy and unprofessional to eat.
Don’t talk when your mouth is full or chew loudly, don’t keep elbows on the table, and do not touch your phone.
At times, meetings can take up a casual tone, but that doesn’t mean you get personal and overshare. Never bring your own life into a meeting. A small anecdote related to the meeting’s topic may be fine, but nothing more than that.
Do not ask people personal questions or put them on the spot, asking inappropriate things. Keep it professional and respect everyone’s privacy unless they want to share something on their own.
15. Take Regular Breaks
If you know the meeting will run long, schedule breaks in between. Nobody can sit through a 4-hour long meeting without a break. People will get restless and may even lose focus and interest.
It is a proper business meeting etiquette to take a break of about 15 mins every 2 hours. If you feel you need a break earlier than that, go for it. Just ensure there are regular breaks for long meetings.
Meetings have a bad reputation as being unnecessary or too long or too dull. It doesn’t have to be that way. Identify tools that can make your presentation or meet engaging and productive.