Nowadays more meetings are being held virtually—phone, webinars, Skype, etc. Below are suggestions on how to have a productive and effective meeting where people feel heard, understood, and time is used well.
People listen differently and hear differently. I’m sure you’ve replied “that’s not what I said” to someone who has repeated what they thought they heard you say. I call this “different styles.”
Main styles of communication:
- Seeking high levels of excellence is most important.
Helpful, loyal, “word is their bond.” Sometimes can be idealistic.
- High levels of energy and quick action.
Getting results. Taking risks. Forceful. Competitive.
- Focus on relationships, getting along and having fun.
Flexible. Adaptable. Sociable. Inspirational.
- Importance of having organization, systems, details and understanding.
Reserved. Factual. Slow to act. Detailed. Methodical.
Keep in mind that we all have elements of each style. What I am talking about are the main (strong) elements of communication styles. I am not labeling or putting people in a box. My intent is to help folks realize that it is often communication styles that impact our giving and receiving information, not our personalities. When we understand how we communicate and how others communicate, we can become more effective communicators and listeners.
For example: I have a tendency to ask a lot of questions. Some people saw this as interrogation. Others saw it as questioning them personally. I had to learn to adjust the way I asked questions and how many questions I asked. I also can be very direct and matter of fact and get right to the point. Some find this offensive. I’ve learned to “soften” my communication. It is not about changing who you are. It is about being heard and understood, and hearing and understanding others.
Phone Meeting Tips:
- You have a limited time. The more people on the call, the less time you have to speak as an individual.
- If there is an agenda (which I highly recommend), come to the call prepared with what you want to share on the call. Keep your comments short and succinct. Limit your details. If people need more information, let them ask for it, especially if you are sharing personal information.
- Do not talk over others (in phone or in person). Allow people to complete their thoughts. If people are “running on,” allow the moderator to handle it. If it is the moderator that is “running on,” you can say, “Excuse me (moderator), if I may interrupt, I think we may need to table this discussion in the interest of time (or whatever). ” The point is to politely interrupt.
- Eliminate background noises. Take the call in a quiet room. Mute the phone if you need to do something that may cause a distraction.When we understand our communication style and how it impacts or off puts others and then we try to understand how others communicate, we can become more effective communicators and listeners. It will also help you to have more effective meetings.