Meetings are here to work better together so you can get things done. People seem to forget that sometimes and come into the meeting cranky and unmotivated. Sitting in a one-hour meeting with a few cranky people, or even one will bring down the positive and energetic vibe you’d like to have. Even though attending meetings is not a passion for most people, there are some unwritten meeting rules (we call them meeting etiquette) that could make meetings a bit easier for everyone.

In general, there are a few meeting rules to consider every time you organize or attend a meeting.

1. Show up on time and come prepared

It shows that you are dependable and that you care about other people’s time. Of course, these things can differ in each part of the world. When you work in Europe or North America it’s appreciated to be on time. Just know what kind of people you are meeting and what they expect from you. Also, come prepared, it will save you time during the meeting.

2. Make introductions

If some people in the meeting room don’t know each other, begin by making introductions. If you know everyone, you can introduce them, or ask people to introduce themselves to the rest of the group.

3. Come to the meeting with a positive attitude

No one likes to meet with grumpy and unmotivated people, that really kills the mood in the room. So try to leave things that you were working on behind and enter the meeting room with a positive mind!

4. Stay mentally and physically present

It’s completely normal that your mind wanders off once in a while. But when you notice that that’s happening, come back and focus on the meeting. You’re there for a reason, don’t let it be a waste of time!

5. Be a good listener with an open mind

Listen to what others have to say and try to understand them. Show interest and remain neutral and non-judgmental. Also, wait for your turn to speak. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

6. Ask questions

Try to engage in the meeting and ask questions. Probably not every item is as relevant to you as to the others and that can get boring. Still, you can engage in that by asking follow-up questions and if the situation allows it share your point of view. The key is to ask questions that inspire a new way of thinking and expand their range of vision. Try to ask open-ended questions that start with “how…”, “what do you think about…”, “can you explain more on…”, “why did this work?”, “what do you suggest we do?” etc. Avoid open-ended question that only have one correct answer.

7. Contribute to the meeting goal and agenda

If it’s desired that you contribute to the meeting agenda, make time to do so! It shows that you’re engaged and that you want to participate in the meeting. Give your ideas, ask questions and offer solutions.

8. Attack the problem, not the person

If you disagree on an issue, make sure to attack the problem and not the person. Speak about facts or from your own experiences and opinions and don’t attack someone else personally.

9. Do not have your phone out

Multitasking in meetings kills productivity. People who use their phones, laptops or tablets, are often distracted. Unless the device is absolutely necessary for the meeting, turn it off or on flight mode and put it away.

10. Clean up after yourself

This is especially true if you were drinking or eating during the meeting. You need to clean up after yourself and leave things the way you found them, so the next person or the people you left behind are not irritated by your mess.

Share meeting rules with your team

It’s important that people who hold a meeting know and understand the same meeting rules. Without that, people may get irritated or less engaged. If you’re facilitating a meeting, share these meeting rules, pay attention to them and if they’re followed by all attendees. If someone is repeatedly breaking one or more meeting etiquette rules, it might be a good idea to discuss this.

Are there any other meeting rules you want to add? Or meeting rules you would take out? Let us know!