Modern Meeting Etiquette

In the past several weeks, I’ve noticed that different people have different levels of acceptable “meeting etiquette”… When is it ok to leave the room? When is it ok to take a call? What if this is a lunch working session?
Here are some tips and learnings from me (someone who is a 50/50 split on virtual vs. on-site meetings) on Modern Meeting Etiquette:

Lunch Working Sessions –
  • Be careful to order food that isn’t wrapped in loud crinkly paper or plastic, especially if you have people participating virtually on the phone or video.
  • Set in your agenda a specific amount of time for eating so those participating virtually can dial in at the right time.
“Down the wrong pipe” – Your face is turning red because you took a massive gulp of water and it went down the wrong pipe. You are coughing like a crazy person. Pretty please, mute your line or step out of the room and take care of your business.

“Excuse me, I have to take this call” – Don’t answer “Hello, this is…” until you have actually stepped out of the room (as opposed to as soon as you get up from the table). If you’re in a web conference, side chat a colleague to let them know you’ll be away for a few minutes.
Bio Break Hell – You’ve been in back to back meetings all day and desperately need to take a bio break. General consensus is to JUST GO, but look for appropriate timing. The alternative is to ask the group if everyone’s OK with taking a 5 minute break. If you are virtual, do not mute the phone and go while you’re on the line. Technology is reliable, but I wouldn’t risk it.

From the office to the car to the rental car drop to the airport terminal – Let the meeting organizer know in advance that you will be on the go. They might prefer to reschedule. Otherwise, let everyone else know when you dial in, and definitely mute when you’re not talking.

There you go – some tips for the Modern Meeter. Have more tips? Add comments here!

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