Meeting Etiquette

I attend quite a few business meetings, conferences and the like. The past few I’ve been to have rocked my socks. Not only for the content given and things learned but for the absolute disregard for meeting etiquette. Therefore, because I can, I will list the “rules” as I believe them to be from both an event planner’s point of view and an attendee’s. Please chime in and give me your opinion of one or all of these.

1) Be on time. – 5 minutes early is probably best but walking into a meeting late is, in my opinion, disruptive and rude. Yes I know sometimes it can’t be helped; I get it, I am not perfect; I am late sometimes too, but show the individuals responsible for the meeting, speaker, etc. that you’re respectful.
2) Sit quietly and give your attention to the moderator/speaker. Obviously if you’re sitting next to a friend you’re going to want to talk, compare notes and so on. If you do so, do it quietly…barely a whisper so as not to disrupt those around you.
3) Turn off your cell phone/PDA. Yes I said OFF! That means no texting, emailing, updating your calendar or chatting on the phone. The past conference I went to I had the wonderful fortune of sitting next to an attendee who slept, at least until his texts or emails were returned then he was texting or emailing, then back to the doze position.
4) If you need to visit the restrooms or get refreshments, do so quietly. Try not to disrupt the entire conference and please don’t announce that you’re going to the restroom.
5) Do not leave early, especially if you’ve paid for the event. Why would you waste your money and time by only attending half of what you obviously thought was important enough to pay to go to?
6) No sleeping !!! I realize sometimes we pay to attend a conference and the keynote speaker is not what we expected and we let our mind wander, and doze off. If you have a tendency to do that sit in the back of the room and please do not snore. I’d rather you left early to be honest, it’s a much less rude violation of etiquette.

Bottom line is: Why did you pay to attend this meeting? Did you pay to have a room to use your phone? Did you pay to take a nap? Did you pay to only hear half of what was given? Probably not. The kicker is neither did anyone else. However if you’re the one doing the texting, snoring etc.. you’re distracting them too. Be respectful, protect your reputation from being rude and practice good meeting etiquette.

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