Business meetings are a great way to share information, regroup and discuss upcoming projects and initiatives. Meetings are usually between 1-2 hours long (can be longer in some cases) so it’s best to be prepared and maximize the meeting time you do have.
Here are a few etiquette tips for a successful business meeting :
1. Schedule your meeting well in advance
Make sure you provide enough notice for your meeting so participants can make themselves available. External meetings should be scheduled 2 weeks in advance. Internal meetings can be scheduled on shorter notice, 24-48 hours in advance. Try to choose a location that is convenient for all parties involved; a familiar place that is fairly close to everyone and has the same amount of travel time, if required.
2. Confirm your meeting ahead of time
Although you provide adequate notice for your business meetings, it’s always a good idea to confirm your meeting date and time. This should be done 24 hours before the meeting for external meetings, and 2-3 hours before the meeting time for internal meetings. If you’re a participant you can also contact the host or meeting chair to confirm your attendance.
3. Set an agenda
An agenda lets all participants know what to expect at the meeting. When participants know what will be discussed ahead of time they can prepare whatever materials they need for the meeting and optimize meeting time. Agendas should be sent out prior to the meeting (about a week in advance for external meetings and a day in advance for internal meetings).
4. Arrive early if you’re the host
If you are hosting or chairing the meeting arrive a few minutes before your co-workers or participants. This will give you time to make sure the meeting room is ready so you don’t take up meeting time re-arranging chairs or looking for stationary.
5. Power down
When you’re at a meeting your cell phone should be on silent and kept off the table. Resist the temptation to check your phone. Texting, emailing or even accepting calls during a meeting is extremely rude and unprofessional
6. Don’t Chit-Chat
Although some meetings can get a little boring and mundane avoid engaging in your own private conversation with someone during the meeting. This is distracting to other participants and very disrespectful to the meeting chair or host. Maintain eye contact with whoever is speaking and give them your full attention.
7. Take minutes
Minutes help participants keep track of exactly what went on at a meeting. Having a designated minute taker ensures all meeting proceedings will be noted and tracked. Minutes should be distributed 24-48 hours after the meeting so it’s still fresh in the participants’ minds.
8. Follow up
You should always follow up with your meeting participants a few days (24-48 hours) after the meeting. This can be done via email or over the phone. Make sure everyone understood the purpose of the meeting, address any questions that may arise, and review delegated tasks or projects if any.
Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world. She can be reached via Website, Twitter, Facebook or her Blog.