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Seven Meeting Etiquette Rules Not To Forget

Business meetings are held for a variety of reasons, but one common characteristic is the sharing of information with others. As in dining, there are rules of etiquette that go along with meetings. I cannot believe the number of times I have been to meetings and some individuals in the room exhibit unprofessional business etiquette.

I recently was leading a meeting of business owners and managers who meet together to generate ideas and resources for growing their businesses. One person�s cell phone rang in the middle of a presentation and instead of silencing it, they answered the phone. Not only did they answer it, they carried on a conversation for a brief time. I was appalled at the lack of courtesy.

I think it would probably be true to say that most people in business are aware of etiquette rules for meetings but I thought I would share my top seven:

~~Do not put your Blackberry, Treo, or other email organizer on the table. What does this do? Every time an email is received it causes a vibration that is echoed through the table for the whole room to hear and causes as much a distraction as if the phone had rang. Turn it off.

~~Do not arrive late, make excuses to everyone while the presenter is speaking, and then go in search of coffee. If you arrive late, step in quickly and quietly while taking your seat. The less interruption the better.

~~Do not leave your cell phone turned on. This goes along with #1. We all know what an interruption this causes.

~~Do not talk on your phone during the meeting. Just in case you forgot to turn it off, do not answer the phone in the middle of a meeting.

~~Do not carry on a conversation while someone else is talking. I cannot believe the number of times I have witnessed someone trying to carry on a conversation with another in the middle of a presentation.

~~Do not come to the meeting unprepared. Prepared means in the way of carrying a pen, pencil, paper, notepad; whatever it takes for you to be ready if information is shared.

~~Do not make your presence known by making noises. Noises being pen or pencil tapping, paper shuffling, coughing continuously. If necessary, leave the room.

If you are a manager and have people who frequently display a lack of business etiquette, consider offering a mini-seminar to your department. Not only will it reinforce positive behavior but it will get your message across without you verbalizing it.

For those individuals hoping to aspire to a certain level in business, learn and practice good business etiquette. If portrayed correctly it will help to launch your position in business and you will always be a welcome presence with your peers.

Submitted by:

Carole DeJarnatt

Carole DeJarnatt, President of Alliance Advisors, Inc., a business advisory/coaching service for development of strategies for greater success in the future. Visit the company website at Alliance Advisors, Inc.


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