I have a young inexperienced employee who is viewed as immature and non-professional in meetings. I thought the best way to improve her perception was through working with her on following an easy “best practice” list of accepted behaviors.  Below is the list I compiled to review with her gathered from my own observations and from posts from  across the web:

Participating in a Meeting – If you are participating in a meeting, here are 15 fundamental techniques to follow:

  1. Show respect to the process and the person who called the meeting.  Arrive on time; be well prepared with all meeting materials printed out, notes on the subject at hand, and a pen and notepad to take notes.
  2. Do not state your opinion on everything.  Don’t share your opinions just for the sake of it. Sometimes it is better to say nothing and just listen.  When the time is right, then you can state your opinion.
  3. Stay Positive. This is a business meeting and you are there to make progress on the issue, not bash it
  4. Don’t be quiet throughout the entire meeting.  When there is something positive, important or insightful to say, be sure to say it.  Don’t hold back.
  5. Don’t ramble.  State what you have to say in as few words as possible.  If you go on for too long, the point might be lost.
  6. Do not say anything negative about anyone.  This includes your staff members, boss, co-workers, and customers.
  7. Don’t feel like you’re in a competition to be the smartest.  Sure you want to make sure your boss or upper-management knows how talented you are, but at the same time saying less is sometimes more.  Do do not argue, play mind games, or try too hard to get attention.  Always remain calm and professional.
  8. Don’t agree with someone just because you feel intimidated.  Speak-up when you disagree. It is not okay to keep quiet, and then complain about it later .
  9. Don’t interrupt. At least let the other person finish their thought before speaking.
  10. Watch your body language. Most of our communication comes from the non-verbal. Don’t make faces, roll your eyes, cross your arms, slouch in your chair, unless you want to send the message that you are extremely disinterested.
  11. Don’t tune out.  If the topic doesn’t interest you or is import to what you do, suck it up and listen.
  12.  Don’t be rude. EVER
  13. Recognize people. If you like what someone said or did, tell them. Everyone loves getting recognized in front of their peers.
  14. Don’t have side conversations. It’s just rude to all.
  15. Keep commitments. If a decision was made to do something, do it. Other people are keeping their commitments.