No matter the type of office
environment you work in—formal dress or casual, customer or data orientated,
there are certain unwritten rules for etiquette and behavior on a daily basis.
When you’re in a business meeting however, those standards are raised slightly,
more so if it is a meeting with people outside of your workplace than if it’s a
meeting among staff members. Here are some things people tend to overlook.
meeting with a client, you may want to consider dressing up a little more than
you usually do. If your workplace dress code is casual, think about wearing
khakis and a polo shirt or for women, a satin blouse. Wear loafers or black
sneakers or dressy flats. You never know how dressed up the other company’s
people will be—they could be in business suits--so making that extra effort
shows your professionalism and respect for their business. You are recognizing
the significance of the time they took to meet with you. If your company’s
dress code is already very professional, take extra care to be sure your
hairstyle is polished, your makeup and accessories are not too over the top,
and that your shoes are free of scuff marks. Guys, make sure your collar is
neat, your tie is straight, and your fingernails are clean. Little details can
go a long way, especially with a person you are meeting for the first time.
Show up on
time. If the meeting is in your building, stop what you are working on and get
situated in the conference room at least five minutes before the scheduled
start time. If you have to leave the office, make sure you have clear
directions and account for traffic and parking time. Bring a pen and notebook
(or laptop) with you in case you need to take notes. If you are in charge of
presenting, test your equipment and open your files ahead of time to ensure
everything will work correctly.
gum or eat food or candy during the meeting—it can wait. Drinks are ok as long
as you’re careful and quiet with them. (However, if food is served at the
meeting, then by all means, feel free to partake). Use the restroom before hand
and silence your cell phone. Introduce yourself when the opportunity comes and
make eye contact with the person in charge of the meeting. Smile and be
cheerful and interested (even if you’re really not). Ask questions and address
concerns without interrupting anyone. Be sure to tell them it was nice to meet
them before you leave. Keeping all these things in mind may not seem like a big
deal, but it can make a huge difference. Make it happen!