Business Meeting Etiquette

Business Meetings 101

Why do we have meetings anyway?

In the age of instantaneous communication, there often becomes a need to disseminate information to a group of people, and having a conversation with each of them is impractical and inefficient. Even with all the technology available nothing is as effective as a meeting of the minds.

But why not send an email already?!?

Although email is very efficient at sending messages, there are a few problems with email that the meeting solves.

  • Quick Responses Unless everyone is sitting down reading the emails at the same time and responding to everyone else, emails just wont work.
  • Brain Storming Often someone's comments will spark an idea or question from someone else.
  • Immediate Retention  After the meeting, everyone is on the same page. All at one time, with no lag while waiting for someone to read their email.

Basic Rules of the Meeting

  • Only ONE speaker at a time.
  • Everyone Else is listening.
    • If you have a question or comment, raise your hand. Once the speaker addresses you, speak your mind knowing that everyone else will be listening to you now.
  • Leave Your Neighbor Alone.
    • Conversations going on while someone is talking is not only disrespectful, but defeats the point of the meeting. Questions and comments are welcome! We just all want to hear.
  • Turn your cellphone to SILENT.
    • If you need to take/make a call. Politely and quietly excuse yourself to the hall and take care of it.
    • DO NOT PLAY GAMES AND NO FACEBOOK! Pay attention and show the speaker respect.
    • No Texting. Just wait till the end of the meeting or excuse yourself quietly.

Label the listener and the speaker in this picture.

  • Speaker
  • Listener

No Cellphones?!? So what should I bring then?

  • Notebook and pen/pencil
    • Always a good idea to have a way to jot down notes! This way if you have a comment or question, you can write it down for when it is your turn to speak.
  • Reference Material
    • If you're going to a meeting on health benefits, it may be a good idea to have the health benefits booklet or print out any emails concerning your health benefits. This way of you do have questions or comments you have something to support your comments and/or questions.

But what if I get thirsty?

We are all adults here, and with that comes a few basic responsibilities.

  • Drinks and a snack are more than acceptable. Just keep a few things in mind.
    • Don't eat/drink noisy items.
      • Nothing will bring more unwanted attention than cracking open can of coke or rustling through a bag of chips in the middle of a meeting.
      • Maybe a bottle of water and dried fruit.
  • Clean Up After Yourself!
    • The host/speaker at the meeting is not the janitor as well. Leave the area as good or better than it was when you got there.