Business meetings are a common practice and allow important decisions to be made and the company direction to be discussed. Without structure, a business meeting can become chaotic, so it is important to understand and implement the basic rules of a business meeting and make those rules part of your company's culture.
Decorum Is Important
Every successful business meeting has several key elements, but a chairperson, an agenda, and respect are three of the most important. The meeting chairperson sets the tone and the pace of the meeting. When the chairperson speaks, the others in attendance listen. When someone has the floor, she is allowed to say what is on her mind without being interrupted. It is important to not discuss the details of any particular idea until all ideas are on the table. If everyone is allowed to present his ideas on a subject before it is discussed in detail, then it is possible that all of the important points will be covered before any detailed discussion even begins.
Always have an agenda prepared for a meeting, and then follow that agenda and only discuss the topics on that agenda. If there is a topic that comes up that is not part of the agenda, then it will need to wait until the meeting is over or until another meeting is scheduled.
Respectful conversation is critical to having a successful meeting, and an organized meeting will help to create an atmosphere of cooperative participation.
Respect the Rules
It is always a good idea to show up to a meeting a few minutes early so that you can arrange your materials prior to the beginning of the meeting. If you are doing a presentation, then get there even earlier to make sure your presentation materials are set up and ready.
Let other business associates and personal contacts know you are going into a meeting, and then turn off your cell phone while you are in the meeting. Allow cell phone calls to go to voice mail, and then deal with them when the meeting is over. Unless you have important meeting material on your laptop computer, then it is not necessary to bring your laptop. It is not a good idea to do other work while the meeting is going on.
Avoid loud drinking and eating during a meeting. If a meeting is scheduled during a time you would normally be eating, then try to eat prior to the meeting. Try not to schedule other activities during the scheduled meeting time or close to the end of the meeting. Make sure to allow extra time in case the meeting runs late; important information may be discussed. Focusing on the purpose of the meeting can help you and the company to accomplish critical objectives.