Work isn't always fun, and work meetings even less. But when you're required to attend one, it's important to be respectful and professional among your managers, colleagues, and clients. To help you in your work life in 2016, here are the top tips from Barbara Pachter, career coach and author of The Essentials of Business Etiquette.
1. Pre-meeting mingling
Go up to people and introduce yourself, or make small talk (no matter how little you know one another). If everyone doesn't know one another in the meeting room, break the ice and make introductions, starting with the person of the highest rank.
2. Stand when you're being introduced
Besides being respectful, standing helps establish your presence. It's much easier for others to ignore you or get a bad impression if you don't stand.
3. Get to the point
Yes, you are making small talk. But that's no reason to reveal unnecessary information. There are limits in all professional settings so it's best not to make a fool of yourself.
4. Higher-ranking etiquette
If you're hosting the meeting or the higher-ranking person in the conversation, regardless of gender, you should extend your hand first.
5. Be punctual
No matter your position, you don't want to waste anyone else's time by being tardy.
6. Adjust your chair
So that you're at equal height with everyone else at the table. It's also best not to cross your legs because it can be disrespectful or distracting in a professional setting.
7. What's the dress code?
Clothing can greatly enhance or detract a person's professional reputation. So make sure your attire falls within the guidelines.
8. It's okay to hold open a door
But don't pull out someone's chair for them. Leave those social gender norms behind in the 20th century.
9. Prepare yourself
Know the content of the meeting beforehand and know what your part in it is. There will be questions and some of them will be for you.
10. Don't digress
If you stray from the agenda, chances are you're going to lose your audience. If you do, make sure to have a co-worker who can manoeuvre you in the right direction.
11. Speak loudly and speak early
Make sure every single person at the table can hear what you're saying. To make the most impact, find something meaningful to add at the very beginning so people know you are there. Don't save all your questions for the end when everyone's ready to get out. Don't be “that” person.
12. Understand the unspoken rules
While it is impolite to interrupt others, sometimes you have to. Understand your position and get your position across so that you can have a productive meeting.
13. Keep your phone in your pocket
If you can, avoid taking notes in your phone. It's easy for others to get the impression that you're doing something else. It's also easy for you to get distracted. Set your phone on silent and step outside if you have to make that call.