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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.


They said what…

Called your piece of art junk did they? Oh, no…they did not just call you a liar? Told you that you’re an ineffective presenter? Bashed your book?

What do you do when criticized? Do you blow up? Fly off the handle? Get indignant? What is the proper response?
Flying off the handle, getting defensive and wanting to go on the attack are the knee jerk reactions to all criticism. It always seems hurtful, untrue and like being picked on back in grade school to those on the receiving end. There are, however, several ways to handle the criticism without making it worse by flying off the handle.
1.) Take a deep breath before speaking. Let the person have their say and then think before you speak. You don’t want to say anything that will come across as negative, hurtful or make you look rude… protect that rep! You don’t want to add fuel to the fire so count to at least 10, formulate what you’re going to say before you say it, even if it takes a while.
2.) Take the constructive parts (if there are any) to the criticism and see if you can put them into practice. Sometimes there are little nuggets of help in what is being said, though it may have been said in an incorrect way. For example if after changing my hair color to purple someone said “Oh My God what did you do to your hair?” I can probably safely assume they didn’t like it and that purple is not a good color for me. However if they were to say: “I preferred the color it was before” I still know they don’t like the hair color but it’s a better way to say it.
3.) Sometimes it is not about you. It’s about them and how hurt, angry frustrated or jealous they are. In those cases I have one word for you “forgetaboutit” … or “letitgo” … Remember if you respond immediately you might make things worse and turn things into a full blown argument so go back to #1.
4.) If you have time before responding make sure you’ve eaten and are well rested. I know if I haven’t eaten I am more likely to respond in a negative way to things that are said and that happen rather than when I’m not. Eat, sleep on it then respond if time permits.
5.) Do not respond in email. So much is lost in email, texting, etc. I believe (don’t quote me though) that statistics say that 8% of communication is the words used and that 92% are tone, body language, and facial expressions. Also as a rule never put in an email what you would not want printed on the front page of the local newspaper. Once you send out an email, you have no idea who will see it after the intended person receives it.
These are my top 5 ways to handle criticism. In Summary: Don’t take it to personally. I know the negative words stick with us and that the negative is so much easier to believe, but it is more than likely not right, after all it is just one person’s opinion.



I’ve heard time and time again how the only stupid question is an unasked question. I have to say that I believe it to be true. So why are we afraid to ask questions?

We’re afraid to ask questions for several reasons, one of which is looking inadequate. If everyone else understands and I do not that must make me look stupid. I must really be dumb not to ‘get it’ when everyone else does. I remember a few years ago my daughter, Katrina, then a freshman in high school coming home flustered that she couldn’t do her homework because she didn’t understand how the math problems were solved.
“Didn’t the teacher explain it to you” I asked
“Yes, but I didn’t understand” she replied
“Why didn’t you ask her to explain it again?” I queried
“WHAT… and be the only one who didn’t get it? Mom do you want me to look stupid?”

After chuckling to myself I tried with all my mom skills to explain that asking a question doesn’t make you look stupid. I was unsuccessful, and she refused the rest of the year to ask questions in math so how she received that A is beyond me.

As a matter of fact, just this week I received an email stating that someone I was working with didn’t understand but “didn’t want to waste anyone’s time by asking questions.” Waste time? Isn’t it more wasteful to have misconceptions, misunderstanding and miscommunications? Isn’t it more time consuming to have to rehash all of those misses than to ask upfront for clarification?

I believe it is. I am an inquistive person by nature, I am a detailed person so I”m always asking, okay did you.. have you.. could we.. does this mean.. does that mean..

I guess the bottom line is don’t worry about looking stupid asking questions, ask! Ask! and ask again! Save yourself time, hassles and headaches by asking what you need to know.


Good Morning Lodi Founders

I wanted to say a special Good Morning to BNI Lodi Founders. One of the best chapters in BNI Central Valley. Thanks everyone for making every Friday start with a rocking good time.

Lodi Founders chapter is looking to add several professions to the chapter. If, you’re in business I encourage you to check them out. We’re there every Friday (7am – and you won’t regret getting up early) at 942 E. Pine St., Lodi CA. Come check it out!


This Blog:

I’m hoping this blog will be a culmination of my thoughts on a variety of topics, fun things and tips for all to share. I will post any speaking engagements I have, any events Consider It Done is doing or helping with, and BNI related information. I will be inviting guest bloggers to help get information out to you. I hope you enjoy reading the posts and comments to come.


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