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Meeting Etiquette: 7 Manners that will Leave a Lasting Impression

Have you considered meeting etiquette before? We’ll discuss a few suggestions in this article. 

meeting etiquette

Waiting to board a flight back home, I began reflecting on the corporate meeting I just attended. Maybe for the first time ever, I found myself upbeat and positive after the meeting instead of annoyed, tired, and irritated. I realized my attitude towards meetings had changed. Thinking through meeting etiquette actually made the time go by faster. 

You can follow meeting etiquette rules just to follow them . . . so you can be that awful word “compliant.” Or, better yet, you can view these as just natural reflections from a heart of respect and honor. 

Be on time

Some people are just natural morning people, but I generally get down to breakfast in the room (if it’s provided) 30 minutes before the meeting begins. This is because it takes longer than that for the coffee to kick into my system. 

If the meeting starts at 8am, just make sure you’re in your seat before the meeting begins. (Note: I did have a manager write in my “Performance Management” that I got to meetings 10 minutes early, which was later than my other teammates. But most managers aren’t this crazy.)

Follow the dress code 

Most of the meetings I attend are “business casual.” In the past, for me, that meant a polo shirt and khakis. But I’ve found a degree of professionalism can follow what I wear. I’m not gonna be that guy who goes well beyond the meeting etiquette suggestion. You won’t find me in a black suit and tie, but I’ve switched over to wearing button ups and any kind of pant other than khakis. 

Participate

When you actively participate in a meeting, the day goes by a lot faster. I still think whoever invented power point presentations is evil, but at least participation helps get some blood flowing. Raising an arm or standing up provides a bit of physical activity and distraction from the extra long feeling day. Plus, when you participate, you might just get a $5 Starbuck’s gift card. The meeting I attended was a sales meeting, and sales professionals go rabid even for minimal giveaways. 

Help promote high team accountability 

Just behind me in security today, I heard two business colleagues engaging in the fakest of conversations. In simple terms: Accountability is just being authentic with each other. Just be real. Praise the good, but offer up some areas to improve upon. And when you have teammates do the same for you, you’ve found some iron that will sharpen iron. These are the building blocks of a great team.

Pay attention to the presentation

I used to tune out from some presentations when they became redundant or seemed unnecessary. One time I even yawned out loud to get the point across. Not good meeting etiquette. My manager at the time gave me a much deserved lecture afterwards. Bottom line: put yourself in the presenter’s shoes. 

Turn off your cell phone so you won’t be tempted to scroll through social media or at least put it on silent so you’re not “that guy” whose loud buzzer goes off. I’ve been caught several times trying to fish my ringing cell out of my pocket while everyone’s attention is distracted and zeroed in on me. Also, leave the room if you need to take a call.

Don’t drink too much at the social functions

Especially when the company provides an open bar, it seems one person will always take full advantage. Have you ever been at a meeting where someone interrupts a performer so everyone else can hear their take on a song? Especially when slurred, this might not be the best foot to put forward in front of senior management. 

Get to know your coworkers

When you take the time to get to know others, you might just find an incredibly fascinating and inspirational story. But we often don’t get beyond our first impression judgements. Everyone has a worthy story. Will you be the one to draw it out? Besides, you can’t really have a good team if you haven’t taken the time to get to know one another.

Meeting etiquette is much more than rule following. In a corporate environment, everyone is trying to “climb the ladder.” Respect your goals and your ambition, but don’t forget to respect your teammates as well. Irish novelist Laurence Sterne wrote, “Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.”

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