Central to our model for effective meetings is Meeting Etiquette. On the MeetingArk website you can find discussion groups about Meeting Etiquette, and a set of FAQs (and answers) relating to Meeting Etiquette.
Our discussion groups on Meeting Etiquette covers a number of topics, starting with attire. How formally or informally should you dress for meetings? Why dress differently for videoconferences, compared to in-person meetings? Should you dress to impress when meeting people from outside your organisation? These and many other questions are likely candidates for this topic.
The next topic is timekeeping. Poor timekeeping is one of the most common bugbears cited about meetings. And that includes people joining late. There are plenty of techniques that can be employed to keep meetings on time and we’d like to hear your suggestions in this discussion group.
Related to timekeeping, there is also a discussion group on breaks and interruptions. Long meetings, say longer than two hours, usually benefit from breaks to keep attention and motivation high. But how do you ensure the meeting reconvenes smoothly? Also, the longer the meeting, the greater the risk of interruption or of someone being hauled out for another urgent task. We think these are fruitful topics to discuss.
Courtesy and respect play an important part in helping meetings run smoothly. But we should recognise that people have differing views about this topic. Is the old saw of “treat others as you would like to be treated” sufficient? If not, what other elements of courtesy and respect are important?
The use of humour in a meeting can be fraught with difficulties and therefore merits discussion. Humour can often be used to relieve tension or defuse difficult situations, which makes it useful in meetings. Laughter and other responses to humour can often be good for wellbeing. However, most humour is culturally specific and used inappropriately can offend.
Differing levels of seniority of participants in a meeting can present problems. Junior or new attendees can easily feel overawed, although some may over-compensate and try too hard to impress. Senior or more experienced participants can help the junior ones feel more at ease. But equally senior managers may have concerns about confidentiality or discussing sensitive topics with junior colleagues present. What are your experiences of these issues?
All of the above topics can have different connotations and varying levels of importance in differing cultures. Being sensitive to other cultures is very important in meetings with people from different countries and backgrounds. There are also completely different approaches to meetings in some cultures – we are mindful that we approach meetings from one particular cultural viewpoint, so insights from other cultures in this discussion group would be most welcome.
We hope you find these discussion groups useful and that you will contribute to some or all of these discussions about Meeting Etiquette.