Monday, November 24, 2008

Entering and Exiting with Grace

Imagine you're in a meeting that has already begun. Five minutes into the session, someone barges in announcing, "I'm sorry I'm late. Can you go back to the beginning?"
He is told by the meeting chair, "No, we're moving forward. If you have questions after the session, please speak with me."
The latecomer announces, "But I couldn't find a parking place! You're not fair."
Then, three more people walk in late demanding to know what is going on and the situation snowballs into a meeting filled with tension.

What's unacceptable about this situation?
  • Is the the meeting chair's response that the meeting is moving forward?
  • What about the first tardy attended who interrupted?
  • Did he set a precedent for the other three tardies?
From this scenario it is difficult to know for certain for the full circumstances. However, if the chairperson has said the meeting will continue, he or she has the final say. Period.
If the latecomers are indeed late, they ought to have the class and understanding not to interrupt when they enter, but to come in quietly and get their bearings before asking questions.

From a business point of view, questioning a supervisor, anyone running and meeting or in authority in front of others in the same manner the first man did may result in disciplinary action and exclusion from further meetings, even if he had a legitimate excuse solely because he was rude, inappropriate and obnoxious.

When you enter or exit a meeting already in progress, do so silently and with grace.
As my mother said to me countless times, "You can make people smile when you enter a room or when you leave a room. The choice is based upon how you act around others." I say, in the business world, how you act also determines your opportunities.

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