How many times have you attended meetings that started late, were disorganized and unproductive? What a waste of precious time, talent, and energy! Inefficient office gatherings may make you reluctant to attend the next one, and skeptical that anything valuable will come of it. Yet for many companies, department and office meetings are a necessity.
A smart office pays attention to business etiquette which can result in greater attendance, efficiency and higher productivity during and after the meeting for everyone involved. When attendees know what to expect, what is expected of them, and proper protocol is followed, everyone feels respected and valued for their contribution. Inevitably, staff will feel more eager to produce results, which leads to higher productivity all around.
Intraoffice Meeting Etiquette
Here are my top 15 recommendations for in-office business meeting etiquette:
- Give two to four weeks’ notice. Follow up with reminder emails, texts, or hard-copy, one week prior and the day prior to the meeting. Ask attendees to R.S.V.P.
- Provide an agenda at least one to two weeks prior. Include the purpose, names of attendees expected, location, time, and duration. Follow up with a reminder agenda in the emails, as stated above.
- Dress appropriately in business attire, to show respect to all in attendance and to the nature of the business at hand.
- The host or hosts should be in the meeting room at least ten minutes prior to start time, to greet attendees and make introductions, if needed.
- Hot and cold beverages should be offered for self-service.
- The room should be comfortable. Check the temperature, provide adequate seating for everyone, and adequate table space if attendees are expected to take notes or work during the meeting.
- Hard copies of the agenda should be provided at each seat.
- Start the meeting on time.
- When the meeting is called to order, ask that all mobile phones be silenced. Also request that, if there is to be discussion, only one person speaks at a time.
- The host or speaker should be at the front of the room where he/she is easily visible to all.
- Stick to the agenda. If more time needs to be spent on a particular item, arrange for another time to continue that discussion.
- Keep voices low, considerate, and respectful.
- Invite feedback and respect others’ opinions. Acknowledge positive contributions.
- Summarize decisions, conclude, and thank all participants for attending.
- End on time, or as close to it as possible.
Meeting Etiquette When Hosting Visitors
If you are hosting visitors to your company or corporation’s offices, it is especially important to follow business and reception etiquette in order to create great first impressions. These visitors may include current or prospective suppliers, customers, partners, or interview candidates. Good business etiquette means making them feel comfortable, appreciated, valued, and respected.
When hosting outside guests, follow the above recommendation as well as these additional six points:
- Alert front desk reception what time guests will be arriving, if you have a live receptionist.
- Ensure that guests are quickly escorted to the meeting location.
- Guests should have access to restrooms, the Internet, pen, and paper.
- If the meeting will be during mealtimes or longer than three hours, provide light, healthy snacks as well as beverages.
- Make all necessary introductions so that guests have met all attendees. Introductions are made with a firm handshake, eye contact, and appropriate greeting.
- At the conclusion of the meeting, thank your guests for coming and accompany them to the door.
Conclusion - Meeting Etiquette Matters
There is significant value in great visitor reception in terms of productivity, corporate image, branding and reputation. Follow business meeting etiquette and you’ll see the benefits in the attitudes of staff, in your business relationships, and over the long term, in your bottom line.
Marian Rothschild, AICI FLC, is a Certified Personal Image Consultant, speaker, best-selling and award-winning author of Look Good Now and Always, available on Amazon. Marian helps successful professionals upgrade their complete personal image for polished presence and stellar success. Visit www.marianrothschild.com and contact Marian to help upgrade your image with intention, direction and consistency.