Etiquette in business comes in a variety of forms – from your choice of attire to how you behave in a meeting environment. This article discusses meeting etiquette and the importance of adhering to it for business success.
If you are a start-up or fledgling entrepreneur in London, you’ll no doubt be wanting to get your face out there and meet as many people within your industry as possible. However, it can all go pear-shaped if you don’t know how to handle that all-important one-to-one meeting situation.
One of the biggest business fundamentals in the corporate world is meetings. They may vary depending on their nature and content, but on the whole, they remain intrinsic to business communications for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Regardless of whether or not your business meeting is in a formal or informal setting, it’s essential that you adhere to the common rules of etiquette in any meeting situation in order to give your business the best chance of a positive outcome and the prospect of a second meeting!
So without further ado, here are our top tips for adhering to meeting etiquette and maintaining a positive, professional image when doing business in London and across the UK:
- Maintain punctuality
Some meetings can be over before they’ve even begun if you fail to show up in plenty of time. You can never be sure whether prospective clients and customers will be sticklers for time-keeping, so it’s always best to arrive in plenty of time for any business meeting. Punctuality is a key characteristic of a good leader and this is a trait that will stand you in good stead in business.
- Don’t forget the introductions
If you are entering a group meeting featuring individuals that may not know one another, ensure you make adequate introductions to break the ice and give each person an opportunity to ‘sell’ themselves.
- Prepare a watertight meeting agenda
Some business meetings may only last an hour; entrepreneurs are busy people after all. However, with so little time and so much to say it can be difficult to stay on track. A rock-solid meeting agenda is an excellent habit to get into, enabling you to facilitate the conversation and maintain focus around the table.
- Sit down appropriately
Particularly for formal, round-table meetings it is imperative that you sit appropriately on your chair. Don’t slouch, don’t sit with your feet on a chair or, worse still, the meeting table itself! Try to adjust your seat so that you’re at equal height with everyone else at the table, so that you are all speaking on the same level, quite literally.
- Don’t interrupt others when speaking
It is not a good trait to talk over others when they are having their say in any type of business meeting. Each person sat around the meeting table is there for a reason, so ensure everyone gets a chance to have their say and that no-one dominates the conversation, constricting the enthusiasm and creativity of others.
- The mobile phone issue
In today’s 24/7, always-on, always connected business world it’s understandable why some people opt to have their smartphones on the table during meetings to check emails and respond to messages. However, in terms of meeting etiquette, it’s not recommended. It can prove distracting to others if they hear the vibrations of your message alerts and see your screen lighting up. It can also indicate to others that you’re not switched on and engaged in the conversation within the meeting. If you really want to create a positive impression, leave your smartphone in your pocket and leave the room briefly if you must make a call or send a message.
- Food and drink etiquette
If you are going to eat during a business meeting, it’s recommended that you first ensure it is acceptable with the entire group. Try to choose a snack that’s relatively inoffensive in terms of its smell and always ensure that you consume your food and drink with class and sophistication – NEVER talk in a meeting with your mouth full!
The unwritten rules of meeting etiquette may not seem like a big deal but they truly can be the difference between securing that next big deal and damaging your reputation.
Conduct yourself with good grace and professionalism and you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression.
Whether it’s a casual get-together or a fierce boardroom presentation, at Workspace we offer a vast range of high-specification meeting rooms and conference facilities perfect to help any business meeting go well. Check out our feature-laden meeting rooms and book the perfect space for your next meeting online here.