Things Not To Do During A Business Meeting

If you lead or attend business meetings related to your job or perhaps to your community role, here are some things you should never do.

Meetings are an indispensable part of the corporate world. From a business lunch to a committee meeting or a training session, meetings provide the opportunity to network with colleagues for a productive group approach to solving a problem.

If you lead meetings or attend them as a participant, you know that some people do things that disrupt the flow of productivity. In addition to following these tips yourself, you may want to post them in the office or distribute a set of guidelines with the next meeting agenda.

1. Don't come unprepared to the meeting. Being overly tired, hungry, sleepy, ill, or bored brings a potential problem to the board room. Instead, eat, rest, and plan well before the next meeting. If you don't feel well, opt out rather than contaminate everyone with viral germs. Read suggested materials in advance and jot down questions or observations to share with the group. When the meeting begins at 1:01 p.m., be ready to jump in and do your part.

2. Don't speak out of turn. Raising your voice, needless debate, heckling, criticizing, complaining, gossiping, whispering, laughing, joking, and humming are sure-fire ways to bother other attendees and interrupt proceedings. The speaker will not appreciate these actions, either. Plan to speak up when you have something worthwhile to say that will keep things moving along, but otherwise keep quiet and maintain a respectful attitude. After all, the speaker put a lot of time into organizing the session, and no one wants to waste time trying to hear when someone continues to be disruptive.

3. Don't argue with others. Disagreement is fine, but needless debate wastes everyone's valuable time. After sharing your dissenting view, wait to see how others will respond. If things don't go your way, contact the target person(s) after the meeting to continue the discussion in friendly fashion. Avoid rabbit trails and circular reasoning.

4. Don't demonstrate rude body language. Sleeping (especially if snoring), spinning your chair, leaving the room frequently for restroom breaks, getting up to pace or get several cups of coffee (unless others do, too), and making physical gestures or disapproving facial expressions should be saved for another occasion. Business meetings are serious business.

5. Don't sit silently. Refusing to participate may earn you a label as someone who can't get things done. Be ready to share a viewpoint or make a suggestion. Listen to others and take notes, if appropriate. Engage in the discussions in one way or another; otherwise, don't bother to show up.

6. Don't shut down when the meeting ends. Abandoning the work done in the meeting or forgetting what you heard or learned is non-productive. Hold on to handouts and start thinking about how you will implement the session's strategies. If you still have questions or uncertainties, contact the speaker or leader for clarity, or do your own research.

Get the most from your meetings by contributing as a participant, not just going along for the ride. Not only will you help other attendees, you also will benefit from the investment of time and effort.

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