Monday, May 18, 2009

10 tips for meeting etiquette

We've all been in meetings where "that" keeps happening over and over again. It might be cell phones ringing, ongoing commentary from the Peanut Gallery, having to backtrack to update those who are habitually late, and the list goes on.

Here are a few simple meeting etiquette tips to help your meetings flow more smoothly.

1. RSVP if you will OR will not attend.

2. Arrive five minutes early if possible or at the scheduled time at the latest. Do not arrive more than 20 minutes early unless you are plan-ning to help (not talk, but help). Allow the leaders a chance to finish setting up.

3. Be prepared. Bring a pen, paper and your calendar.

4. Don’t interrupt unless the speaker asks for comments or questions or unless the speaker invites com-ments throughout. If you have a great question, write it down and ask it at the appropriate time.

5. Don’t distract. Private conversations with others is distracting to the speaker as well as to those around you. Likewise, avoid clicking your pen, tapping, shaking your leg, playing with rubber bands, etc.

6. Turn off your electronics (cell phones, pagers) and put them away. A vibrating phone or Black-Berry on the table is just as dis-tracting as a ringing phone to those around you. If you are expecting an urgent (emergency) call, put your phone or pager on vibrate and sit near the door or exit so that you can leave quietly. Never answer your phone during a meeting. Avoid reading e-mails and texting as well.

7. Speak up. If you have a question to ask, it’s better to raise your hand and allow the speaker to call on you. Also, keep it brief: No one wants to hear another version of the Gettysburg Address. Be concise and clear when asking questions. If you need to, break your question into parts or several questions and ask only one question at a time.

8. Keep on track. Help your facilitator by keeping on track with topics and avoid social chit chat until the meeting is over.

9. After the meeting, complete any tasks assigned to you as quickly as possible and file any notes you have for later review.

10. Be responsible. If you are unable to attend part or all of the meeting, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed.

Taken from the new Leadership Buffet workshop: “Etiquette: the Art of Being Confident While Putting Others at Ease”

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