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Retreat etiquette

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At this time of the year, many companies organise retreats for their staff to plan ahead for the year. During meetings like this, you should be on your best behaviour

Be friendly

According to www.thepolishedprofessional.wordpress.com, speak and shake hands when you enter a room. To transmit confidence and strength, your handshake needs to be firm and steady. You should also be able to express what it is you do or who you are in less than a minute. Have an elevator speech that will yield profitable results and pleasant conversations.

Smile

 You need to be serious and professional. However, you also have to be pleasant and approachable.  Make sure your body language communicates the message you and your company want to send, especially if it’s a large retreat attended by people from different organisations.

Bring business cards

Your purpose should be to meet and hopefully bring back business.  Do not run out midway through the conference, meeting, or networking session.  Do your homework and figure out whom you would like to meet and see over the next few days.

Pack extra batteries

Likely, there won’t be enough electrical outlets and you might kill someone if they have to trip over your legs and cables as you sit along the wall–that is supposed to be used as an aisle–because you’ve set up shop next to an outlet. To make things easier, you should bring extra charging cables. Just in case you lose one, or decide to be a hero and lend your spare one to someone that forgot theirs.

Silence cell phones

The moment you enter the conference building, turn your ringer off. People have sacrificed time and money to hear the speaker, not your cute ringtone. If you do have to take a call, leave the room. No matter how quiet you think you are talking, you are still causing a distraction.

Network

If you think clients or associates will also be attending, send a note card in advance.  It will be a great gesture on your behalf whether they are attending or not. You should also choose workshops for the information you want to receive. Also consider the people you want to meet and network with when choosing.  You may have to make a decision on which is more important because it may not be the same workshop for both goals.

Do not over indulge

Do not gorge yourself on anything; whether food or drinks.  Leave the conference with your image enhanced, not as the retreat joke.

Move around

When you meet someone, introduce yourself and exchange business cards.  Have small talk and set up another time to meet, or a time for a call when you return to the office.  Shake hands as you leave, thank them and then move on to the next person. Come to the session prepared with notebook paper and pens.  If you forgot to bring some, you may be able to find a notepad in your hotel room or at the front desk, but better to be prepared ahead of time.

Don’t build kingdom of chairs

That empty seat next to you is not reserved for your backpack or handbag. Be considerate about taking up more than one chair, especially if the room is crowded. If you see someone looking for a chair, and there is one empty next to you, raise your hand and let them know– that way, you can be sure that you just made a new friend!

It is time to learn

If you’re with a chatty attendee, politely tell him or her that you would love to talk after the session.  Be polite, sincere, and firm.  Tell them right at the beginning of the conversation.  If you wait too long to say something, you can get hooked into the conversation, and it will be more uncomfortable to get out.

Respect the speaker

As a speaker, it can be frustrating to be on a stage in front of a group and realise attendees are chatting among themselves.  If you must have a conversation or make a phone call, please leave the room out of respect.

Wear your name badge

Always pin your name badge on your clothing.  The right side is preferable for it is easier to read when you shake hands.

Meal time

At meals, remember the basics and introduce yourself to everyone at the table.  Do not reach over the table to shake hands.  Meet everyone before you sit down.  Do not eat until everyone at your table is served.  If you are waiting for a special meal, let everyone know it’s okay to start eating because your meal will be late.

Appearance matters

You will be judged by your appearance. This applies to both sexes. What you wear will go a long way to determine how your reputation will be perceived. Embrace it, or go with business casual and not worry about it. Meanwhile, if you are going to wear a comical t-shirt, why not make one to promote your business?

Hands on your glass

The only time your hand should be touching another person is when you shake their hand. Unless you are already friends with someone, do not hug, touch their leg, or rub their back. This goes for both genders. You’ll either send the wrong message or become the subject of a social media post.

Follow up

If you say you’ll send someone an email or follow-up, do so. Don’t miss that opportunity to reconnect and perhaps do some business. Ideally, you should follow up with someone within a week of returning home–so the connection doesn’t go cold. Meanwhile, do not add someone’s contact info to your email mailing list unless they specifically asked you to do so.

Stay off social media

Do not be the one posting and tagging unwanted pictures on social media.  You need to ask permission or better yet, ‘what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas.’

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