Do you intend to hold a business meeting anytime soon? If YES, here are 10 Practical Business Meeting Do’s and Don’ts you can apply to achieve success. Whether you’re a business owner or an employee in the business world, you’ll have cause to attend business meetings either regularly or on occasions.

These meetings serve as avenues for exchanging ideas and discussing important issues related to business. Due to the importance of meetings in the business world, everyone in business needs to understand basic meeting etiquettes as well as procedures for professional conduct in them. If these are generally understood and implemented, most meetings will serve their purpose and objective.

10 Practical Business Meeting Dos and Don’ts

  1. Avoid distractions

Any serious activity can be ruined by distractions, and business meetings are no exception. Distractions can be so bad that they can defeat the objective of a meeting. So, when going for a meeting, put away everything that can distract you during the meeting.

Nowadays, smartphones are the major culprits. So, switch off your smartphone or tablet during a business meeting. Such devices draw your attention away from the discussion, and being busy with them during meetings can annoy others and send signals that you’re unserious.

  1. Be punctual

This goes without saying, but many people still find the punctuality rule difficult to obey. When you arrive early at a meeting, you’ll send signals that you hold the meeting and other attendees important. And you also give a good account of yourself as someone who values time.

Lateness, on the other hand, passes you off as irresponsible. You sure don’t want others to describe you with that adjective.

  1. Don’t interrupt when others are talking

Though it might be tempting to shut up even your boss when he’s saying things you don’t agree with or you think are just off-point, but part of business meeting etiquettes is that you allow everyone to finish whatever they are saying, whether it contains any benefits or not. Interrupting others while they’re speaking is disrespectful and intimidating. So, avoid this at all cost, even when it’s allowed.

  1. Don’t say irrelevant things

There are times when you get carried away while raising points at a meeting, and you start digressing. Others might be reluctant to shut you up, but the truth is, they won’t be happy with you for wasting their time. So, before contributing at a business meeting, plan what you’re going to say and set limits around it. This will help you avoid going off-point.

  1. Allow senior figures to contribute first

In a business meeting where people of various ranks are present, it is good business meeting etiquette to allow the senior figures to contribute first. This is a good way to accord them respect and as well acknowledge and appreciate their presence at the meeting, and their wealth of experience.

  1. Be careful with humor

Using humor during a meeting is not compulsory. So, if you’re not absolutely sure that you joke will go down well with everyone present, don’t crack one. It’s better that way than to end up creating hard feelings. Just present your points in plain language and let the meeting proceed—and you’ll owe nobody apologies afterwards.

  1. Don’t ask silly questions

Before asking any question at a business meeting, ask yourself if others will see it as a good question. If you’re not sure, then it’s better not to ask such. Why? Because each suggestion you make at a meeting as well as each question you ask sends signals about you. Asking questions that others deem silly will make them deem you a silly person.

This rule is especially applicable when you arrive late to a meeting. Nothing angers people at a meeting more than you asking questions that you wouldn’t have asked if you had arrived earlier.

  1. Speak up

When speaking at meetings, you need to speak loudly enough so that everyone hears what you’re saying. Many people, especially women don’t speak loudly enough at meetings, and this sends wrong signals about them.

Although some people might understand that your voice is naturally not loud enough, nobody likes the fact that they cannot hear what you’re saying. So, if you have a soft or low voice, start learning how to speak louder.

  1. Sit appropriately

In the business world, virtually all meetings are sit-down meetings. When you’re in a business meeting, adjust your chair so that you’re at equal height with everyone else at the table. Sitting too high makes you appear like a nasty boss, and sitting too low makes you seem like the little kid in the meeting.

  1. Clean up after yourself

If you had to drink or eat during a meeting, clean up after yourself and leave everything the way you found them. No, you don’t have to take the dishes back to the kitchen yourself. Just ensure that the table is as clean as before you started eating or drinking.

Ajaero Tony Martins