Rules for meetings that every professional should know

Even if you dread them, meetings put you in front of coworkers and bosses who you may not work with on a regular basis. That means how you conduct yourself in them may leave a lasting impression.

Is it acceptable to eat during a meeting, or check your phone? Should you be the person asking questions at the end? If broken, the unwritten rules of meeting professionalism may damage your reputation. To get a better idea of how to maintain a positive, professional image while in a meeting, refer to some of the basic rules to follow:

Be on time: Make sure you come on time and prepare for the meeting ahead of time.

Make introductions: If everyone doesn’t know one another in the meeting room, you need to make introductions.

Have a strong agenda: This is part of being prepared, but you should have a good, strong agenda so that you can stay on track.

Sit appropriately: If it’s a sit-down meeting, you need to adjust your chair so that you’re at equal height with everyone else at the table.

Speak up: When people speak in meetings they need to speak loudly enough so that everyone hears what they’re saying.

Understand the unwritten speaking rules: It’s not polite to interrupt others, but in some meetings, you have to interrupt at some point or you won’t be heard. Understand the rules so that you can have a productive meeting.

Do not have your phone out: A lot of people keep their phones on the table during meetings, don’t do this. Even if you aren’t looking at your phone, it can get distracting if it starts lighting up or making noises.

Don’t save all your questions for the end: Ask your questions at the appropriate time. Do not be the person who starts “asking questions and adding stuff that doesn’t need to be added” when everyone’s getting ready to go.