If you are set to attend a business meeting with bosses and co-workers you aren’t always in regular contact with, it is important that you prepare with professionalism. Otherwise, you could inadvertently give these people the impression that you are much less professional than you really are.
Here are a few tips that can help you to ensure you convey yourself in the right way with proper professionalism as the meeting itself eventually gets underway.
Whatever start time has been scheduled for the meeting, plan in advance to make sure you actually turn up for that time. Otherwise, you could end up leaving the other attendees waiting.
“Leaders need to start on time so people can depend on that,” career coach Barbara Pachter, who wrote the book The Essentials of Business Etiquette, has told Insider.
The job listings website Indeed explains: “Depending on the nature of your office, the appropriate attire may vary. Follow the dress code rules your office enforces for in-office meetings.”
The picture can be a little more complex for meetings held outside of your office. For this reason, it could bode well for you to invest in a set of clothes that would likely look good in a wide range of settings — with business suits, for example, in your wardrobe neutrally colored.
It’s hard to imagine a much less professional scene than the type depicted in the 2011 comedy spy film Johnny English Reborn when the titular character is in a supposedly formal meeting but, while it is actually happening, struggles to keep his chair at the right height.
To prevent an uncomfortably similar thing from happening to you, make sure you suitably adjust your chair before the meeting proper gets underway.
In conversations at the meeting, you might not realize when you are speaking a little too quietly for certain attendees to hear you well enough. This can come across as a lack of professionalism. Admittedly, you might actually realize it if they keep asking you to repeat yourself, a process that could rather drag out proceedings.
“Many men and women, especially women, do not speak loudly enough. And speaking softly is a subtle nonverbal action that can affect your professionalism,” Pachter warns.
This advice comes from a LinkedIn article, which clarifies: “Avoid arguing during meetings but contribute calmly and meaningfully. If necessary, converse with adversaries privately but professionally.”
After all, if you allow yourself to show a combative attitude in a meeting openly, you could deter the other people there from agreeing to arrange a follow-up meeting with you. It demonstrates a lack of professionalism.
It might be common for businesspeople to keep their smartphones on the table during a meeting, but that doesn’t mean it is good practice and shows professionalism.
“Put it in your pocket, keep it on vibrate, and leave the room if you have to take the call or return a text,” Pachter has insisted, adding: “It’s really, really rude to be texting during a meeting.”
When put together these rules will enable you to showcase a professionalism that stands out and speaks well of you.