Modern Etiquette: Meetings still matter

Sun Sep 21, 2014 7:14pm EDT
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By Mary M. Mitchell

(Reuters) - Pay no attention to sceptics who claim that meetings are nothing more than an irritant.

Meetings - and your meeting manners - are vitally important, especially in our ever-changing business environment. For better or worse, we learn and make judgments about our colleagues that are based on their behavior.

Meetings are opportunities to observe - and yes, judge - others. Remember, though, that we are being judged as well.

Consider the inevitable cast of characters (in the interest of efficiency, clarity, and brevity, I am using masculine examples; but, rest assured, each character listed definitely has a female counterpart!).

I’ve learned to identify these characters by pet names I would never repeat out loud. I chuckle to myself, which mitigates against their objectionable behavior, thus helping me stay centered and on track, because I don’t take their appearance, words, or actions personally.

The Lounge Lizard sprawls all over the place, wrapping himself around chair arms and legs, sinking into any cushion in sight. Once he’s in the seat, he stays there, never bothering to get up and greet others. No one would be surprised if he put his feet up on the table. Rude, rude, rude, spiced with an attitude of entitlement.

The Wise Guy takes no prisoners when telling you how absurd your ideas are. He as much as says that no sane company could or would embrace them. He knows this because he got his education from Life - i.e., he has street smarts - and heaven help anyone who fails to revere those credentials as one would a Nobel Prize. We are talking slick bully here. He thinks he’s tough.

The Bobble Head says nary a word, offers nary a contribution. Yet every time a good idea is being put forth, the Bobble Head nods knowingly as though he thought of it himself, eons ago.   Continued...