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Good Etiquette helps boost effectiveness of any meeting

By Cynthia Grosso 

The America business culture is one of meetings, meetings and more meetings…more than any other country.  Statistics show however, that a large percentage of these meetings may actually hamper productivity. A contributor to this statistic is the fact that meetings are often not well run, not well attended or the content is not efficiently communicated.

Effective meetings are a way for us to interact with each other.  This is tremendously important in an era where email has invaded the office environment and has begun a fast and furious spread of an epidemic of non-personal communication/interaction.

Email is an efficient form of communication. However, communicating in person, either one on one or in a group meeting is critical. When you listen to how something is said, watch the facial expressions used and hear all the implied meanings…these are all components of effective communication…. components that are not possible with email.

Communicating in person is important because it enables people to understand each other more clearly, which helps them to get along better. It also helps to more accurately understand the plans and goals of your organization and get the job done.

The business meeting is usually comprised of the participants and the host or chairperson. In order for an effective meeting to occur all must do their part to respect each other, allowing the maximum productivity to occur.  These meetings are often the only interaction with superiors and co-workers you may have in a day or even in a week. 

This article focuses more on the meeting protocol for the participants.  Following these meeting manners tips allows you be at ease, be likeable and show your professional savvy in the business meeting atmosphere.

  • Be on time or a few minutes early.  Being on time shows respect for another’s time.
  • Turn off cell phones and beepers before entering the meeting.
  • Enter the room with purpose, but wait to be seated or ask where to be seated, if it is not obvious.
  • Sit with good posture and do not slump over in the chair.
  • Acknowledge those around you with good eye contact, a smile or even a verbal greeting.  
  • Refrain from tapping your foot, a pencil or continuously looking at your watch…no nervous habits.
  • Come prepared to take notes.
  • Be a good listener, and absorb the information from those around you.
  • If you do not understand something, ask questions.
  • Be careful about displaying any anger, disagreement or disappointment.
  • Think before you speak.
  • Talk about the team and not about yourself.
  • Avoid interrupting others.
  • If glasses are provided for the refreshments, do not drink out of a bottle or can.

When the meeting is over, speak to the host before leaving. Be sure to not get up and leave the meeting before it is over for any other reason other than an emergency. Moving about in a meeting is not only rude, but is distracting to others and can cause an interruption where information is lost due to a break in everyone’s concentration.  If you know you must leave early, sit in a spot with quick and easy access to the door in the back of the room and let your host know ahead of time. When it is time, slip out quietly and quickly.

Being a polite participant is half the effort for a productive meeting. 

Source: Article published in the Post and Courier

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