Meetings can be so boring, unproductive and a chore for attendees. You are either trying really hard not to sleep OR you desperately find an escape route through daydreaming.
Nowadays people find their ultimate distraction on their hand-held devices; be it a phone or a tablet, it has become the ultimate escape route and a key etiquette enemy.
This article would be spilt in two; etiquette tips for those calling meetings and the attendees.
When calling for meetings, your single goal should be to have an effective and productive meeting. Effectiveness of the meeting would come from a good facilitator and interactive members. Key etiquette tips to note when calling for meetings;
In putting together a meeting, communication is essential before time and venue are agreed particularly for your key decision makers. Reaching out informally/telephone calls to ask about availability before sending out formal/written notices is considerate and shows your regard for their time. If anything should change, ensure that you communicate all changes immediately to avoid any inconvenience.
Pick a venue that is comfortable and airy especially if you are having quite a number of people in the meeting. Also pick venues that are easily accessible to everyone, easy to find and has parking for the attendees. Also ensure the venue is disability friendly and the restrooms are clean and tidy. If the meeting is within the office, ensure everyone is aware of the place and can find it easily. Ensure your colleagues are aware you are having a meeting in the event the noise levels are heightened and may become a distraction.
Keep to time:
If you have specified that the meeting would be for an hour, ensure that you have drawn up an agenda and you keep to time. An agenda gives structure to a meeting and allows for a faster way to decision making. Before the meeting starts ensure you have a timekeeper to do a time check occasionally. If you start to overshoot on time, discuss with the attendees and ensure an agreement on moving forward.
Ensure you have a good facilitator (this could be you) for the meeting. In drawing up the agenda, ensure the key points to be addressed are placed at the beginning of the meeting when everyone’s energy levels are high. Also ensure that attendees are made to be interactive through questions or whatever method the facilitator wants to use.
Food and drinks:
Dietary requirements have become big all over the globe; you should also pay attention to this. Try and adjust your refreshments to suit vegans and other dietary requirements in line with religion or medical preferences.
Ensure that participants are given reading materials before the meeting dates if necessary or give as they arrive. If a powerpoint presentation is to be done, give the material after the presentation so you don’t have people looking at their material while the facilitator or convener is presenting. This takes their attention away and they may miss crucial issues being addressed.
When attending meetings, it is essential that you keep to these tips, firstly to get the best out of a meeting and secondly to show good social behaviour.
- Keep your phone out of sight: A meeting needs your attention and that you are present in the room. You either put off your phone or put it on the vibrate mode so you don’t miss any urgent call. If you receive an urgent call, excuse yourself and take the call outside of the meeting place. NEVER take a call during a meeting. It is considered rude and a lack of respect for the speaker. DO NOT chat, check the social platforms or send emails whilst at the meeting. If anything is urgent, leave the meeting as quietly as possible.
- Don’t talk over people: When in a meeting, if you are trying to put a point across, ensure you are doing so in a respectful manner even when disagreements come up, don’t not shush or talk over colleagues. Everyone’s point of view is important to know. It may not be right however, it is to be aired.
- Finally, prepare for a meeting: Don’t come to a meeting as an observer unless you have been invited as one. Research on the meeting topic and ensure you participate during the meeting. Make your presence count. You were invited because you were needed.
Make your meetings more than a talk shop. Identify actions to be taken and responsible party(ies). Finally, ensure there is a follow up and execution of agreed resolutions.
Best of luck!