When you walk into a store or restaurant, you probably expect a greeting. When someone wants to get in front of you on the highway, you expect a blinker. And when you are next to someone who sneezes, you most likely expect them to cover their mouth. There are expectations around formalities and manners that make life more pleasant for everyone. Meetings introduce the need for business etiquette so that multiple people from different walks of life can coexist in a work environment that is as efficient and enjoyable as possible.
What is meeting etiquette?
Meeting etiquette, meaning naturally respectful behavior in meetings, does not always come naturally. A definition of meeting etiquette, Wikipedia or other dictionaries, defines meeting etiquette for attendees as a set of rules that create a polite and fair environment.
Think about a time someone showed up late to a meeting. You might not think twice about it the first time but if they are always late for no good reason, you might feel that they do not have everyone’s best interest in mind.
Why is meeting etiquette important?
Business meeting etiquette is important because we are all busy and all have a lot to get done. Working closely with the same group of people in a short span of time requires a balance in participation combined with common courtesies so that people are comfortable and content and can focus on the work at hand.
How to show meeting etiquette
Here are just a few ways one can show or encourage etiquette in meetings:
Sharing agendas in advance of a meeting is a huge way to show etiquette by helping others understand expectations and be better prepared. Use a meeting tool like Docket to create, collaborate, and share agendas and agenda templates with your clients and team.
Being on time shows interest, dedication, and respect. While there can be many factors that make one late to a meeting, it is important for the sake of the group that you are present and ready to go.
Removing unnecessary distractions such as lunch wrappers near a phone, pets barking in the background, or side conversations during a conference call.
Letting remote attendees go first is a great way to be more inclusive. It is much easier to vocalize and contribute in the room due to body language so those on the call could use a little extra help to make that happen.
Rotating who goes first as part of your staff meeting etiquette is a great way to make sure everyone has time to share, especially when you have some on your team that are more vocal than others.
Coming prepared to a meeting is a great way to show meeting etiquette. Reading agendas and pre-reads will help the group be ready to solve problems in their time together. As a manager, adding this as a requirement for meeting etiquette rules for attendees will help create better meeting habits among your team.
Ending on time is not only courteous to those in the meeting but to those waiting for your conference room or those waiting for your meeting guests to show up to their next meeting.
How to educate and influence meeting etiquette
Some companies may officially establish meeting rules about internal meeting etiquette or share meeting etiquette rules through tools such as a business etiquette and professionalism PDF, a meeting etiquette PDF, a professional etiquette PDF, a meeting etiquette poster in each conference room, or a meeting etiquette PPT presentation at the start of a meeting.
Other companies may take a more casual approach such as sharing funny icebreaker videos for meetings that depict bad meetings, funny meetings, or examples of poorly run meetings which may just seem like funny office meeting videos but are meant to create more awareness.
Whatever approach you take, it is important to involve your team so they feel a part of the process to decide what they believe are meeting etiquette do’s and don’ts. You can make it light-hearted and fun by having them discuss their view of meeting comedy, having them create safe meeting etiquette images, researching meeting etiquette 2019, searching for clean etiquette meeting youtube videos or funny board meeting videos, or sharing a collaborative list of meeting etiquette funny considerations that all show a clear view of what is considered good or bad meeting etiquette.
Once defined, create a workplace etiquette PDF that can be shared and prized among those who worked hard to share their ideas and be a part of the process.