At work, ensuring effective communication in meetings is often more of a challenge than it should be. Here are our top tips.
Use simple words. Not to insult anybody’s intelligence, but to make your message as clear and understandable as possible. The last thing you want is for people to have to strain and focus so much to understand your point that they give up and start thinking about what they’ll be having for dinner instead.
On the other end of the scale, you want to be interesting and engaging when you talk. Granted the topic of the meeting may not be riveting and full of opportunities for comedy. But even just gesticulating with your hands or using facial expressions while you speak can make you a more interesting person to listen to. Tone of voice is also key.
PowerPoint presentations, graphs and charts are all great ways of adding substance to what you have to say or for depicting a message clearly.
But don’t overdo them! Use them as cues only, and make sure your colleagues’ attention is on you most of the time.
Give everyone a chance to speak
A great way to do this is to encourage participants to take turns when sharing their thoughts or ideas. This may mean stepping in to stop interruptions with the clear intent to return to the question. Or employing a tactic like using a talking stick which is passed around to identify the current speaker.
Doing this gives everybody a fair chance to talk, prevents people from talking over one another and helps to avoid meetings being dominated by one or two speakers.
Be a good listener
Communication isn’t only about speaking. A major part of it is listening, understanding and acknowledging what the rest of the group has to say. Wait until they have finished talking before asking any questions you may have.
Make use of email
What you don’t want is for everyone to forget the key points of the meeting the second it has finished. This would defeat the purpose of it.
Email is an efficient and quick way of communicating the key messages of the meeting and helping to cement it in the minds of the attendees as well as anyone who was absent.
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