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5 Tips For Improving Communication In Meetings

5 Tips For Improving Communication In Meetings

Start meetings with a clear agenda, limit attendance, use visual aids, and encourage concise communication to enhance focus and productivity.

Active Listening in Meetings

Active listening is a core ability that can go a long way toward more productive communication and ensuring all parties involved in the conversation really feel listened to and understood. Unlike passive hearing, active listening requires the full intent to comprehend not only the words the speaker is uttering but their full message that is not always explicit in the spoken language.

Key Principles of Active Listening

For active inquiry practices, start with being fully focused on the speaker. Turn off notifications to avoid distractions and keep steady eye contact while speaking. Nodding and making small noises suchs as “hmm”, “yes” as a hint that we’re still following demonstrate attentiveness of the activity. Paraphrasing the speaker’s message allows one to explicitly show they will be trying to understand what was said and reveals any potential misunderstandings, showing appreciation of the speaker’s input. If a team leader is speaking, sharing the statement “I feel like we’re not going in the right direction with this project” provides a response “So, John, you feel like the project goes awry, what specific issue bothers you? “

Additional Active Inquiry Practices

Another strategy to be utilized during these practices are questions. For optimal performance, these should preferably be open-ended. For example, instead of simply inquiring “So, do you like the strategy?” it will be more appropriate to ask “What are your thoughts on our marketing strategy?” The question will allow for more understanding and potentially will highlight the issue that the group has not considered yet. It can be followed up by another question, “How do you think it can be enhanced?” allowing for even more discussion and ensuring the critical thinking process as the leader’s desire. One problem can be that distractions and trying to multitask affect one’s attention to the conversation, and we have to be picky when invited to meet, always actively remembering about the commitment to understanding the other party and their context. If we still have not managed to catch these habits, regular meeting around the topic of learning to listen better, conducted for staff for instance during quarterly communication improvement workshop, can also help.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone in Meetings

Getting out of your comfort zone in meetings usually boosts effective communication, resulting in innovation and even deeper cooperation with your colleagues. By adopting such an approach to meeting, one must try to actively participate in their events, even when they do not feel like it or are afraid of the consequences.

Speaking Up and Sharing the Ideas

One of the first steps to getting out of the comfort zone is speaking up during meetings, especially if you are a shy type of person. Google conducted a study on teams trying to discover the core elements of effective teamwork. It turned out to be the psychological safe environment , which is directly connected to speaking up in different meetings, presentations, etc. Therefore, you should develop a habit of trying to voice your thoughts. You may start with a minimal goal to share one or two points at each separate event, even if you may think they are absolutely minor.

Challenging Ideas

Having a culture of challenging ideas in the team or in cooperation with other companies often serves as a stimulus to developing breakthrough innovations. For example, a strategy implemented by Pixar and described in Ed Catmull’s book on its case usually implies that all ideas are criticized by every member of the team. It helps not only improve innovational ideas but also build a culture of integrity among the team members. You should learn to question the ideas but not to offend the holder of a certain one. You should learn to say, for instance, I see your point, but have we considered the impact on X?

Taking New Roles in Meetings

You may try to get out of your comfort zone by acquiring the roles you are not used to: for example, you have to moderate speakers or open up a certain event or present your findings even if you are a technician. This will be a strong driving force boosting your communication skills as well as self-confidence.

Camera On: Enhancing Meeting Engagement

One of the easiest practices to start in a more connected and engaging communication environment is to turn the camera on during your virtual meetings. It enhances non-verbal communication and develops a stronger relationship among the team members. This will require a brief effort discussion and comprehensive guidelines for the practices to work seamlessly. In most cases, turning the camera on will increase the visual engagement of the team.

The Importance of Cameras

First, when the cameras are on, the panellists are more likely to pay attention and less likely to multi-task. For example, Zoom found that the participants using cameras on are 82% more likely to stay focused on the meeting . People are used to seeing one another when they are listening to someone: that is the way it used to be in a classroom. Although the environment would not a classroom, seeing others may still make the event look more school-like. The visual cues are important as to how we communicate and interpret information among the team members.

Second, communication requires face-to-face interaction in terms of facial expressions and body language. The team members can show that they are listening in a meeting and that they are straightforward via the cameras. For instance, a nod or a smile can make it clear that we agree with them. These behavioural cues will resolve the technology barrier as they will enhance communication. At the same time, these small communication cues will increase the overall team harmony. Make sure that no member that will keep their camera off. If you worry about one team member’s camera, ask everyone to turn their cameras off.

Leverage Technology to Enhance Meeting Communication

Efficient use of technology is one of the essential aspects of enhancing communication in modern times. It is undeniable that standard meetings can be made more dynamic and substantial than they generally are. Effective use of tech not only eases the process of managing a meeting but also adds a layer of efficiency to the event. This guide is aimed at describing some of the ways to improve both standard and virtual meetings by the use of various digital tools.

Choosing the Right Communication Platform

Among the first things to do before organizing a meeting is considering the most appropriate communication instruments to use. There is a wide range of tools to choose from, with some of the most popular being Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack. Some of these platforms have unique features to benefit different types of meetings. For example, zoom allows for the effective use of breakout rooms that split a large meeting into smaller contingent for discussion, which could add up during the last part of the meeting and share insights with the rest of the groups.

Interactive Instruments

In addition to the use of communication platforms, it could be effective to engage the meeting’s participants with the use of interactive instruments. Real-time polling could be one option, as services like poleverywhere.com are relatively simple to moderate while presenting with a slide. This way, it will allow for instantaneous feedback, which will also let the meeting become more dynamic and allow for immediate consensus building.

Meeting Enhancers

Apart from tools for enlarging meetings’ agenda, note-taking, and outcome-tracking tools can also be used to supplement the work done in the room. Apps like Asana or Trello will be perfect for both creating an agenda and establishing a follow-up task assignment system. In this way, all the participants will always be on the same page, while the overall accountability of the team will be increased.

Virtual Whiteboards

Virtual whiteboards like Miro or Microsoft Whiteboard will be Ver effective during product development meetings where there is a lot to draw. This kind of tool will let team members, no matter where they are, use their devices to view and contribute to the drawings that should be reviewed by the whole team. To guarantee the best results, it is important to ensure that your team gets used to using the tools at your disposal. It is also a good idea to supplement the instruments with how-to videos, or with short guides or cheatsheets that will help the team whenever there is something unclear.

Ask for Feedback to Enhance Meeting Communication

Asking for feedback always was and still is a powerful strategy to improve communication in meetings, help to see what works and what could be done differently. As a result, solicit feedback not only improves meeting experiences but also makes them more effective and engaging.

Adding a Feedback Mechanism to Your Meetings

One way to add a structured feedback process is to allow attendees to review the meeting experience once the meeting is over. An example could be a review meeting 15–30 minutes after the main meeting. The review is opened by asking everyone to respond in the same way to the same set of review questions. Another way is to send out a meeting feedback survey after the meeting is finished. The survey could be a digital form sent via Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, etc. The feedback is kept anonymous for both the case.

  • Example question: How clear was this meeting’s agenda? On a scale of 1–10

  • Example question: How effective was the communication in this meeting? On a scale of 1–10

  • Example question: How efficient was this meeting? On a scale of 1–10

Encouraging True and Constructive Feedback

Another key aspect of asking feedback is to encourage participants to provide true and constructive feedback. As a first step, it is important to tell attendants that the feedback will be read and that any issues raised will be addressed. One way to encourage feedback is to ask for it with true concern. Further, at times leaders can promote honest feedback by asking big, explicit questions such as “did my management really suck?”

Adding Regular Feedback Analysis to Your Meeting

The analysis itself consists of three aspects. First, you have to look at the data to identify areas that can be improved. Second, you identify the causes of these areas that can be improved. And third, use this information to make the necessary changes. If the review shows that the meeting was not efficient, reduce the size of the agenda or give each point a specific time interval.

How to Report on Review and Feedback

One way is a 5-minute kick-off: At the beginning of each meeting, we explain what changes or actions we made based on the reports after the last meeting.

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