Should business meetings be less formal these days?
My other half and I recently acquired a puppy. Whilst he has
been a joy to behold his separation anxiety has been less than music to the
ears of our poor neighbours so, when my partner had to take business trip to
Hong Kong and I needed to attend a meeting, I had to consider whether it would
be ‘professional’ to take Bob the puppy with me.
Fortunately my meeting was with a client who owns a local
pub and who I have known for several years. She said it would be fine if I brought
the puppy and that she would have her five month old baby daughter with her
At the time I didn’t think much about it. We had our meeting
and Erin cried a little bit and I had to take Bob out for an urgent wee, mid-sentence,
but other than that our business was conducted smoothly and in a timely manner.
Now, I am no bra burning feminist, but when I got home I wondered if either of
us would have felt less comfortable if our meeting had been with a man in a
sharp suite and in a more formal environment than a pub. I wondered; would we
have apologised for our little bundles of distractions? Would we have left our
wards with sitters to appear more ‘professional’? Furthermore, I wonder, how would
a Father feel taking his baby to a meeting?
For many of us the perception of ‘being professional’ has
changed dramatically to how we saw it ten years ago. With our paperless, communication
technology one wonders why we bother to don a suit and travel into the city just to sit
at a PC and email someone. In my opinion if more business’s took a less formal approach
to generating income we could all enjoy watching our children grow up and have
a better work life balance. Imagine the day when we employ the service of child care for our own time out rather than just so we can go to work.
Down with the flip-chart and the board-room and in with the Ipad
and the pub. Bring on Ipub meetings!