Check out these do’s and don’ts to earn more respect at work.

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I once had a new boss with horrific meeting behavior. He would show up late to his own meetings, interrupt others in mid-sentence, and his anger often boiled over into temper tantrums – even to the extent of throwing things during meetings.

We’ve all seen this happen before: poor meeting etiquette. Take a look around during the next meeting you attend, and you’ll most likely see co-workers or managers who embarrass themselves by their unprofessional behavior.

What some people don’t realize is that how they act during meetings can help — or hurt their career. There are certain times at work when upper management and HR personnel scrutinize employees for their behavior: when giving presentations, when leading projects, when dealing with conflicts, and you guessed it… when in meetings. So if you want to climb the career ladder into higher-level jobs, become an expert in how you handle yourself during meetings.


  • Review the meeting agenda and be sure you understand the objectives/goals.
  • Prepare for the discussion ahead of time, by conducting any necessary research.
  • Show up on time or, better yet, be a few minutes early.
  • Say hello to other attendees and introduce yourself to anyone you don’t know.
  • Participate in the meeting and pay attention to what’s happening. This requires leaving your emails and texts unchecked until after the meeting.
  • Think before you speak — and make sure that what you say is relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Solicit comments and opinions of quiet attendees by asking them for their thoughts.
  • Take responsibility for completing (on time) any action items you’re assigned.


  • Show up late and then disrupt the meeting with your arrival.
  • Interrupt others when they are talking.
  • Speak just to hear yourself talk.
  • Check emails, texts or voice mails during the meeting.
  • Use your computer, unless you are taking meeting notes or the meeting leader has asked you to do something during the meeting.
  • Lose your temper, yell or throw things.
  • Put down other people’s ideas.
  • Use passive-aggressive negative behavior, such as crossing your arms across your chest and rolling your eyes or sighing heavily if you disagree with what someone is saying.

Bottom line: How you behave during meetings can have a positive or negative impact on your career – the choice is yours to either earn respect and gain opportunities, or lose respect and lose opportunities. Choose wisely.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at