Business Meeting Protocol

In collaboration with Empower Administrative & Business Development Services.


This is completely unacceptable, so be sure to show up when and where you are expected. If you cannot make a meeting, or you’ll be late, call or send an email/message as soon as you are able. Be sure to apologise for any inconvenience caused by your absence/tardiness.


Consistently being on time is the product of proper planning, personal discipline and a respect for other people’s time. Making a habit of being late demonstrates none of these things and is often a sign of patchy priorities and selfishness. Habitual lateness says, ‘My time is more valuable than yours.’ Learn to be reliable and a person of integrity by adopting the discipline necessary to be on time.”

Dress code

In the absence of official guidelines, ensure that your chosen attire is appropriate for the nature of the meeting. Generally, something conservative and with sleeves is regarded as proper. Women, make sure your items of clothing hide your cleavage and cover your midriff. Skirts and dresses should be no higher than two inches above the knee. Stay away from tight, see through/revealing clothing and open-toed shoes.


Read any relevant documents/material that will be pertinent to meeting discussions.

Turn your mobile off

Ensure that your mobile phone and any other electronic devices are either turned off or placed on silent/vibrate, so as not to disrupt the meeting.

Leave the room to make/answer phone calls

If your device is on silent/vibrate and it rings during the meeting and you absolutely must answer it, excuse yourself, leave the room and take the call. Do not crouch down and hide under the table to answer the phone or take the call in a corner of the room.

Do not speak when someone else is speaking

Even if you are speaking and someone interrupts you, simply be quiet. Cede the floor to them, and let that person continue.

It is okay to disagree

It is permissible to disagree with stated points, just ensure that you are polite in your disagreement. Do not disrespect or intentionally insult your colleagues in any way. Be wary of your content, tone, volume, and body language when speaking.

Know when to call it quits

Arguments can be futile and most often they impede the progress of the meeting. Therefore, recognise when to desist from engaging with an opponent. Ensure that all comments will be noted in the meeting’s minutes and simply leave it at that.

Remember the basics:

  • If you are being introduced to someone while you are seated, stand up to shake their hand.
  • Address fellow attendees in a professional manner, using titles like Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., or Professor, unless of course the general tone of the meeting permits otherwise. If you are unsure of the tone, be guided by cues from the meeting’s chairperson.
  • Under no circumstance should you allow a personal acquaintance of yours to enter into a meeting. Instead, excuse yourself and meet the person outside.



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