Everyone wants to project a professional image when starting out in a new role. Inappropriate behavior indicates lack of experience and makes others feel uncomfortable. People want to conduct business with people who are socially and professionally accomplished. Poor behavior reflects negatively on the individual and on the organization. To avoid the mess that always accompanies inappropriate behavior, cultivate a professional image that allows you to navigate the professional environment with ease and comfort.
Business professionalism refers to the code of behavior that is expected of you in a leadership role. Set yourself apart by demonstrating proper business etiquette in meetings. There are eight elements to good meeting etiquette.
- Promptness: Develop a reputation for being on time and you will earn the respect of other organized professionals. Others arrive on time and they will expect you to be prompt too. Nothing is more frustrating to a team than constantly waiting for a tardy participant.
- Greetings: Take the time to greet everyone with a friendly, personal greeting. You will have the time to do this properly if you arrive a little early to meetings so that you can greet others as they arrive.
- Honor the territory: Sometimes the meeting is on your turf and you are responsible for conducting it. When the meeting occurs on someone else’s territory, you should step back and allow them to conduct the meeting.
- Look the part: Whether the other participants in the meeting are in formal business attire or dressed casually, you should do your best to fit in. If professional attire is expected, you should wear it; if you are coming in from a job site, take a few moments to dust off and look presentable. If you wear one, it is appropriate to remove your hat during an inside meeting.
- Listen: In meetings, you should listen at least twice as much as you talk. Keep your eyes and attention focused on the speaker.
- When guests arrive: Take time to introduce the guest to the rest of the group.
- Leaving the meeting: Don’t rush out in a hurry; it will seem like you are eager to get away as fast as possible. Stay behind for an appropriate length of time to help straighten up the meeting room, talk informally with other participants, and ask the facilitator any relevant questions.
- Follow up: Be clear on assignments given during the meeting and be prompt in completing your assignment by following-up with any requested information.
By implementing these basic practices in meetings, you can demonstrate positive etiquette and strengthen your professional standing in the group.