The 8 Most Important Rules of Business Meeting Etiquette
Another meeting that could have been an email? Perhaps. But what about those other meetings, the ones that seal negotiations, ignite sales and bonuses and change a company’s strategic outlook? Unfortunately, memes that ridicule “endless meetings” fail to take into account that very few important decisions will ever be made without some sort of face-to-face interaction. This is why it is important to show up and make a good impression and our etiquette guide will provide the tips you need to do just that.
Manners maketh meeting
1. Come prepared and on time
If you are the host, send a meeting invitation that includes an agenda, time, place and expected duration. Take into account any attendees with special requirements or those joining remotely and make suitable arrangements. If you are on the receiving end of the invitation, always respond, read the agenda and, if asked to speak, prepare your notes and slides in advance to avoid wasting people’s time.
2. Dress to command respect
First impressions are very important and people will make assumptions on your level of expertise, seniority and decision making power based on what you wear. 3 piece suits are the attire of choice for the successful professional gentleman. If you feel your wardrobe could do with some revamping, take a look at why our business & lounge suits have taken boardrooms by storm.
3. Who am I speaking to?
If you are the host, begin with brief introductions starting with the highest ranking person in the room. If you are one of the attendees and you are asked to introduce yourself, keep it brief and relevant to the purpose of the meeting.
4. Let me just take that call
Your mobile phone must be on silent and out of sight. In fact, all our suit jackets come with a handy pocket for you to keep your mobile phone in while the meeting is taking place. Replying to a message, taking a call or checking your mates’ insta photos is just rude but, if you absolutely need to pick up, offer a brief apology and exit the room as quietly as possible.
5. Be present but not annoying
Some people take the power game a bit too literally. It is important to sit up straight and not slouch but don’t elbow people or impose on their space. Speak your mind loudly and clearly but don’t take over from the host, interrupt or attempt to mansplain. Other attendees may stare at you blankly before deciding to exclude you from all future decision making.
6. What’s for lunch?
Unless the meeting invitation clearly states that eating is welcome, do not munch away. No one wants to smell your food, watch or hear you chew and, more importantly, no one can concentrate while your fork aggressively chases that last bean in the bowl. Rude, just rude.
7. Your poor nerves
Sometimes meetings are triumphant affairs. Other times, things are pretty awful. People come up with ridiculous ideas, stick to their guns leaving no room for negotiations or, even, try to push your buttons to see where your breaking point is. At times like this, it is important to remember that you are a gentleman and success is a marathon, not a sprint.
8. Curtain call
When the meeting concludes, and this must always happen by the agreed time, the chair will thank all attendees and indicate what the next steps will be, e.g. when minutes will be sent out, who will follow up on action points etc. Leave the meeting promptly after thanking the chair, otherwise people might assume you don’t have enough work to keep you busy.
Navigating the workspace is as complicated as any human interaction, except the stakes are often higher and, if you put a foot wrong, you may not get a second chance. Some common sense, a fashionable business suit and a basic understanding of etiquette will help you manage any situation. For more useful tips, such as making successful introductions or giving appropriate handshakes, check out our blog and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter for weekly tips, as well as our latest news and offers, delivered directly to your inbox.