Three Basic Rules of Proper Business Meeting Etiquette

Individual behavior conveys a great deal about who you are as a person, both professionally and personally. Most of the time good common sense, allows us to know what acceptable behavior is and what it is not, especially when we are in a business meeting. Your professional demeanor or lack thereof can contribute to making or breaking a business deal and will also affect how your clients, your supervisor and your co-workers treat you in a work environment. That is why it is very important that you use proper business etiquette when attending any type of meeting.

Basic rule number one of proper etiquette is to always be punctual whenever you are going to a meeting.

If you’re able to, get there a few minutes early even better. This demonstrates to the other attendees that you care enough about the meeting to show up early and that you are an attentive participant. Be polite and shake the hand of the person who is hosting the meeting and to thank them for inviting you to participate.

Basic rule number two is that you should always be properly prepared and have everything in order for the meeting.

It is a good idea to know what the meeting is about and do some research on the topic, so that you will know in advance what is most likely going to be discussed. Bring any supporting documents and other information that will enable you to be an essential asset during the meeting. By being prepared and having researched the topic prior to the meeting you will be in a position to advise your manager and co-workers more effectively on the subject as well as being able to knowledgeably ask and answer questions regarding the subject at hand. By being properly prepared for the meeting you are demonstrating to your employer, clients and co-workers that you are well organized and focused.

Basic rule number three of proper etiquette is to be courteous and pay attention during your meeting.

You should never speak out of turn, be impatient to get your own point across or talk over those who are attempting to make a point that is different from your own. Don’t do anything else while another person is speaking during the meeting, because this exhibits a lack of interest and a lack of respect for the other person.

If it is up to you to host the meeting, you should be well prepared and give all the participants advance notice of the date, time and location of the meeting. Send e-mail invitations, as well as office memos, which will allow your co-workers time to prepare in advance. You should also inform your co-workers of the topics that will be discussed and provide them with a detailed agenda. Your meeting should have a definite start and end time so that items on the agenda can be discussed more efficiently. If you have guest speakers or presenters you should ask them how much time they will require for their presentations and schedule accordingly. This will keep the meeting moving smoothly without too much time lapse between topics. Guide the progression of the meeting by staying on track and focusing on the key points.

Above all, be diplomatic, calm and avoid arguments. As the meeting comes to an end, summarize the topics discussed and wrap up everything. If a follow-up meeting is required let the attendees know that you will inform them of the time and place. Remember that using proper business etiquette when attending any type of meeting is vital to the success of your professional career, so always put your best foot forward and mind your manners.

Catering for Business Meetings

Many organizations these days ask help from one another in implementing some of their projects. That’s why partner firms will meet with one another to talk about many choices and issues pertaining to their companies. Business meetings could take several hours or even a day or two before company officials decide on essential matters. On this note, it is crucial that you invest in catering that will please your clients. Good catering for business meetings can help build good relationships with your clients and suppliers.

Just like organizing any event, catering for meetings is rarely an easy task. A lot of things must be put into perspective. Such things that should be taken into consideration are the number of guests, their location, drinks and food to be offered, location of the venue, venue set-up and of course, the company’s budget. Smooth running meetings can take place when all things are evaluated. It is therefore important to follow these rules when catering for business meetings:

  1. Number of guests. When catering for business meetings it is extremely vital that you take note of the number of people that will be participating in the meeting. Determining whether a small-group or a large-group will come to the meeting can help you look for venues that can fit all these people and also help you plan the menu.
  2. Budget. Catering for business meetings may be quite pricey. That’s why it is crucial that you request for a budget that will be able to accommodate the needs of your expected number of guests. It is also essential that you spend this budget wisely on things that can make your business meeting a good one.
  3. Location and time. Knowing the location is crucial as some of your expected guests may not be able to come if you choose a location that is too far from their offices. For the venue of the meeting, this could range from a small conference room in your company office or a more spacious function room at some hotel. Therefore, the venue size will depend on your number of guests. Also, knowing the time of your business meeting will help you with the catering preparation.
  4. Food and drinks to be served. It is very important to have a well-planned menu when catering for business meetings, so knowing the number of guests to avoid shortage in food and drinks is critical. Also, there should be a variety of food and drinks so that your guests will have a lot of options.
  5. Setting up. Once you already know the number of your guests, the budget allocation, the location and time and the menu, setting up for your business meeting is the last step. This entails setting-up the venue with decorations, tables and chairs and other equipment necessary for the business meeting.

Catering for business meetings is also demanding much like preparing for an important event if you don’t know where to start. It gives you plenty of control in managing the timeline and the meeting’s environment. It is a way in building a good relationship with your clients and suppliers. Remember the key aspects that you have to put into consideration when catering for business meetings: guests, budget, location and time, menu, and setting up. With all these in mind, you will surely have a business meeting that can smoothly run.

Getting the Most Out of a Business Meeting

Most of us spend a large part of our work day going from business meeting to another without bothering to assess if we are actually gaining anything out of them. Is there a way to make business meetings more productive?

In order to make the most out of a business meeting you need to improve the productivity of each such meeting. Every meeting should extract the maximum possible for the duration that it lasts. Do not try to make a meeting cover everything under the sun. Instead, try to make sure that the items on the agenda for the particular meeting are covered effectively. At the end of the meeting, the participants should leave knowing the tasks that they need to accomplish.

Here are a few more tips to get the most of out your business meetings.

Business meetings should never be held on an ad hoc basis. You should prepare for a meeting in advance. Start by listing the objectives of the meeting. These objectives need to be clear, specific and measurable. These will help you check if you have covered the meeting goals. You will also waste less time trying to get to the point. List out the expectations or results that you expect from the meeting. During the course of the meeting, encourage the other participants to contribute with their ideas and opinions so that you have their buy-in. The more involved people are, the quicker you will be able to see results. Focus on the bigger issues at hand and do not let tertiary issues take over the meeting. Allow the tone of the meeting to be casual but do not let that make the participants treat the meeting as being frivolous. Leave the jokes for later.

Do not invite people to business meetings unless their presence is required. Just invite those who can actually contribute to the agenda of the meeting. This avoids wasting time for those people who are not really required. Business meetings should be held in a pleasant environment that makes the participants feel relaxed and comfortable. If required, you could rent out an office or conference venue for the meeting so that people have the opportunity to unwind.

Although you have prepared the points that need to be made do not be in a hurry to get to them immediately. Set a steady pace for the meeting and start by making everyone feel comfortable. The tempo should neither be too slow nor too fast.