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How good etiquette leads to good meetings

meetingโ€œRepresenting yourself and your company is a constant responsibility. No matter whether you are one person in a large company or the owner of a small business, your efforts are represented in your actions.โ€ (the Oxford Finishing School)

This is one of those statements that sums up the importance of fostering a culture of good meeting etiquette that should be the basis of how all business is conducted in any successful company. Mutual respect forms the foundation of any good relationship, not least in business, and if all members of a company follow certain rules, it certainly helps to create a positive working culture that can be built upon and further developed for business meetings.

The basic rules

Some of the rules may sound like good common sense, but it is easy to get them wrong if they are not built into the structure of every meeting:

Introductions are so important, and ensuring that people are all introduced at the start of a meeting is important.

Greeting – a good handshake upon arrival is a matter of good manners and should not be neglected. It acknowledges presence and sets the right tone.

Inclusion – ensuring everybody is included in the meeting and knows that they have the right to contribute is important – or else there is no point in having them in the meeting!

No interruptions – no matter how heated the discussion, do not interrupt those speaking. This can be difficult if you have a strong opinion about the matter in hand, but a meeting Chair will guide speakers and make sure that the agenda is adhered to – and that everyone is heard.

Listening – obvious, but sometimes people are so keen to make their own points, they forget to listen to what others have to say!

Phones and other distractions – if you are going to be there, don’t be half somewhere else dealing with text messages and emails while others are making their points!

Punctuality – prompt arrival is essential, there cannot be any excuse for arriving late. You aren’t the only person who is busy!

The framework for meetings

The key to any good meeting is to have a clear, prioritised agenda and to have any stakeholders involved if key decisions have to be made. It can be very frustrating for those taking part in the meeting and lead to feelings that time has been wasted, if no decisions can be made as people are absent. Good preparation will help matters to progress at a more rapid pace in a meeting and, wherever possible, always allow sufficient time for this and make sure the workforce is very aware of the importance of this. Do all your colleagues go into a meeting knowing why they are there and what the expected goal will be? If not, then this needs to be revisited as a basic rule prior to any meeting taking place.

Clarence Thomas once said โ€œgood manners open doors that good education cannotโ€. It is a good quote for any business to refer to as their starting point in fostering a solid basis of respect and confidence in employees. The spin off from this then is producing a format for good meeting etiquette that becomes the standard in all business relationships. This can lead to more productive meetings and better relationships with clients and colleagues.

If youโ€™d like to know how to hold more effective meetings, then we have training available that can help ensure meetings are concise, yet productive, and are of benefit to the business.

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