The Toe Tapper, the Pen Clicker and the Gum Smacker – Office Meeting Etiquette for Everyone
Whether it is an employee conducting a staff meeting, or a professional organization hosting a monthly luncheon, the “office meeting” can come in a variety of forms. Regardless of who, what, when and where, there are simple rules to follow to ensure you make the most of your meeting and allowing others to do the same.
- Write down notes, not doodles. The worst mistake a person can make in a meeting is not taking notes or pretending they are – and doodling instead. No one has a perfect memory. Just one hour or one day later, you may not remember something discussed in a meeting. Having notes to review is the easiest way to solve this problem and avoid the embarrassment of asking someone for an answer that was already given.
- Do not interrupt. If you have a question, write it down and do not interrupt. When the speaker is finished, then you can ask your question. Some speakers can easily lose track of the point they were making if they are interrupted. Others consider it rude to interrupt if the answer to your question was in the next statement. Waiting until the right time for questions helps the meeting continue to run smoothly.
- Stay engaged and attentive. Not every meeting is going to be exciting. Before your mind begins to wander and you start thinking of your to do list, try to prevent this from happening. Sitting in the front row or close to the speaker is an easy way to maintain focus in a meeting. Making eye contact is also a great way to show someone respect and let them know you are paying attention.
- Keep the distractions to a minimum. Everyone has experienced a meeting where someone is distracting. We’ve all met the infamous toe tapper, pen clicker, gum smacker, throat clearer, deep sigher … you get the picture. Make sure you are not one of these people. It not only distracts those around you but can be perceived as a lack of concern and/or interest in the meeting.
- Put your cell phone away. Unless you have an emergency, your cell phone can wait until after the meeting. Texting and tweeting have no place in a meeting, unless it is specifically encouraged. If you have your cell phone on a table, be sure the vibrate option is off. A phone vibrating loudly on a table is just as distracting as a phone ringing in a meeting.
Following these simple office meeting etiquette rules can help you, the speaker and those around you have an efficient meeting. And who doesn’t love an efficient meeting?
Delisi Araceli Duarte is a part-time legal secretary and a full time student at the University of Texas, San Antonio. She is Miss Latina World 08-09, chair of the nonprofit Guadalupe Home and president of the PRSSA Chapter at UTSA. She will graduate in May with a degree in communication studies and plans to pursue a career in television. Follow Delisi on Twitter at @delisiaraceli.