“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.” – Dale Carnegie
At the end of last year, we shared a few tips to help you be more professional in the workplace and in meetings. As Dale Carnegie said, how we are in contact with others is more important than many people may realize. Whether you are a team leader, an assistant or simply an attendee of a meeting, the impression you leave on others can be a lasting one.
While technology has created several mediums with which people can conveniently communicate, such as email, phone, video messaging and instant messaging, the use of in-person meetings and interactions will likely never completely disappear. Sure there are other forms of communication which may be faster and easier for busy professionals to utilize, but there are certain aspects which can only be accomplished in-person. From body language, to impressions, there are just certain things you can’t accomplish or see through other mediums. So while meeting in-person may take more time, many businesspeople believe that it will always be the most effective means of communication. Remember, people want to do business with those they can relate and personally connect to.
With that said, most businesses utilize technology to communicate unless an in-person meeting is absolutely necessary, making these in-person meetings rare and even more important. This may be your only chance to show your professionalism and to make a good impression on those in attendance. Communication in the workplace within organizations and with clients, business partners and potential clients is extremely important. Hopefully you have been utilizing the tips from Part I in your meetings so far this year. Here are a few more ideas on how you can demonstrate professionalism in meetings.
- Respect the meeting place: Meetings will not always be held at your office or place of choice. While you may not be as comfortable with meeting places that are not on your turf, you must remain professional and calm and be comfortable letting others conduct the meeting. Learn how to step back and let others run the show.
- Introductions: It is important that everyone introduces themselves in a meeting. Introductions show that you care about everyone at the meeting and that you believe they have something important to contribute.
- Gadget etiquette: Even though in-person meetings don’t require technology for communication, you must not forget to use proper etiquette during the meeting regarding your everyday technology devices such as your phone and computer. Remember to mute them and try to avoid using them for the entire duration of the meeting.
- The end is as important as the beginning: Never leave a meeting in hurry. This gives the impression that the meeting is not important to you and that there are other things that take higher priority. When the meeting is over, stay behind for a bit to chat with attendees and ask or answer questions.
- Leaving early: Sometimes it may be impossible for you to stay for the entire meeting. If you need to leave early, try to notify the meeting organizer ahead of time. Be sure that you sit in a location from which you can easily leave so that you do not interrupt when you depart.
- The follow up: The actual meeting is only the start for making progress. If there were tasks delegated, make sure you complete and follow up with them in a timely fashion. You may also want to send out a short summary of the things that were discussed during the meeting and the action items that need to be completed. Also, remember to thank everyone for attending the meeting and ask for feedback.
By using these easy tips, you can set your business apart by demonstrating outstanding professionalism. Make these lessons a part of the corporate training that all employees receive.