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5 Important Tips For Meeting Communication

5 Important Tips For Meeting Communication

Start with a clear agenda, use visual aids to enhance retention, limit attendees, assign action items, and encourage feedback for efficient meetings.

Stick to the Planned Theme as Much as Possible

If you want to make sure that the discussions during your meeting stay focused and relevant to the planned theme, some structured strategies and specific techniques can assist in maintaining direction and facilitating effective communication.

State the Purpose Clearly at the Beginning

Every discussion should start with a clear statement of its purpose. It is a good idea to use the introduction to set the tone and emphasize the primary objective of the meeting. For example, if the purpose is to make a decision about adopting a new marketing strategy, make sure to say so when you introduce the subject. It will allow the discussion’s direction to be focused on this one aspect and avoid irrelevant digressions.

Steps to implement:

Preparation: develop a concise statement outlining the purpose of the meeting.

Communication: introduce the statement at the beginning of the meeting to set the direction and remind participants throughout the event.

Reminder: keep the purpose on display throughout the meeting by putting up the virtual or physical agenda for reference.

Use Agendas as Guides

Agendas are indispensable tools to keep the meeting’s scope focused and its course relevant to the planned themes. Composing an agenda requires planning and specifying all issues to be discussed, which can also provide the benefit of allowing participants to prepare and facilitate more productive dialogue. It is also an excellent idea to attach time allocations to each item on the agenda to ensure that the pace is kept under control.

Steps to implement:

Draft an agenda, specifying all topics to be discussed and a brief explanation and time allocation for each.

Share the agenda with the participants at least 24 hours ahead of the meeting.

Follow the agenda strictly during the meeting.

Constantly Redefine the Focus

When the discussion inevitably loses focus, and the topics start to deviate from the meeting’s purpose, it is a good idea to redirect it gently. A brief summary of what has been said and how it pertains to the topic at hand can be used as a tool to regain focus.

Steps to implement:

Monitoring: keep an eye on the discussion’s relevance to the agenda.

Intervention: when the discussion drifts, gently interrupt and remind the group about the meeting’s goals.

Summarization: always summarize the way the current topic pertains to the meeting’s objectives when redefining the focus.

Fellows should stay on hand theme

After dozens of missed passes, it can be quite unnerving. However, not to shift the focus from the meeting themes and purposes, coaches and moderation is necessary. It is also useful to incorporate specialized software to assist in records, studies, and for even a volleyball game, like the app mentioned earlier. If you need one, you can see more details here.

Steps to implement:

Activity: encourage participants to speak only on topics the meeting covers.

Skill Retention: use the techniques mentions above to retain fellows on-theme.

Feedback: introduce the immediate and positive type of response to encourage it.

Use the Best Technology to Enhance Communication

The efficiency and effectiveness of meeting communications can be drastically improved by selecting and employing the most fitting technology. Those tools could be utilized for virtual, hybrid, and in-person meetings to promote smoother interactions and make sure that all the participants of the meeting are included. The following are some recommendations to choose the right technology that meets the requirements of a meeting:

Choose the right communication platforms

Find and use the most fitting communication platforms for the meeting you are having. For example, video-conferencing tools such as Zoom or Microsoft teams are perfect for both interactive meetings and collaborative workshops, as they might include a wide range of functions, like sharing a screen, using a virtual board or implementing breakout rooms. Forbes has found that the use of video-conferencing solutions has made remote meeting 47% more productive.

Steps to implement:

  1. Assess requirements: determine how many participants are there in the meeting and whether they need to be split into multiple breakout rooms. Decide also whether interactive tools are needed for the meeting.

  2. Choose appropriate tools: pick the most appropriate platform that meets these requirements and is reliable.

  3. Test technology: make sure that all the participants assess the technology tools together before the meeting starts.

Enhance audio and visual quality

When the communication is virtual, good audio and video quality becomes crucial, as it serves as the base to interact with one another. Poor audio might lead to misunderstandings and fatigue, and bad visuals will make the whole meeting boring and irrelevant.

Steps to implement:

  1. Invest in high-quality equipment: employ professional microphones and check the quality of the visual side, if necessary, check the lighting and the background.

  2. Environment setup: ensure that everything is set up and have as little noise as possible.

  3. Audio tests: before the meeting begins, double-check everyone’s audio to ensure it is working properly.

Utilize engagement tools

To make sure that all the participants are included and do not wander off, use engagement tools such as polls, Q&A sessions, or real-time collaboration documents. According to research conducted by the National Meeting Industry Day, such tools as Slido are capable of increasing engagement rates by up to 30%.

Steps to implement:

  1. Prepare interactive elements: get prepared and choose which tools will be used during the meeting.

  2. Regular use: use different engagement tools at various points of the meeting to ensure high energy levels and maximum interest.

  3. Feedback loop: use the tools to view the immediate feedback and adjust the plan if necessary.

Ensure reliable connectivity

When it comes to a virtual meeting, a fast and stable internet connection is essential. Without it, everyone participating in the meeting will face technical interruptions, which will result in a loss of productivity.

Steps to implement:

  1. Recommend high-speed internet: ensure that all of the participants connect to the meeting through a stable, high-speed internet connection.

  2. Provide IT support: help the participants to test beforehand if everything is correctly set.

  3. Backup plans: be prepared for alternative options, such as phone-ins or mobile hotspot usage.

Pay Close Attention to Your Body Language

Nonverbal communication in a meeting is equally important as your message. In fact, up to 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues, as reported in a UCLA study. Consequently, understanding and mastering nonverbal communication can mean a more effective meeting and better delivery of the message. I will discuss aspects of eye contact, gesturing, posture, and whether you should mirror other participants of the meeting.

Eye Contact

Eye contact is an essential tool in establishing rapport and showing confidence. With that being said, you also can get too comfortable and engaging with a prolonged stare. A too-long eye contact will bother participants, so you should have positive eye contact every 5 to 10 seconds.

Balancing: Do not stare at an interlocutor for more than a few seconds – they might feel threatened. Similarly, do not look away for extended periods – it might look like a lack of interest.

Engagement: If a participant is gesturing or is using intense eye contact, mirror their behavior slightly to make them more comfortable with you.

Gesturing

Gesturing and using hands to emote can be an important tool to emphasize particular points. A simple use of an open palm can signify an honest talk and agreement, while pointing is generally frowned upon. If used correctly, it can be a great tool to signal to an audience about important points and make it more likely that they will remember.

Gestures should be aligned with your speech topic. However, it is generally considered unprofessional to overuse gesturing to the point of becoming a distraction. At the same time, never gesturing makes a person appear rigid and mechanical.

Posture

An open posture can seem more friendly and is generally more inviting for other participants to interact with them. Crossed arms are usually seen as a defensive position , potentially shutting down open communication.

Naturally, your hands should either be relaxed at your side, or used to gesture when you are speaking. Your torso and face should be facing the person or the group of the people you are speaking to.

Mirror

You might be able to create a bonding presence with another person. One way to achieve it is by mirroring their body: it signals to them that you are empathizing and understanding them. However, it is not about directly copying them, but rather about having a similar posture, rhythm of speech, or other aspects.

Nonverbal communication is a significant part of your message. However, by aligning it with your speech, you can significantly improve a delivery and effectiveness of your meeting.

Ask Questions to Engage Others

Engaging participants through questions is a powerful technique to foster interaction, clarify understanding, and stimulate deeper thinking in meetings. Skillful questioning can transform listeners into contributors, with a meeting becoming more dynamic and productive. A meeting effectiveness study performed by Stanford University shows that problem-solving effectiveness is 50% better in meetings where questions are invited .

Suggested Steps to Implementation of the Technique

Use Open-Ended Questions to Spark Discussions

Open-ended questions provoke participants to think and discuss, providing broader answers. The questions that start with ‘how,’ ‘why,’ or ‘what’ and cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are usually open-ended. For example, the question “What can be the impacts of this strategy?” is not leading to a simple answer and can generate a spectrum of answers and explanations.

Steps to implement:

Prepare Your Questions: Before the meeting, prepare a list of open-ended questions about the topics that are going to be discussed .

Further Elaboration: If someone makes a compact statement, use questions like “Could you elaborate on that?” or “What led you to this conclusion?”

Tailor Questions to the Public & Audience Considerations

Depending on the level of education and professional interests and expertise of the participants, questions can be tailored for a particular audience. Such a customization of questions makes them more interesting for the audience and also provides richer insight likely to be valuable.

Steps to implement:

Research Your Public: Before the meeting, research about the participants, their projects, roles, and professional backgrounds.

Prepare Ground: Develop questions that can be directly linked to the guests’ areas of expertise or worries.

Use Questions to Check Understanding or Clarify Details

It can also be helpful to use questions to gain clarification and check whether all participants are aligned and tuned in to the same issues. This can help to ensure that there are no misunderstandings and that all participants have a united perspective on the current issues.

Steps to implement:

Seek Clarification: If something is not clear to you, it is a good option to ask for clarification, e.g. “Could you clarify what you mean by ‘…’, or “Do all of us understand ‘…’ in the same way?”

Check Understanding: Before moving to another point of the presentation, it may be useful to check the understanding of the participants, asking, for example, “Does everyone feel comfortable with this?”.

Minimize Unnecessary Distractions

Distractions during the goal can diminish not only the efficiency of the meeting itself but also to ruin the general work attitude and drive of the participants. Based on the finding of some multiple studies, the average time a person need to be focused back cognitively after a single distraction is more 23 minutes . Thus, to make meetings more effective and provide necessary focus, distractions should be minimized and effective strategies should be allowed for that purpose.

Create a Controlled Environment

There are a number of guidelines that should be followed when creating an environment when people can focus.

Steps to Implement:

  • Select Right Space: Ensure that the chosen space is isolated from noisy surroundings.

  • Optimize Comfort: Control the lighting and temperature for acceptable levels before starting the meeting.

  • Arrange Seating: Ensure that people should rather turn their backs at the walking areas and windows to minimize visual distractions.

Establish Ground Rules

Having proven and effective ground rules can be especially effective in reducing distractions. Those can include an obligation to turn the mobile phone off and keep laptops closed unless their usage is directly connected with the work that is held at the moment.

Steps to Implement:

  • Communicate Expectations: Clearly define rules in the very beginning of the presentation. Also, keep it in mind during the invitation for the meeting.

  • Reinforcement: If the rules are violated in the middle of the meeting, it is important to remind them in a soft and positive manner.

Use Technology Wisely

Though modern meetings are impossible without technology that can be a source of distraction in some cases. The usage of technology can be moderated so that it was minimized.

Steps to Implement:

  • Limit Device Use: Participants should only use devices for the needs directly connected with the passing phase of the meeting.

  • Manage Notifications: Get people to silent their notifications.

Schedule Breaks

Regular breaks are important to keep the adequate levels of concentration . They can refresh, reboot, check some of the inevitable phone messages, and relax the body physically. Breaks can be from 5 to 10 minutes to be run through every hour.

Steps to Implement:

  • Plan Breaks: Ensure that 5 to 10 minutes long breaks occur each hour of the planned meeting.

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