While your business etiquette faux pas may not see you banned from presentations and negotiations for life, it may certainly put you in the hot seat at your next meeting or conference with a potential client.. Avoid encounters that may cause others to view you as less than polished by steering clear of these egregious errors:
Humility is key in the world of sales. Confidence is always a welcomed and expected companion, but make sure you’re walking into that demo2win workshop or lunch call with an equal amount of modesty. Be cognizant of the time and effort that goes into all that makes up a presentation or meeting. Instead of being self-centric, give focus and attention to the thoughts and ideas of the others in the room. The exaggerated and inordinate opinion of one’s own worth at the expense of others is a major “DON’T.” There’s nothing more irritating than the person in the room who thinks that all things (personal and professional) revolve only around him or her, so just because you think it’s an emergency, doesn’t mean that it is. Do not take that phone call. Don’t send that text. Put your phone away and be present in the present. Nothing communicates lack of respect for someone’s time and effort more than checking out of the meeting and checking onto the onlines.
Don’t Be Guilty of Time Theft
Clients and colleagues will remember the respect you give to them and to their projects and potential ventures. Be prompt, if not early. Pay attention and wait until the time is right to add to what your colleagues have to offer or what your potential client desires to share, never desiring that all and eyes and ears remain on you. There is little that is more offensive than assuming your agenda, time, and/or voice is more important than the agendas, time, and voices of others. There have been individuals who have arrived late to a number of 2win workshops while carrying a piping hot cup of coffee. Late. With coffee. Don’t show up late with a hot coffee in hand simply because you “just couldn’t survive” without it. You can and will. If you want that coffee badly enough, you will plan in a way that makes it happen, as well as sees you arriving just a wee bit early to your meeting or presentation. In addition, don’t steal the spotlight from If it were all about you, it wouldn’t be a meeting, but rather a one person show.
Food No No’s
Practice temperance in your snack and drink choices as you plan your next presentation or meeting. It’s okay to arrive with a coffee, and sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. (It’s also okay to show up with coffee for everyone.) You’ll just need to avoid the pastrami on rye with chips unless it’s an agreed upon something.The smells that are the result of a variety of sandwiches and snacks littering the table can be enough to shut down even the most productive meeting, in addition to giving what might be considered less than presentation ready breath.
Missing the Point
Even the best occasionally slip into the bad habit of looking out for number one, rather than focusing on the true goal of the day. Maybe you think you haven’t had the face time you’ve deserved, and are simply eager to share your ideas with your colleagues and/or team leaders. But just because you may want to get in the same amount of quality time that your colleague had during that lunch meeting on Tuesday, doesn’t mean that you should use the meeting space as an opportunity to make up for what you feel you’ve lost. If you call a meeting, make an agenda. Then stick to it. The best in the industry agree that no meeting or sales pitch should take longer than 90 minutes, and sometimes that’s pushing the boundaries of good business behavior. Don’t lose track of your goal, and the goals of your team, buy adopting a personal agenda that outshines the group plan.
Letting Your Emotions Take Over
Do all things with patience and maybe a little mercy. (I’m looking at you, Monday mornings…) There’s no place in a productive space for anger, or the desire to belittle another. Speak up, but think before you do. And when you decide what needs to be said, do so not in anger, not sarcastically, but mission centric and with a focus on real resolution. Remember that you’re a team with common ideas and similar goals. If, instead of being topic focused or solution based, you’re more concerned with challenging the person instead of the problem, you might just be the problem.
Dressing for the Fairway Instead of the Meeting
Be diligent in the “person” you put forward in every meeting or sales opportunity. Understand the difference between formal and casual wear, making sure to dress appropriately, as it reflects close attention to your audience, whether that be a colleague or a potential client. A tucked in shirt is never taken for granted, and it might not be a bad idea to keep a change of clothes in the car or office for those “just in case” moments that always seem to plague us at the most inopportune moments. In addition, clean up after yourself! In this particular case, Mom’s rule was best: leave it better than you found it!
Taking steps to avoid these business faux pas will take you far in the eyes of your colleagues, as well as potential clients. The best part about it is that, with just a bit of mindfulness, these can be implemented today.