When it comes to succeeding professionally, attention to detail counts for a lot. Learn the rules of etiquette in time for your next business meeting.
Step 1: Be prepared Be prepared, with pen and paper and any pertinent information that will help contribute to the meeting. Practice attention to detail for meetings so that you don't have to leave the room for something you forgot.
TIP: Business meetings are for sharing information, not socializing -- act professional.
Step 2: Show up early Get there at least 5 minutes early, and wear your game face. Punctuality conveys appropriate focus and respect.
Step 3: Ditch electronic distractions Once the meeting begins, leave the PDA and phone in your pocket to eliminate the slightest chance of diversion or interruption.
Step 4: Raise your hand to speak If you're not running or presenting at the meeting, hold your peace until the meeting breaks up or wait until the principal invites comments. Don't interrupt others and raise your hand if you have questions, which should be pithy and relevant to everyone in attendance.
Step 5: Pay attention Show manners and pay attention. Don't drum, tap, fidget, flip through the reading material, or cast looks around.
Step 6: Avoid binging Go easy on alcohol and food at catered meetings and conferences. You are there to do business, not fill up as if it were a party -- keep your eye on the ball.
Step 7: Complete tasks afterward Maintain etiquette even after the meeting by completing tasks, assigned as goals during the discussion, as quickly as possible. File meeting notes afterward to keep track of and report on later.
FACT: The first business cards, called "visiting cards," announced the arrival of aristocracy. Used as a social convention among the elites during the reign of Louis the XIV in the 17th century, they eventually became today's business cards.