There are some things in the business world that, once you’ve been around the block a time or two, just start to come naturally. Proper business meeting etiquette is one of those things. Unfortunately, many of these “natural” pieces of business don’t feel natural at all when you are just starting out - and if you never learn the tricks of the trade, then you run the risk of creating bad habits that will cost you business connections down the line.
4 Business Meeting Etiquette Tips No One Ever Tells You
Set an Agenda
Never - and we mean never - assume that the meeting will flow naturally. Whenever you get more than one person in a room to discuss business, there is a high likelihood that you will get off track. And while diverging from an agenda is okay (and is, in fact, productive in itself), it’s crucial that there is an agenda to work off of. If you’ve called the meeting, you should set an agenda at least one week in advance. If you’ve been invited to a meeting, be sure to read over the agenda and let the organizer know if you have any additions at least 48 hours before the meeting begins.
Arrive 5 Minutes Early
This is one of those pieces of business meeting etiquette that either seems obvious or doesn’t, depending on how long you’ve been in the working world. When you’re attending a meeting, always arrive at least five minutes before the scheduled time. There are a plethora of advantages to being the first person in the room - not least that it will give you an opportunity to find the space, get situated, and run through your agenda before the meeting really begins.
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If you’re planning on running a meeting that will go on for more than two hours, it’s important to schedule time for breaks (and lunch!). Proper business meeting etiquette indicates that you should allow everyone at least a thirty minute break for every two hours that you are in the meeting.
Whenever you’re in a long meeting, it can feel impossible to stay focused. Do your best to pay attention to the speaker as you move through the agenda. You’ll probably find that many of the questions you have about a topic have been covered by the time you have the floor. Never assume that you will be able to recall all of the pertinent information after the fact - bring a pen and paper to take notes as the meeting progresses, to ensure that you get as much out of it as possible.
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