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Good meeting etiquette guide

Reviewed 17 August 2020

Here are some practical steps to a meeting which can make a difference, some ‘quick wins’ to ensure that your attendance/contribution is professional and a box of ‘handy hints’ to bring them all together..

Good meeting etiquette

A meeting is as successful as the positive contributions of its members. There are various ways you can contribute in a meeting, sometimes in a formal way (as Chair or minute-taker) and many informal ways through speaking, summarising, guiding a small discussion or asking questions to clarify what you have heard.

  1. Meetings are for the benefit of all and no one person has the right to dominate or be disruptive. People should be addressed courteously and should feel comfortable enough to make their contributions.
  2. The meeting Chairperson should ideally create an agenda before every meeting. Where possible, the agenda must be circulated among all attendees for them to prepare in advance. Meetings should not be conducted just for the sake of it; it is important to have well defined plans. Make a list of issues to be discussed and make sure you do not deviate from the key points. Keep the meetings short.
  3. Whilst the Chair is finally responsible for managing the meeting, it is everyone’s responsibility to make the Chair’s job as smooth as possible for the good of all. The Chair will aim to ensure that meeting times and agenda items are managed well so that everything can run to time. They also need to manage contributions, keep contributors from repeating themselves, and ensure a few individuals do not monopolise the time. This will ensure that equality and courtesy are maintained.
  4. Anyone who attends meetings should be aware of other people’s rights to be treated with courtesy. Nobody should feel bullied or insulted or be verbally attacked by another member. Should one member disagree with another, then there is a friendly and courteous way to disagree.
  5. Those wishing to speak should signal their intention to the Chair and wait to be invited to speak. Before speaking, you should construct the points to be made and stick to them, speaking for as short a time as possible without repetition whilst using clear, acceptable language. If you fail to make all your points, it may not be possible to have another chance to speak if a lot of people are waiting, so it is advisable to make a quick note of bullet points to b

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