The art of business etiquette is eroding like sand, grain by grain. And, your business may be at stake. In the college classroom, I often remind young men to remove their hats indoors and in the corporate classroom, I wait for young professionals who are too important to leave their desk to be on time for a meeting. All are lessons in etiquette. Here are a few more:
Stop using your tablet/cell phone in a meeting:
There’s new research from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business conducted among successful business executives that reveals that 84% of those surveyed feel it inappropriate to write a text or email during a meeting. 75% feel that it is inappropriate to even read a text or email during a meeting.
Recently a colleague related to me that he had presented to a large Ad Agency in New York. The 3 young millennials, 2 women and one man, spent the entire time on their tablets and phones. Convinced they had not heard any of the quick 20 minute presentation and disgusted, he decided instead to go right to the client, closing out the agency entirely. In my daughter’s high school history class, the teacher brilliantly has asked all phones be deposited in a clear plastic hanging cubby where students can visually see but not touch them. He immediately noticed a more engaged classroom and an increase in average test scores. The idea of multitasking is a myth. You can’t do it all simultaneously and do it well. When you stop using your phone, you’ll be sharper.
Stop joining committees you have no intention on working on:
Why do business professionals join industry committees? Power, Position, Prestige. Yes all of these are good for your business, especially if you are a small business owner. Not completing the task you promised in a voluntary industry committee however, negates all that good PR for your company. If you can’t deliver within this environment, how will you be trusted as your client’s representative? Take your turn to do the leg-work.
Don’t be so relaxed in a meeting:
Body language is perhaps the most powerful message available. Looking for buying signals? Most would agree that yawning, stretching or even doodling, says “not interested.” In fact posture is a prime indicator of a person’s agreement with the presenter. Some sociologists believe 65% of all communication is nonverbal. What are you saying with your body? Look alert; it may make the difference when promotion time comes.
Stop doing other work in a meeting:
It’s disrespectful, rude and counterproductive (refer back to my comments on multitasking.)
Stop being closed-minded at meetings:
Come to a meeting prepared to learn something, anything new. Come with a positive attitude and a willingness to pitch in and help even if it’s not “your area” of expertise. Deliver your opinions and advice respectfully and thoughtfully. Integrity is a personal road to success. As Albert Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”