Meetings can be valuable or they can be a total waste of time. Much of a meeting’s value depends on the level of communication that goes on. Effective business communication skills help every aspect of your business, including meetings. Here are a few simple tips to open up the lines of communication and make your meetings more effective.
A Safe Place
Your meetings should be a safe environment where participants feel okay sharing their feelings and opinions. Cut down on the formality and make it warm and friendly. Make sure everyone knows that their input is highly valued.
You Have the Floor
Make sure that when participants are speaking, all eyes are on them. Let them ‘take the floor’ and speak their piece before others respond. Make sure there is no checking of smartphones or other distractions that keep people from giving their fullest attention.
Save Your Response
Often during meetings, we’re thinking about our response rather than focusing on the speaker. Practice active listening during your meetings so that you fully understand what is being said. Make understanding, rather than simply getting your opinion out, the main purpose.
The Quiet Ones
It’s only natural that in every office or workplace, there are those who stay quiet for a number of reasons. They may simply be shy or feel that their input isn’t important. During the course of the meeting, try to give them opportunities to speak and encourage them to do so.
Follow up with your meeting participants afterward and seek their feedback. Try to find out whether the meeting was helpful for them and what they thought about its contents so you can make improvements for future meetings.