Top 3 Meeting Etiquette Mistakes To Avoid

By on November 28, 2012

When you are someone who is invested in getting the most out of an office meeting, you may wonder if you are treating everyone well and fairly. Whenever you get a lot of people into one area, even if they are people who know each other fairly well, you’ll find that it is possible to step on toes or to commit social errors that will haunt you for quite some time! The truth of the matter is that there are quite a number of meeting etiquette mistakes that plenty of us are prone to, and if you find that you are making any of the mistakes that are listed below, it is time to stop!

Negativity
Sometimes, you know that a project has gone wrong, and it needs to be stopped where it is. However, there are a lot of people who do not have your expertise or your insider information! This is why, when you are very negative about something, people start to look at you like you are just being incredibly negative without cause. On top of that, you’ll find that by being loudly negative, you are going to be making the people around you feel attacked. This in turn creates a hostile environment, and it is a deadly social mistake on your part!

Before you say something negative at a meeting, stop and count to five. Review what you are going to say in your head, and make sure that people know that you are attacking the idea, not them personally. While you should not put qualifiers on your speech, like “I think,” or “I feel,” neither should you be too forceful. Start by laying out the facts, and then give them your summation. This can keep you from getting too many people upset.

Inattention
We’ve all been there. Someone is talking about something that you already know about, or the topic of the meeting has veered from something where you can contribute. The temptation is to simply zone out or to reach for something in your bag or your wallet. Though there may not be a good reason for you to keep listening, the truth of the matter is that you do need to be polite to the speaker.

Public speaking is a bit fraught at the best of times, and if you show them that you are not listening, you are doing them a great disservice. Sit up straight, make eye-contact with the speaker, and look interested in what they are doing. This will give you a lot more good will in general from the room, and that is important when it is your turn to speak.

Timeliness
There is an old saying that states that tardiness is the height of rudeness while punctuality is the height of respect. If at all possible, be at the meeting at least five minutes early. If you are late, you are essentially telling everyone else in the room that their time is less valuable than yours. If you want to make sure that everyone knows that you are properly respectful and eager to get started, be on time. If you are someone who is chronically late, do not expect this to be excused time after time. Simply start building in plenty of time to get where you are going.

If you want to make sure that your business meetings go smoothly, take a moment to learn more about what you have to do. There are some essential tips out there for keeping things polite, so consider how you are coming across in the long run. This is something that can make a huge difference to the way that you move forward at your business.

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Margret Gordon is a business executive and guest author at Top Business Degrees, where she co-authored the guide to the Top 10 Best Online Business Schools.

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