The five worst things you can do in a meeting

Here are five meeting offenses that will not only drive your co-workers crazy, but will also damage your reputation within the workplace.

  1. Show up late - Occasionally there is an emergency that crops up that forces you to go into a meeting a few minutes late. But usually the culprit is poor time management. Consistently arriving late implies to your manager and your co-worker that you are either extremely disorganized or don't really respect the rules that everyone else follows.
  2. Bring your cell phone - Again, there could be special circumstances that would require having a cell phone in a meeting, such as a call from a doctor or your child's school. But if your cell goes off at every meeting and it's just your spouse needing to know if you'll pick up some Pudding Pops after work, shame on you. This behavior shows a lack of respect as well as a lack of commitment to your job.
  3. Have a side conversation - Nothing rankles a meeting leader more than two people having a whispered conversation separate from the topic at hand.
  4. Don't focus - Believe it or not, I've been in meetings when attendees have leafed through clothing catalogs or balanced their checkbook while the leader is talking. Trying to multi-task in a somewhat dull meeting might be tempting, but it's very rude. And don't think people don't notice.
  5. Talk just to hear yourself speak - It may be your way of raising your office profile, but hogging much of the meeting spotlight with philosophical ramblings will not do it. Be brief and succinct. Meetings are for communication; they are not your personal stage.