There are so many types of meetings:
- casual one-on-one coffee catch-ups
- team brainstorming sessions
- working lunches
- after-work drinks
- industry events
- conference and video calls
- huge boardroom meetings that seem to involve half the company (don’t even get me started on the ones where no-one really knows why they’re there, or ones that could have been sorted out with a phone call or email. These days, if a meeting doesn’t have a clear agenda, I’m outta there. But back to the point... ).
No matter the kind, all meetings follow the same pattern:
1. You arrive.
2. You discuss.
3. You reach some kind of conclusion.
4. You leave.
Watch: The two types of work wives. Post continues below.
Depending on who is in attendance, each meeting has its own etiquette. And this isn’t usually something that’s taught. Often people pick this up from experience, or take their cue from the meeting host or the most senior person there.
But without being too dramatic, the way you handle yourself in a meeting can make or break your career.
Consider that an exciting thing because this is an opportunity for you to get noticed and to build your professional image.
Here are some dos and don’ts. These should be tweaked to suit the style of the meeting – a casual coffee catch-up is hardly going to resemble a huge boardroom affair chaired by the CEO, but the principles remain the same.
You want to appear credible and in control and for all parties to leave feeling satisfied that they have achieved something.
Your homework – make sure you’ve read any pre-meeting material and have done your research on the topic. If you’re meeting new people, look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms beforehand so that you know what they look like and understand their background.
Introduce yourself to anyone you haven’t previously met. Use your full name and, in some cases, mention your job title and what you actually do. Practise this in front of a mirror if you need to.
Put your phone away and ensure it’s on silent (not on vibrate). Unless you need to use it to refer to something during the meeting, keep it off the table and in your bag or pocket. And if you do need it during the meeting, use it for that moment then put it back away again.
Doing these things shows that you respect the person or people you’re meeting with and that you’re fully present. In today’s busy world, giving someone your attention can mean a great deal to them, and you’ll be well-remembered for it.