Meetings are a usual workplace activity, sometimes occurring on a daily basis. Time is a precious commodity during the workday and efficient use of it during meetings is essential. Here are some key pieces of advice to enhance your professionalism at business meetings.

Dress appropriately. Professional appearance is crucial to the tone of the meeting. If this is an important meeting with a serious agenda, dress as you would for your regular job.

Listen and Focus. Leave your non-related business at your desk and do your best to arrive at the meeting with a clear mind and an open ear. Pay close attention to the agenda.

Come alone. Guests are not allowed at most business meetings. Such guests include your Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, or Twitter followers. In other words, leave your smartphones on your desk. If you are presently a recovering smartphone addict, at least have the courtesy to keep this private and turn the bloody thing off.

Take notes. This is an important part of many meetings. If you use an iPad for laptop, arrive with a full charge. Plugging in is a distraction and shows a general lack of preparedness.

Stay on topic. This seemingly simple guideline is the most common reason meetings go on too long and the important matters at hand become diluted. By all means speak when you have something relevant to say, but stay on topic. If you are chairing the meeting, this is your job. Suggest another meeting for any topic which bears further discussion.

This is part of an ongoing series on etiquette in the workplace. Read previous posts here.