We are a “high tech society,” and that means there is an increased need for a sensitive human touch in business.
John Naisbitt, author of “Megatrends,” reminds us of this in his book. Business manners are essential to build relationships in today’s business world. People, who present themselves very favorably, will maximize their business potential.
I am very passionate about business manners and believe very strongly in the results that follow the use of good business manners.
In particular, manners during business meetings are crucial – as the potential for negative impacts is considerable. Improve your business meeting etiquette and you will witness positive results in such forms as attentiveness, comfort, clear communications and trust.
Let’s look at a few tips to ensure good business manners at your meetings, both informal and formal meetings.
For informal meetings:
• The person calling the meeting should be the most senior or the person with the most direct or urgent need in the topical area.
• The meeting chairperson decides the time, place and agenda. The agenda and details should be confirmed with attendees in advance.
• The person chairing the meeting must clearly state to all attendees the purpose of the meeting, the planned length of the meeting and what the expected outcomes will be.
• The chairperson must always start meetings on time and always respect the value of everyone’s time.
• The chairperson must keep the meeting on the agenda.
• The chair must pre-appoint someone to record minutes of the meeting so major decisions and action points are recorded accurately.
• The chairperson must inform those not at the meeting of any results of the meeting that will affect them.
For formal meetings:
• Be prepared for the meeting. Review materials received prior to the meeting.
• Dress appropriately and arrive before the start of the meeting.
• Turn off all mobile phones and other personal electronic devices.
• If appropriate, an agenda item should include attendees introducing themselves.
• Do not interrupt anyone while they are speaking, even if you disagree strongly. Wait until the proper time and be acknowledged by the chairperson to speak.
• Sit in an assigned seat if that is the custom. If you are unsure about seating arrangements, ask.
• Be clear and concise when speaking and be sure what you are saying is relevant to the topic being discussed.
• Honor all requested confidences relative to the meeting.
Never underestimate the value of good business manners.
Good manners are cost effective. They improve the quality of life in the workplace, enhance the company brand, improve employee morale and play a role in the profitability of the company.
Conversely, bad manners carry a high negative cost which may include the loss of a person’s promotion or job and/or the loss of clients and customers and their goodwill.