The self-proclaimed ‘Miss Manners’ in many people’s minds is Emily Post. However, the majority of boardroom etiquette is really about being a courteous and showing respect. So what does it mean to be respectful in the boardrooms?
The first rule for good boardroom manners is that punctuality is very important. When you are late for a meeting, it sends the message that you are not respectful of the person who is hosting the meeting, or of the participants, whom you have likely interrupted.
When you attend a meeting, your full attention is also required. Yes your cellphone is important, but consider the rudeness of you looking down at your phone during a meeting in a boardroom. Do you really need to look at your inbox every 90 seconds? Even if there is a lull, or the meeting becomes mundane, you need to be polite and give the host your attention. Let your online contacts know in advance that you will be in a meeting, so they will not try to contact you.
Don’t be that person who monopolizes the conversation, unless it is your meeting and you have the gavel. But if you have the gavel and nobody else can speak, then it is not a meeting – it is just a lecture. Sometimes listening and learning how the dynamics of how a meeting group works is the best way to learn how you can become a person of value for those around you.
Did you do your homework for the meeting you are attending? When you are going into a boardroom to have a meeting, if you have not prepared yourself properly, you might not have a reason to be there. Know what is going to be discussed and know what your role is within the discussion.