Etiquette for Walking Into a Room With People

Slip into the meeting quietly if you arrive after everyone else is seated.
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If you're the life of the party, making a grand entrance might be expected of you. But in many circumstances, you must observe certain rules of etiquette when you arrive at a meeting, gathering or conference where many people are already in attendance. Depending on the setting, your role and the timing of your arrival, adhere to social graces that match the circumstances.

1 Business Meeting

If you enter a business meeting on time and people are milling about before they take their seats, say "hello" to a few people and take your seat, especially if the meeting is scheduled to begin soon. If you're a late arrival and practically everybody in the room turns around -- diverting their attention to the speaker -- quietly say, "excuse me." Quickly find a seat and get settled without distracting others. When you start participating in the meeting, there's no need for profuse apologies for arriving late, unless of course, you are the keynote speaker.

2 Social Gatherings

When you show up for a social gathering, look for the host or the person who invited you and make eye contact, as if to say, "Hello, I'm here." If you're wearing a coat, ask the greeter or the host where you can rest your belongings. Once you've become acclimated, make your way through the gathering and invite yourself to people you don't already know. Avoid being the wallflower, as in someone who just stands against the wall nursing a cocktail all evening.

Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.