Your behavior before, during and after a meeting can have a big impact on your professional image. More often than not meetings are reoccurring giving co-workers the opportunity to notice your behavioral trends and associate you as either a positive contributor or a detractor. To ensure you’re not being associated as the latter, it’s critical to demonstrate good meeting etiquette.
While some meeting etiquette rules are obvious (i.e. don’t be on your phone, be on time, demonstrate good listening skills) some are less obvious. From my experience, there are four common types of meeting actions that damage people’s reputation without that person even realizing it.
Mistake #1: Winging it
Winging it is the exact opposite of being prepared. This includes waiting until the last minute to schedule a meeting, not creating a meeting agenda and coming to a meeting without all of the necessary background knowledge and resources. This style leads people to believe you have poor time management skills. A lot of people think they are good at playing things by ear and don’t realize their ineffectiveness.
If you frequently wing it (even if you believe you are good at it) invest more time in upfront planning so you come to meetings equipped and on point. Your co-workers will value your preparedness and will start to view you as more polished and organized.
Mistake #2: Being a no-show
If you regularly miss meetings and don’t let others know ahead of time you are giving people the perception you don’t value their time or cause. Some misguided individuals believe they are entitled to act this way because they are “very busy” or “important” but the truth is it’s never okay to lack common courtesy.
Be better about setting clear availability expectations up front and following through on your meeting commitments. This will help others view you as engaged and respectful.
Mistake #3: Repeating information
There is no value in regurgitating information that was already presented by someone else. This can (and will) offend people and can also lead others to think you weren’t listening to what was initially said. People like to use this approach because they think it shows others they are actively involved, but in reality, all this shows is that you lack original ideas.
Rather than repeating what your colleagues say, you need to actively listen until you have something meaningful and new to add to the discussion. Co-workers will appreciate your uniqueness and newfound listening skills.
Mistake #4: Being invisible
If you aren’t providing insight, asking questions or offering to help, then you are acting invisible. Others view this behavior (or should I say lack of behavior) as unhelpful, uncomfortable and aggravating.
Regardless of the reason―be it you’re shy, uncomfortable or unfamiliar with a topic―it is always better to speak up than to be silent. If you want to change this image, get outside of your comfort zone, find your voice and make an effort to be heard.
Danielle Clark is a human resources manager with more than 10 years of HR and customer service experience in healthcare and retail organizations. Her work with Fortune 500 companies, in addition to a diverse professional and academic background, has trained Clark to be results-driven, people-focused and a thought-provoking leader. Her goal is to educate and inspire professionals to change their way of thinking. She is also an adjunct professor, active community volunteer, wife, mother and passionate lifelong learner.