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Meetings can be a way to focus on business issues, gather input and jointly solve problems. But, many people don’t practice good meeting  etiquette. According to a recent report in USA Today,* attendees ranked the four meeting etiquette pet peeves below as the most annoying.  Here are the faux pas and best practices to avoid them.

Meetings Etiquette: Tips to Avoid the Top 4 Pet Peeves

  1. Not keeping to the schedule. It’s much easier to run a productive meeting if everyone has an agenda, preferably emailed to all attendees before the meeting.  It should list all topics or reports that will be covered and by whom. This allows everyone to come prepared. The meeting facilitator is responsible for sticking to the agenda and deflecting rabbit trails and tangents.
  2. Meetings seem unnecessary. Everyone is busy.  No one needs a meeting that appears to be an expensive waste of people’s time and leaves attendees frustrated and poorly informed. Determine if the meeting is necessary by asking these two questions:
    • What is the objective of the meeting? Can it be accomplished more efficiently and effectively via a group email or conference call instead of holding a meeting?
    • Just because you always have a meeting every Tuesday morning at 9:00, is it really necessary to do this every Tuesday morning? Analyze if it’s necessary and cancel if there’s no real reason to meet that week. Don’t just waltz in and ask, “Well, does anyone have anything today?” like my daughter’s boss did one day to his pre-assembled departmental team. Grrr…!
  3. Attendees using smart phones and laptops for personal reasons. Smart phones, iPads, and laptops can be great devices for taking meeting notes.  But, everyone knows if someone’s head is down, focused on a text, email or Facebook instead.  So, when the meeting starts, ask people to “TTO” – Turn Technology Off – to whatever extent possible, and focus. Phones stashed away results in a more productive meeting and shows you’re a team player.
  4. People interrupting each other.  Everyone wants equal air time. Show courtesy to others by letting them finish before you speak.

Manners matter at meetings. It makes you look good and shows respect to others. And helps the meeting run efficiently and productively!

You may also like to read Smart Phone Etiquette in Meetings 

If you would like additional information on Rachel’s etiquette training sessions for corporate or university groups, please contact Rachel at Rachel@EtiquetteTrainer.com.