Business Meeting Etiquette

We all dread meetings that are disorganized and accomplish nothing.  Here are 8 tips for attendees and 10 tips for those who organize them.


  1. Reply promptly when invited.
  2. If you’re not able to attend, do your best to send a suitable and well-informed substitute.
  3. Review beforehand any related materials that will be discussed.
  4. Arrive on time and come prepared with pen, paper, appropriate materials, an open mind, a positive attitude, and a willingness to listen and participate.
  5. Don’t plop down into any seat.  If you’re unsure where to sit, ask the organizer.
  6. Refrain from side conversations, texting, and checking email.  Turn your cell phone off or to vibrate.
  7. Watch your body language.  It tells others volumes about what you think of them and the issue being discussed.
  8. Follow-through on your assignments and action items.


  1. Send introductions and send them to the right people for this meeting.  Target the people best equipped to make the decisions and do the follow-through.  Encourage them to send a suitable and well-informed substitute if they’re not able to attend.  Include the start and end time for the meeting (with the promise to adhere to those times) and the location (with map and directions, if necessary).
  2. Send the meeting agenda once they’ve replied along with all related documents.  Also share with each attendee what they will be expected to share or report on.
  3. Send a reminder the day before.
  4. Prep the room beforehand.  Is there a chair for each person, food/beverages, A/V that is powered up and working properly, extra copies of materials?  Name tents are appreciated when participants don’t know each other.
  5. Setting ground rules at the start can help the meeting run smoothly.  Example: Only one person talking at a time, No side conversations, confidential information should not be discussed outside, etc.
  6. If necessary, ask attendees to introduce themselves at the start of the meeting.
  7. Start and end the meeting on time (as promised).
  8. Manage any tangential conversations.  Move them to a “parking lot” of items to be discussed at a later time.
  9. Finish the meeting with a summary of all action items and parties responsible.
  10. Follow up after the meeting with a reminder of action items, assignments and open items yet to be resolved.

© 2017 Jill Bremer • All Rights Reserved