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Office Etiquette: Managing Meetings

Cleaning up your meetings

Regardless of the size of your organization, meetings are essential. Most of us approach meetings with the same enthusiasm as we did in grade school when a meeting with the principal was required. For many, close to a third of the time at work is spent in meetings. Is it possible to make them more productive, less time consuming and fun? Well, fun might be pushing it, but more pleasant is possible.

  1. Be prepared. Schedule on your calendar time to gather everything you need for the meeting. Also plan a few minutes a short time before the meeting to do a mental checklist and get yourself in gear.
    1. Dress appropriately.
    2. Allow time to get to where you need to be and seated before the start of the meeting.
    3. Understand protocol or know how the home team plays: If you don’t know who sits where or if coffee and donuts are acceptable, ask before the meeting. Find out if you will be called upon or if you need to make your presence know. Remember to defer to senior professionals and respect each one’s comments.
  2. Stay on course. Work with the agenda. If you need to schedule another time to meet with specific people concerning side issues, then do so after the meeting.
    1. Appoint someone else to chair the meeting if you are easily distracted or unable to keep the meeting focused.
    2. Focus on what is going on in the room. Phones should not be seen. Do not tap your fingers, text, file your nails, sing or talk to other people in the room.
  3. Be punctual, poised, professional, prepared, polished, and positive.
  4. When the meeting concludes:
    1. Thank those in charge.
    2. Clean up any papers or coffee cups, etc. that you brought in.
    3. Review your notes.
    4. Write a task and target list. Add information to your calendar.

office meeting ettiquette

When you need to schedule a meeting:

  1. Use your company’s accepted method to schedule meetings and invite coworkers checking availability; Outlook, emails, etc. This is not a good time to try out a new app that only you and one other coworker have.
  2. Reserve necessary facilities and equipment for your date.
  3. When sending emails address (To:) to the attendees. (Cc:)to those that will not actually be required to attend but should be aware of the meeting.
  4. Use the subject line to be specific about your topic.
  5. Prepare your agenda and plan. Clearly articulate the purpose and topics or tasks you want to cover by thinking “Tweet” “Tweet” the thought by reducing it to five (or a minimum of) words. Present a clear goal. Make sure everyone has a copy.
  6. Make sure everyone involved has the all information they need.
  7. Again: Be punctual, poised, professional, prepared, polished, and positive.
  8. Assign someone the task of taking minutes or notes.
  9. Make use of your resources. Some members of your team may be young and inexperienced while others may not like change. Ascertain each one’s strengths or gifts and use them for the good of the group. Likewise, be aware of problems that may develop with the different personalities.
  10. Stay on course.
    1. Follow the agenda.
    2. Lead with purpose and a plan. Do not allow distractions or detours.
    3. Keep within your time scheduled.
  11. Conclude your meeting by expressing sincere appreciation for their participation. If someone has questions, dismiss the other attendees and address the questions.
  12. Review/rewrite minutes or notes and send copies to all involved.

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