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Top Tips: Boardroom Protocol

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E-mail: Judith Bowman

Top Tips: Boardroom Protocol

Boardroom skills are as important as the skills you bring to the table. From the moment you walk into the boardroom, be aware of all your mannerisms.
  1. Exchange business cards before the meeting so you can use them and use participants’ names, keeping YOU in control – always the goal. Place others’ cards subtly, yet strategically around your portfolio so you can address individuals by name, as you comment, question, etc. Using names is powerful.

  2. The host sits at the “head of the table.” The “head of the table” is entirely contingent upon where the door to the room is located. Remember: nearly everyone watches the entrance of the room. Know this, and use it to your advantage. If you, as host, were to sit with your back to the door, whenever anyone entered, you would have to turn - away from your table (to view entrant), thereby losing ‘control’ and, awareness of your room.

  3. The person of honour sits to the right of the host. The second most important person is seated to the host’s left. Co-presenters sit opposite the host so that together, they can control the meeting. They signal, gesture, make eye-contact and connect ... to control the meeting.

  4. The host is always seated first. Ideally, participants will gather around the table, wait for host to arrive, shake hands, exchange business cards and greetings, and let the host be seated, first. Think: a courtroom and, the judge. The judge enters, all rise, the rest of the courtroom is seated.

  5. Hands: belong on the boardroom table, not on your lap. This is much more authoritative and, shows you are not “under handed” or, going to draw a sword or weapon!

  6. Sit: focused forward; remember the British Invisible “V” between you and the back of the chair. Refrain from slumping, touching your face, hair, etc.

  7. Eye contact: make eye-contact with those at the furthest end of the room; complete the thought. Wait an extra 2 to 3 seconds as you gaze at each, making them feel as though you are truly regarding THEM and, move on. Continue until you have made eye contact with everyone, thereby “owning” your room.

  8. Stand when introducing yourself as you say your prepared ‘tag line.’ Make great eye-contact around the room; remember the “presidential pose.”

  9. Use a quality pen—leave bics back at the office.

  10. Space: Take up much space. Perception: more "space" suggests you are more authoritative, powerful.
Tel: 508-888-7800   E-mail: Judith Bowman

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