Communication during meetings ought to be effective to derive the most benefit from the activity. Here are some tips to address the ill perceptions people associate with meetings and ensure effective communication during meetings.
Meetings are the most common means of Business Communication
Meetings are the most popular means to communicate business information, handle deliberations and take decisions at all levels in the world of business. However, the activity has its own shortfalls which people know and have come to accept. Ineffective communication and drain on time are common concerns that many raise with meetings.
Innovation in business communication is rife as a result of advancements in technology and Internet. Such innovations include video conferencing, Skype, corporate emailing and electronic chat systems. However, none of these has so far overtaken the traditional practice of meetings. A large portion of business communication occurs during meetings.
Notwithstanding its popularity, the major patrons of business meetings most times perceive it to be a drain on time and resources, with not much to show in respect of benefits. Hence efforts should aim to correct this anomaly and ensure participants derive the utmost benefit from meeting sessions.
In doing so, here are a few hints that would make communication effective at meetings and remove the time wasting syndrome attached to the activity.
Listen Attentively to all submissions
Communication is two way; speaking and listening. As one churns out information during a meeting, other participants must actively listen, for communication to be effective. Institute measures to avoid distractions from mobile phones, etc. The attention of all participants must be focused on the person talking and attention must be paid to verbal and non-verbal cues.
This ensures a firm grasp of the information been delivered. As participants absorb the full information they can in turn give informed feedback to the conveyor of the information. Effective communication occurs when the communicator receives feedback from listeners.
Respect Opinions of others
Some meeting participants may have preconceived ideas regarding submissions and opinions of others due to past occurrences. This point emphasizes the need to avoid attending meetings with a preconceived mindset about what others might submit.
Past encounters with certain individuals at meetings may not always be favorable. However, respectfully acknowledge all submissions, and welcome and embrace the opinion of other participants although it may not go with the agreed line of thinking.
Be clear, and concise in delivery
Effective meeting communications should be concise and at the same time simple to digest. Avoid the use of complex jargon, and complicated illustrations in submissions. Listeners may lose focus and clarity if they have to endure hours of listening to long talks and other complex analysis. As much as possible, submissions should be clear, brief and on point to make communication at meetings effective.
Take turns to make submissions
Meeting chairs should ensure deliberations and submissions are made in turns to avoid confusion and ineffective communication. Organize submissions in turns to avoid several interactions occurring at the same time. Haphazard interactions in meetings curtail proper dissemination of information. Additionally taking turns to make submissions give opportunity to all present, especially introverts to share ideas.
Develop action plan after each meeting
Meetings provide a platform to discuss issues, make changes and arrive at decisions concerning different aspects of business. But how many of such decisions actually see the light of day? Developing an action plan at the end of each meeting is an important activity to make communication effective at meetings.
Beyond devising action plan, assign responsibilities to individuals and implement a system that effectively monitors progress to actively implement actions and decisions from meetings.