If you’ve been in the business world for a while, you may have noticed that most of your business meetings are similar in structure. That’s because there are protocols for business meetings that moderators and attendees abide by. Protocols establish a standardised way of conducting, and participating in, business meetings, and help meetings be more effective.
Create an Agenda
Business meetings rely on agendas to steer the meeting forward and keep everyone on track. Agendas are created before the meeting commences, but may be provided to the meeting’s participants prior to the meeting so that they can have time to review what will be covered at the forum. During the meeting, the moderator will use the agenda as a road map for discussions. Meeting Wizard explains that when moderators prepare and review the agenda before the meeting, it will help them keep the discussions on track.
Business meetings should begin, and end, on time. Effective Meetings explains that it is respectful and considerate of others’ busy schedules to make sure the meeting takes place during the time that was allotted for it. Meetings should not run late, but if a topic is still being discussed when it’s time for the meeting to end, the moderator can table the discussion item for another future meeting.
Introductions are important in business meetings because sometimes not everyone in the meeting will be familiar with those next to them. Going around the table and introducing one’s self is a business meeting protocol. Most of the time, people give their names and job title during introductions.
Another business meeting protocol is taking minutes. Minutes are the notes from the meeting, and to take minutes merely means to document and record the main points, and some details, of what was discussed at the forum. Minutes can be used to capture follow-up items, as well as document further actions that someone from the meeting will be chosen to perform. They help people remember what was discussed at a previous meeting; in case it was so long ago that the participants need a refresher.
General Meeting Protocols
General meeting protocols include practicing good communication etiquette, such as making sure only one person speaks at a time, not interrupting others, avoiding arguments or conflicts in the forum, being respectful of others’ opinions and encouraging group participation. Meeting members should turn their cell phones on silent to avoid disruptions, according to Salary.com; as well as refrain from bringing their personal breakfast, lunch or snacks to the meeting with them.