10 Tips and Ethics for Business Meetings

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Communication and Skills > Best Practices > 10 Tips and Ethics for Business Meetings

10 Tips and Ethics for Business Meetings
Sunday ELKANA (koachkonsult), Manager, Nigeria, Member
No matter how mind-numbing things get, don't be lulled into thinking that meetings aren't important. The fact is, they can make - or break - your career. Here are 10 things you should never do in a meeting:
1. Arrive Late. Nothing says "I'm disorganized" like walking into a meeting which is already in progress. Arriving a few minutes early not only demonstrates that you respect your colleagues' time, but guarantees you get a good seat as well.
2. Be Unprepared. If you've been given an agenda or materials beforehand, read them. Think of any questions you have or contributions you could make to the subjects being discussed.
3. Monopolize the Conversation. When the discussion starts, it is good manners to let more senior figures contribute first. Once they've said their piece, make your points concisely. Don't drone on, or feel compelled to speak at all if you don't have anything useful to say. As the old adage goes, "Better to be thought a fool, than speak and remove all doubt."
4. Make Your Statements Sound Like Questions. Phrasing your statements as questions invites others to say no, argue or take credit for your ideas. Make statements, such as, "Let's do more research on that."
5. Misread Signals. Try to gauge the needs and mood of those in the room. Listen carefully to what people are saying to discern how receptive they might be to your ideas. You need to make your message relevant to your audience. For example, if everyone is focused on cutting costs and you're angling for a system upgrade, you'll either want to stress how the new software will save money, or table your request for another day.
6. Be Intimidated. Unfortunately, some of your colleagues may view meetings as a battleground and themselves as verbal gladiators, sparring for the boss's favor. If you find yourself the victim of a put-down or accusation, calmly defend yourself. If you need to buy time to think, do so with a question that will make your attacker accountable. For example: "Andrew, when did you start thinking I don't care about our sales results?"
7. Chew Gum / Eat. The smacking, popping, cracking and cow-like chewing are annoying. Plus, it's rude and unprofessional. Need we say more?
8. Keep Your Mobile Phone On. You turn it off in restaurants and at the cinema. Turn phones off for your meeting. A ringing phone interrupts the presenter and distracts the audience. And whatever you do, never take a call in the middle of a meeting.
9. Wander Off Topic. Don't hijack the agenda. Stay focused on what you and your team are trying to accomplish. If you must digress into unrelated areas, make sure it's alright with the others present. A good way to handle important issues not related to the topic at hand is to record them on a flipchart and revisit them at an appropriate time.
10. Miss It. Of course, you might get more done if you forgo a meeting to stay at your desk and do your actual work. But if the meeting was called by someone higher up in the organization, you'll miss an opportunity to make yourself known. Remember, in the end, meetings aren't just about productivity; they are also about projecting a positive image and building professional relationships.
 

 
11. Dealing with Disagreements in the Wrong Way
Brita Singh, Professor, India, Member
It is also important to encourage participants by acknowledging their contribution. Even disagreements can be seen as different but valid view points.
Often we can channel or redesign these disagreements to meet the expectations of all.
 

 
Repect and Behavior during Meetings is Important
YAZID K ATIEH, Director, United States, Member
I believe that is completely right! Being late can be understood as disrespect and chewing gum too.
We have to be on the same page where everybody is, so we can read the signals and care for what is being said.
 

 
12. Organize Meetings Poorly
VENKATESWARAN, Teacher, India, Member
Meetings need to be professionally organised! Whereas social gathering and informal meetings with friends and relatives can focus on any contemporary subject, in a relaxed environment, official meetings need to be designed and conducted very professionally, giving and taking knowledge and view points to/from all. The agenda needs to be specific, objectives defined and the time factor has to be very limited as otherwise people will disconnect themselves and only a few will talk and others will doze off.
Basic etiquette needs to be observed and there should be a monitoring leader to keenly observe and take notes and arrange to implement with dead-lines being agreed.
If the agenda is big, it's better to conduct several meetings of smaller duration to sustain the attention and interest of participants.
No rebuking should be done in the meeting but only positive strokes be given. The take-aways should be tangible!
 

 
11: Treat Views by other People Disrespectful
Hannah Wilson, Student (University), Nigeria, Member
@Brita Singh : I suggest to rename the 11th one into:11: Treat Views by other People Disrespectful.
In meetings, we know that not everyone has the vocal powers in speech delivery, subordinates sometimes feel intimidated by their bosses or may prefer not to contribute to avoid making grammatical errors.
This group of people needs to be encouraged and acknowledged in meetings to air their views, because they may have precisely the answers that we need.
 

 
Should we Have a Meeting Everyday?
qqzjessie
In my company, we have a meeting everyday in the morning.
We talk about the job we are going to perform today. I'm tired with it and don't like it. Do you agree?
 

 
Should we Have a Meeting Everyday?
Marl van der Toorn, Manager, Netherlands, Moderator
@Qqzjessie: May be you should read Patrick Lencioni's book "Death by Meetings" to improve the quality of your daily meetings. In short:
Tactical and strategic discussions are addressed in separate meetings
The four types of meetings
1. Daily Check-in (5-10 minutes)
Team shares daily schedules and activities.
2. Weekly Staff (45 90 minutes)
Review weekly activities and metrics, and resolve tactical obstacles and issues. During tactical staff meetings, agendas are set only after the team has reviewed its progress against goals. Noncritical administrative topics are easily discarded.
3. Ad hoc Topical (2-4 hours)
Discuss, analyze, brainstorm, and decide upon crucial issues affecting long term success. During topical meetings, enough time is allocated to major issues to allow for clarification, debate, and resolution.
4. Quarterly Off-site Review (1-2 days)
Review strategy, competitive landscape, industry trends, key personnel, team development.
 

     
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