“Hi. Bob joined”
“Hi. Susan joined”
“Hi. Joe joined. Sorry I’m late. Blah blah blah”
“Bob could you explain blah blah blah?”
“Bob, are you there?”
“Oh sorry, I was on mute and had a complete conversation with myself.”
“Let me begin again, so at a high level the synergy has been blah blah blah.”
“This is a great idea Bob, but does team orange have the bandwith for this out of the box thinking or should we table this conversation so that we can circle back with them for a pow wow on this topic so that we can move the needle with this project?”
“Let’s run it up the flagpole.”
We have all been in those meetings where if only we had a bingo board filled with phrases that should not be spoken at a meeting, we could have called bingo within the first couple of minutes. If you aren’t sure what these phrases are check out the 9 most annoying phrases people use at work article.
I used them all above. You know you have likely said them, by accident of course. Beyond avoiding the use of the 9 most annoying phrases at work, here are the unwritten rules of meeting etiquette.
- Be on time. Everyone around you is busy and made it to the meeting on time.
- Introduce everyone in the room. If you are meeting with a reoccurring group, this may not be necessary each meeting. Business etiquette rules state that you should begin with the highest-ranking attendee.
- Considering announcing yourself on a call or not. Hosting a meeting in 2020 generally occur over Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc where everyone can see who is on the phone. Consider if you need to announce yourself. Question if you should announce yourself during the middle of someone speaking when you are late or simply wait for a break in the conversation. A pro tip for the meeting host, do a roll call at the beginning of the meeting.
- Consider if a meeting is truly necessary and avoid last minute meetings. Surprise meetings rarely achieve the anticipated level of productivity. At times these ad-hoc meetings are necessary. However, if employees are always on the lookout for the last-minute meeting, they aren’t focusing 100% on their work.
- Emails are great but sometimes a meeting is better. Does there appear to be confusion? If so, pick up the phone and speak with the person. If there are more people involved, schedule a short meeting to clear up the confusion.
- Be prepared. Consider either sending out an agenda in advance or outlining the agenda within the body of the appointment. Explain the background of why you are meetings and the goals or purpose of the meeting. Unless this is an information giving meeting, send out the documents in advance so that the attendees have a chance to familiarize themselves with the information. Agendas should be sent at least the day before. Do not send out an agenda 5 minutes before the meeting starts.
- Speak loudly but do not interrupt others (unless it’s the only way to be heard). Often attendees have great points and ideas, but nobody can hear them. Be sure to speak loud enough so that everyone can hear. However, do not interrupt the speaker. Wait for a natural break in the speaker’s presentation. Ask questions through out the meeting unless you are told to hold all questions for the end.
- Put your phone away (link to the triple dog dare). If only it was proper etiquette to take someone’s phone and throw it out the window when they are scrolling through Facebook during a finance meeting, l would have tossed a lot of phones out the window. Studies have shown that even if your phone is on silent and screen down, you are distracted.
- Bring a drink but nothing more. Please do not bring reheated fish to a meeting. If you plan on eating, make sure the whole group is ok with it. If you schedule a meeting during lunch time, include a note in your meeting for others to bring their lunch to your working lunch meeting.
- Push in your seat. If you are reading this article, you have likely graduated from Kindergarten and do not need someone to sing the Clean Up Song for Children at the end of a meeting. Your coworkers are not your personal cleaning team. Their job is not to clean up your mess or push in your seat.
- End the meeting early. Again, everyone around you is busy and do not appreciate being put behind schedule.
What would you add to the list of meeting etiquette?