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The Etiquette of Business Meetings

The Etiquette of Business Meetings
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Much of the communication that takes place in the workplace happens in meetings. Unfortunately, too many of those meetings are unproductive because specific goals are not usually set for the meetings.

To help you ensure productivity in your business meetings, this article goes in-depth to explain the planning and conducting phase of such meetings.

What Is a Meeting?

What Is a Meeting?

Meetings can be defined as gatherings in which persons work together to achieve a common goal. The best preparation for a meeting has a specific purpose that would be best handled in a face-to-face situation. Meetings also provide a forum where individuals can share, discuss and exchange information as well as analyze and solve problems. They can be conducted in one location (the office), but with the significant advancement of technology, today meetings may be conducted on the phone, via teleconferencing and also via the internet.

A meeting is an effective helpful communication tool because it allows persons within the workplace to:

  • benefit from each other’s point of view and opinion
  • share, discuss and exchange information
  • analyze and solve problems
  • discuss issues of mutual interest
  • exchange up to date information to make sure that everyone is aware of current events, schedules and developments
  • Talk about planned events developments and exchange ideas and suggestions for action.


Classification of Meetings

Classification of Meetings

Depending on the topic of the meeting, meetings may be classified as:

  1. Formal meetings have set rules and procedures that must be followed and a completed written record must be made. Informal meetings, the organization has to ensure that decisions taken at the end of the meeting are based on a legal framework and that the decisions are legally correct. It is essential that persons attending such meetings be made fully aware of the procedures which govern these meetings.

    Examples include:

  • Annual General Meeting
  • Extra Ordinary General Meeting
  • Board Meeting
  • Committee Meeting
  • Senior Management Meeting
  1. Informal meetings have no set rules (unless some rules have been devised by the organization). In some cases, a completed written record can be made on completion of the meeting.

    Examples include:

  • Departmental meeting
  • Staff meeting
  • Middle management meeting
  • Working parties
  • Project groups
  • Team briefings


Now, let’s take a look at each of these types of meeting:

  • Annual General Meeting (AGM): AGMs are held once a year to assess the operations of a business over the year. All shareholders are invited to attend the AGM, however, they must be given 21 days’ notice of the meeting date and venue.


  • Board Meetings: Board meetings are held as often as individual businesses require. They are attended by all directors and chaired by the chairman of the board.


  • Departmental Meetings: These meetings are called by the head of a department or manager of a certain section. All staff will be invited to attend so that information can be passed on or reports received from some members of staff regarding specific projects.


  • Working Parties: Working parties may be set up to work together on a specific project or problem. At meetings, progress reports will be given and decisions for further action be taken.


Steps to Convene a Meeting:

Steps to Convene a Meeting

  1. The meeting should be constituted appropriately: In the event that members at the meeting are appointed or elected, it is important that they be notified of their appointment or election according to the founding document of the assembly.
  2. A quorum is to be formed: A quorum stipulates the minimum number of persons who need to be available at a meeting before it can begin. However, it is also necessary to establish the procedure for dealing with the situation when there would be no quorum present. In the absence of a quorum, then the meeting may be adjourned until a quorum is reached or the total membership present may be considered a quorum.
  3. Motions are properly presented: A motion is an idea for action on which the rest of the people in the meeting vote and the organization may usually specify the procedure for proposing a motion.
  4. Resolutions are properly approved: When a motion has been properly approved, it becomes a resolution.
  5. The method of voting should be specified, whether through the show of hands, poll, ballot or voice.
  6. Satisfactory records should be maintained: It is important that after a meeting has been conducted that satisfactory records of the meeting be kept and made available to anybody who wishes to enquire about the meeting in the future.


When’s the last time you carried out a business meeting? Tell us how it went!






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