Meeting | Chapter Four
A meeting or a seminar is all opportunity for a number of participants to attend and discuss certain issues. To avoid confusion and complexity, proper etiquette should be observed.
First of all, the invitation to participate in the seminar must be replied to ensure the participant’s seat in the seminar. Many people ignore this point, thinking that the organizers must be prepared to accommodate them. Remember that the number of attendants is as important as the agenda to be discussed.
If there are papers to be presented at the seminar, make sure that such papers are dispatched to the organizers in time for the preparation of the seminar. Details as to the accommodation required or number of persons accompanying you (some seminars/ meetings allow participants to bring companions for the accommodation but not to the seminar itself) should be provided. If you have preference or particularities in the area of food (e.g. vegetarian, pork-free, beef-free, seafood-free, allergy-free), this must also be mentioned.
Once one has replied that one accepts the invitation to participate in the seminar, one has to be prepared to contribute to the success of the seminar and to make the time spent at the seminar as fruitful as possible. If one is assigned to deliver a speech or present a paper for discussion, the time allotted for the purpose should be strictly kept, or else the whole timetable will collapse. Many speakers or resourse persons are often carried away while talking, becoming a microphone maniac person who would not let go of the microphone despite several warnings from the moderator. Remember that the time gained by one person will mean the time lost for another person. Perhaps the following tips will help to remind seminar/meeting participants of what should be done during that occasion.
This counts for all occasions. One has to be punctual when entering the hall of the seminar and punctual as speaker or debater. Some people want to show off and like to keep the limelight on them by standing up frequently and asking lengthy questions that may not be relevant to the issues discussed at the time to annoyance of other participants. Remember that the time and effort of other people also matter. This is an opportunity to share ideas and experiences, not a podium where deliberations are monopolized.
Any meeting or seminar is a formal or semi-formal occasion, business-wise. Attire that demonstrates your ability to grasp the importance of the occasion will be of course more favourable to wear than fashionable clothes that call for wearing on other occasions. A dark colour or soft colour suit or national dress, if not too conspicuous, is advisable. Leave it for some other time even though you prefer to have the tank top or short, short skirts to make you feel at ease, wholesome and up-to-date.
Although this is not quite an occasion for socializing, the acquaintances and friendship fostered here will come as a great help when you pursue further work in this area. So be friendly, helpful and considerate towards other participants.
A seminar or a meeting is not a lecture where you attend only to be informed. There must be an exchange of ideas, knowledge and experiences, questions and answers to clarify the issues concerned, in order to make the whole session worthwhile. Keep your shyness to yourself and try to contribute and demonstrate your ability as much as possible.