Meeting etiquette involves all participants and the leader having respect for each other. Meetings should be purpose driven and focused. The leader establishes the direction and purpose the listeners should be prepared to follow along or to provide inputs to that goal. By following etiquette appropriate for the meeting setting, more resolutions may be accomplished in the allotted time. In a perfect world, a group synergy may evolve to increase productivity.
Basic Meeting Etiquette
“Meetings are a part of managerial function in organizations. Coordination is the orderly synchronization of all efforts of the organization to achieve the objectives” (Haimann 1973, PG 38). Individual Job descriptions for organization members require coordination for the overall goals of the organization to be achieved. Communication of direction is a managerial function. Meetings are a part of communication and operations of the organization. They may be as necessary as a conflict resolution, planning based on required change due to outside forces in the market place or just a group assessment of current activities. In addition, the function of meetings for a manager may involve employee counseling.
The primary function of every meeting is communication. To enhance communication - proper etiquette is imperative. Communication involves the dissemination of information to people who require the information for required action. Poor etiquette can be a barrier to effective communication. “Serious consequences can arise when communications are minimal.” (Haimann, 1973 PG 39). The group leader should avoid all barriers to communication. The first rule of etiquette might be to have deference to your audience, to consider what they need to hear in the meeting and how to present the information in such a way that the issues are most important, that way communication can be maximized. In the book our Iceberg is melting by John Kotter. One Penguin notices a danger with the environment of the colony and Iceberg. He begins to communicate his concerns through a series of meetings with some resistance and discussion. Meetings are held with his peers, as well as with the elders of the colony. A different approach is used for the different settings. This book is allegorical depiction of practical aspects of business meetings. They are held with a purpose and the discussion stays formal. The author suggests that it is because penguins are more formal due to their dress.
The initial factors in meeting etiquette should involve the purpose, and focus of the meeting, the size of the group attending and the functions each both prior and following the meeting. Meetings may involve a large group or only one other person. The size of a group will be limited by the amount of interaction required from those attending a meeting. For example if the purpose of the meeting is to announce a corporate policy which involves a large portion or all of the organization then a large group is appropriate. Some sources have determined that the most effective group number for planning communication and organization is a dozen or less. When groups are too large they may bog down with endless discussion and no decision. If they are too small they may fall into traps such as group think? If the purpose of a meeting involves only one person such as an employee counseling session, then two or three is the appropriate number. In some cases, a third party is required as a witness to the discussion.
The responsibilities of the group leader or meeting chair are being organized to keep things moving. They need to be ready to keep the group focused and avoid rabbit trails and side discussions and to follow the agenda. The leader should not let the discussion to bog down on one agenda item. For someone to keep the meeting moving demands respect for the attendees’ time by not being...