Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Channeling Emily Post: Meeting Etiquette II

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some tips on how to be courteous when scheduling a meeting or receiving an invitation to a meeting. Today I present the companion, being courteous during the meeting.

Meeting courtesy begins long before the meeting actually starts.
  • Do your homework: If you've been asked review a document or perform some other preparation, do it at least a few hours in advance so that you can be thorough and have enough time to let it sink in.
  • Prepare your handouts: If you're providing handouts, print them early because the printer will always jam and take longer than "normal".
  • Use the restroom before the meeting.
  • Arrive early enough that you can be ready immediately at the scheduled start time - no waiting to find a find a clean sheet of paper, pour your coffee, or boot your laptop.

During the meeting:
  • Be sure to have brought a notepad, tablet, or laptop so you can take notes. Don't expect that you'll remember everything you need, a handout, or a post-meeting summary.
  • Put your phone on silent and check your messages after the meeting. If your presence at the meeting isn't important enough that you think you can be checking your messages, then why are you at the meeting? If an emergency does come up then the meeting should be postponed so that everyone can participate.
  • Be an active participant - ask questions and offer personal perspective when appropriate.
  • Remain focused on the topic, don't start unrelated conversations with other people in the room.
  • End the meeting on time.

After the meeting:
  • If you uploaded files to the meeting room computer, remove them and turn off all  equipment.
  • Clean up after yourself - if you have garbage (e.g. an empty coffee cup), throw it out; if you provided refreshments, don't leave the remnants in a mess
  • If you've been assigned a post-meeting action item, complete it promptly.

The universal key to etiquette is to be considerate of other people. Treat other people, their time, and their property how you would like to be treated. Keeping this in mind should make meeting etiquette a breeze.

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