In the workplace, communication skills don’t stand on their own. You don’t need to write well just for the sake of writing well, but to convey a message in writing. You don’t want to learn presentation skills just for the sake of it, but to be able to persuade and inform people via your presentation.
How does that apply to meetings? First, the skills part.
The communication skills necessary to either run a meeting or take part in one include speaking, listening, sometimes writing, and often persuasion. Let’s focus on the first two.
When it’s your turn to speak, you need to express yourself clearly and concisely so that other people at the meeting receive and understand your message. This includes the tone of your voice, the volume and speed of your speech.
There’s not much use having something useful to say if you mumble at a volume too low for people to hear, which is a common failing in many of the business meetings I’ve attended. If you want to get a point across, you need to think it through, express it well and speak up so that people can hear it.
The other side of this process is listening.
When someone else is speaking, don’t simply wait until they draw breath so that you can jump in and speak again, or spend the time thinking about what you are going to say next. That’s not listening at all.
Pay attention, even if you disagree. In fact, it’s perhaps even more important to listen when you disagree. Why? First, you may find the other person presents you with new information you hadn’t considered, and opens the possibility of your changing your mind or at least modifying your position. That’s called dialogue!
Even if that doesn’t happen, when you do finally speak up to offer your point of view, you’ll be able to present a reasoned argument instead of a thoughtless reaction.
The last part of my definition of applied communication is “in order to get things done.” If a meeting doesn’t meet this requirement, it has really wasted everybody’s time.
Everyone should be clear about the objective of the meeting and move towards attainment of that objective. The meeting leader must be responsible for the first part, and everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the second. You can learn more from Global Speech Academy.
To summarize, when we lead or attend meetings we speak, we listen, we discuss and we decide. Ideally, all these activities lead to achievement of the objective of the meetings. So it really is all about applied communication.