Meetings are generally conducted to gain new business, expand the existing business, or clarify the existing business situations. Meetings play a predominant role in the business communication. Business meetings require certain principles to be followed to make it effective and successful.
An individuals’ role in a meeting vary from that of an organizer of the meeting to a participant. The general meeting etiquettes vary from the role played by the individual. If the role played is that of the organizer, the first step is to identify the need for the meeting. The subject to be discussed, the participants, the venue, time allotted for the meeting, etc must be decided well in advance. Only those people who are directly related to the matter to be discussed must be invited. On the other hand, if the meeting is a general one, which requires the presence of everyone in the organization, the details of the same must be informed through the intranet. The time and venue must be flexible so as to incorporate the convenience of the other participants. Once finalized, the agenda of the meeting must be circulated amongst the participants. On the day of the meeting, make sure to be present on time. Never keep the rest of the participants waiting. Introduce the members present if they do not know one another. Start the meeting at the designated time. Maintenance of eye contact with the members present is a must. Time must be allotted for the others to speak. If the meeting is for long hours, breaks should be permitted in between. Never waste time on matters that are irrelevant to the matter of discussion. Take measures to avoid discussions on controversial topics as this will result in unnecessary tensions. Designate someone to maintain notes of the meeting while giving full self attention to the subject of discussion. Always conclude the meeting at the predetermined time. Never take calls or check mails when the meeting is in progress. If the meeting is a virtual one, ensure that the voice is intelligible and then follow the above mentioned etiquettes.
General business etiquettes like arriving on time, keeping the phone in the silent mode etc are to be followed if the role is that of the participant. Never interrupt when another is making her speech. Make it a point never to raise the voice during the course of the meeting. Utilise the time for clarifying doubts and making suggestions related to the subject of discussion.
If the business meetings are conducted over a breakfast, lunch or dinner, the basic etiquettes differ. Call for breakfast meetings only on urgent matters. Always make it brief. If the meeting is held at the early hours, hold it at a venue that is convenient to the other. Never waste time on small talk as the participant must be in a hurry to start her other chores.
If it is a power lunch, spend some time on small talk until the main course is placed. Always start your food only when the rest begins. The food ordered should not be exorbitantly high priced. There is no room for personal likings and disliking in business lunches.
Avoid dinner meetings if possible as most people prefer to spend the evenings on personal matters after the long hours spent in the office. In any meetings, avoid or minimize the level of alcohol consumption.
Adherence to the meeting etiquettes is inevitable for having an effective meeting. Absence can only lead to chaos and unnecessary tensions.