Meetings are common in almost all business environments and an effective communication in such meetings therefore becomes essential to come out with unanimously agreed upon results. To make your communication effective, a more professional approach is required while you speak and share your ideas in the meeting. Effective communication is a business etiquette every individual should learn to follow.
Communication is an essential element of business etiquette that oragnizations have in place as their policy for business meetings. It is an important activity especially when you are in any sort of meetings - project status update, new project kick off, project planning, etc. The success of a meeting is driven by how you represent your ideas and take active participation in the discussion through effective communication. Communication does not necessarily mean that you say out any statement and end up delivering the idea that either you did not intend to share or the attendees do not accept. To ensure effective communication in the meeting, you must speak clearly and convincingly to others, drive the objective of the meeting, and help everyone come out with a set of action items or resolutions. Following are a few guidelines to make your communication effective and productive in business meetings.
Revisit your ideas you want to share: Before you join the meeting, it is always good to quickly think over what you want to speak. Make sure that your ideas are relevant to the topic or agenda items of the meeting and be confident about them.
Re-think before you converse: Take a pause, if necessary, to think before you speak, especially when you have to respond to discussion points you did not expect to come up. Further, there might be situations when you are not sure what you should speak about a particular topic although you had thought about it before. So, do not hesitate to think before you comment on any of the discussion points.
Listen to others actively: A key to successful communication in a meeting is to be a good listener. Listen to others in the meeting to know their opinions about the topic. Try to get the idea of the speaker clear so that you can state your points of agreement or disagreement clearly. Develop your listening skills whenever possible and be a good listener.
Communicate with questions: It makes lot of difference to the communication when you ask questions about statements you need more clarity on. Do not leave your doubts to clarify later if you have an opportunity to ask upfront and clear your concerns. It is elementary that your questions should be relevant to the topic of discussion for others to be able to provide a logical answer.
Avoid distractions: You might have read an annoying e-mail or had a bad time working on your project, just before you headed for your meeting. But it is highly essential that you avoid such distractions while you are in the meeting. No matter how severe the issue is, if you have joined the meeting, stay cool and relaxed to communicate effectively.
Control your reflexes and tone of conversation: It is very difficult to control our reflexes in most instances. But, especially in a meeting, your emotions or anger should not reflect on your face even if you might be feeling low or angry due to some unavoidable situations. At the same time, if you feel happy about a discussion in the meeting, be pleasant to the listeners when you share a note of good compliment.
Respect others’ suggestions: Even though you might be an expert on the topic being discussed in a meeting, leave some space to accept what ideas others might have to share or suggest. Listen to their ideas carefully and try to understand the different picture should there be any. If some of the suggestions do not seem to work in that context, reply politely to convince the proposer why those suggestions may not work. Alternatively, note them as actions item to examine the suggested proposal thoroughly and come out with the best possible resolution.
Manage disagreements tactfully: One of the common observations in meetings is disagreement about certain statements. You need not be rude or argumentative to express your disagreement. Moreover, it might be too early to conclude about statements that require further investigations. Disagreements do not mean personal rejection. One may have a different perspective to the matter of discussion he or she is disagreeing to. So, handle such situations tactfully without spoiling your professional relationships.
Maintain your body language: While you are in communication with someone, your body posture says a lot about your interest and will to participate in the discussion. So, ensure that you make good eye contact, sit comfortably, talk softly, be specific as per the meeting agenda, and allow everyone else to speak. When you talk about something, make sure your body postures match your tone of conversation.
Effective communication can ensure that you had a result-oriented discussion in a meeting. Prior preparation and a good representation of your communication skills during meetings are very important for you and your organization. Following these best practices of effective communication in a meeting can help you meet the core objective of the meeting.