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What Week Is It You Ask .....

With all the jokes about it being Blursday, we'll give you a pass if you didn't have National Business Etiquette Week marked on your calendar! A week dedicated to making work more enjoyable by building work relationships and making communication more effective and respectful? Yes, this is the week - sounds good to us.

With our workdays continuing to evolve from in-person meetings to an endless series of virtual ones, we thought it would be the most helpful to you to focus on virtual etiquette and giving you five specific steps you can take today to more fully engage in the meetings you attend – or even run. It’s easy to be lost in the shuffle and be relegated to the peanut gallery of a big ZOOM call. When you observe proper virtual meeting etiquette it makes it that much easier to show up and make your voice heard.

First, be on time and look the part. It’s hard for others to take you seriously if you show up late for the meeting sporting a baseball cap or a messy bun/ponytail, while in pajamas or an old T-shirt (no matter how comfy), or otherwise looking like you just rolled out of bed with puffy eyes and bedhead. You can’t look poised if you come into the meeting flustered as you apologize for dialing in late. And if you don’t’ have good grooming – you don’t have much. 

When you aren’t physically in the same room as a person they miss a lot of your energy. Second, make sure you level up your energy so others can “feel” it over a virtual connection.  Smile while on these calls – otherwise, it’s so easy for others to assume you’re bored or zoning out. Speak clearly and with a warm tone to command attention. 

Third, participate by actively listening – nod your head to show you understand and are following the discussion and ask follow-up questions. Don’t interrupt – so wait a second or two before you speak to make sure you don’t talk over someone or otherwise cut them off.

Fourth, meaningfully contribute. Prepare for the meeting and make notes of what main points you want to make during the call. Then check off each one as you make them. Do not apologize for contributing. None of this meek, “I’m sorry, I just want to add …..” You’ve been invited to the meeting so make your presence known. Instead say, “Additionally, I want to add ….” Or “It’s important for us to remember ….” Etc. Positive, confident phrasing casts you in a better light.

Fifth, we also recommend not eating while on camera – it isn’t a kind look. The noise is off-putting and seeing a close-up of someone eating is a bit, shall we say, distracting. Eat before the call – but don’t forget to brush so you look pristine for your closeup!

And an extra tip for those running the meeting, please make sure it’s a dialogue – not a monologue. You need to pull people into the conversation and make them feel as though they're part of a team – so send an agenda beforehand, and give individuals a heads-up that you'll be asking them for an update or some questions – so that they're prepared too. As a leader, you should want to help your team succeed. And when they feel good for doing good, they will do more. How marvelous is that?

Have a great National Business Etiquette Week! 


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