Meeting & Convention Etiquette

Nobody is interested in shaking your wet, clammy hand.

This and other tips to keep in mind when attending a larger conference or small business meeting.

Raise your hand if you've ever been to a conference and someone's phone starts going off in the middle of the keynote? And did you cringe, shake your head, start scanning the audience for the culprit? How distracting. 

Whether you're attending a large, state-wide conference or small, industry meeting, it's important to be on your best behavior. Maybe your best behavior is a little too much to ask. So let's break it down for the cheap seats in the back. 

  • Do the Research | Dig into the conference website and learn more about the event, theme, speakers, vendors, etc. 
  • Get to Know the Community | While researching the event, open a new tab and learn more about the host community and what it has to offer after hours.
  • Respect the Speaker | Maintain focus and turn your phone on silent. Better yet, maybe it's time to "Break Up With Your Phone"

[...] Price still makes a point of asking everyone to get out their phones and turn them off. “And then I make some comment like, ‘Some of you are probably hating me right now,’ and that normally gets laughs because they are,” she said. “And even as I’m saying this I’m anxious for them, because what if they miss an important call? So then I say, ‘Well, if you need to check your phone, I just ask that you step out into the hallway to do it. Just as you would step out if you needed to use the bathroom, you wouldn’t do that in this room.’

Price uses the request as “an opportunity to thank people for choosing to give their time to the experience, and to say that it’s very distracting for me as a speaker to see phones,” she said. “I make the point that this is really a question of etiquette. We have not yet decided what we want the etiquette to be around our phones.”

-Barbara Palmer, PCMA Convene Magazine on journalist Catherine Price, author of "How to Break Up With Your Phone"

  • Wear Appropriate Conference Attire | Okay, we're not saying to go out and buy a brand new closet for your conference, but do consider what the conference attire expectation is and how you want to represent yourself.
  • Be On Time | It's that simple.
  • Shake Hands | Surprisingly, this can get a little tricky, see example below:

Etiquette Pro Tip: Nobody is interested in shaking your wet, clammy hand. Shake hands after you’ve properly eaten and washed. At this point, greet verbally, and your client will understand. If you're at a cocktail reception, on the other hand, try holding your drink in your left hand. It leaves your right hand free for handshakes without risking a cold, wet hand.

  • Take Notes | The engaging experience at any event will drain your brain, so make sure to take a few notes to bring back to your team.
  • Hold on the Table Conversation | Just like the phone, a whispering side conversation while the speaker is speaking is annoying for everyone around you. Try it old school and pass notes if it's really that important.