Now that the holidays are over and we are back to the daily grind, I thought I would take a moment to cover a few basic business protocols/courtesies. Nothing earth shattering, just some basic guidelines to follow that lend themselves to making things run smoother at the office. Most of these apply to conference room etiquette – please remember others use the conference room AFTER you get done.
- If you have rearranged the tables/chairs, please put them back the way you found them. Nothing's more fun than having to spend the first 5 minutes rearranging the room. This is really irritating when someone has taken chairs out of the room and we wind up playing “musical chairs”.
- If you have reformatted the overhead projection system to work with your laptop, please set it back to the original format when you are done (if not, it typically takes 10 minutes for the next user). I tend to make use of technology if it is available. That includes the PC in the room that is hooked up to the projector. Helps to show things on the wall for everyone to view but, without the system, I have to resort to shadow puppets on the wall.
- Keep the meetings on time. I know your problem/meeting is important, but our time is valuable too. Maybe I am just being picky, but when I have scheduled a meeting for a group (6-10) of people at 10:00 am, I expect to be able to start at 10:00. Few thing are more irritating than to have to a) ask if you are almost done and b) wait outside while you wrap it up. Pick it up and move along.
- DO NOT write critical information or agendas on the chalk/white board and expect to have it remain there in perpetuity. While in one of my myriad of meetings last week, I noted that there was a technical analysis written out on the board that has been there since before Thanksgiving with the tag line: “DO NOT ERASE”. That situation tends to really piss me off. If it is that important, have someone transcribe it and send copies to the entire group. I have even seen one guy take a picture of the board on his Blackberry to retain if for his notes. In the case where it is obvious that the notes and message have been there a while (anything over 48 hours is fair game), I tend to make a few changes. I added several notes, made a few numerical changes, through Pi into the equation as some point, made a few random/unrelated criteria, and an occasional lewd picture (I know. I know. That’s petty/childish, but that’s how I roll).
- Be on time. Based upon how others operate around here (see note c), some people like to drift around 5-10 minutes late because they do not expect everyone to be there on time. Again, I may be nitpicking here, but when I say the meeting starts at 10:00 am, I’m teeing off at 10:01. If you are late, catch up on your own dime. Of course, this rule is usually bent/broken depending upon how high up the food chain you are, but that’s still no excuse.
- Bring your own weapons/equipment. I have enough of a challenge trying to organize a group of people with totally conflicting schedules/attitudes, please bring your own pens/pencils/paper to make notes. I would not expect to show up in class and have the teacher to give me notepaper. To quote the Boy Scouts: Be Prepared.
- KISS (Keep It Short Stupid) principle applies. We only have a limited amount of time on this planet, so please keep to the script/agenda and let’s get through the meeting on time. Much as I love spending one (plus) hour of my life sitting in the same meeting room with you, I do have other things to accomplish before I retire. If you want to have a side or tangential conversation, schedule your own damn meeting.
Have a great week and remember, there are only 341 more days until Christmas!