10 tips for communicating efficiently in meetings

Over the weekend “Yesterday” by the Beatles was played on the radio. The presenter mentioned that Paul McCartney wrote the song in ten minutes. Queen, Adele and other musicians also composed world hits in such a short period.

Trainers of team sports have around ten minutes at the half-time interval of matches to reorganise their team tactically for the second half. The attention of the players must be ensured immediately in this brief coaching phase and the relevant points and necessary measures must be communicated using clear messages.

Also in companies the need for communicating key messages within a few minutes, particularly in meetings, is increasing. These meetings often start later as not all participants are on time. After the meeting has started discussions of problems eat up a lot of time and the attention of the participants fades as e.g. e-mails are processed at the same time.

Managers must therefore readjust their communication for meetings. The following ten tips help to make efficient use of the reduced attention phases of the participants and to communicate messages in a concise and understandable manner, e.g. in around ten minutes.

1) Set yourself objectives

Be well-prepared. Define the objectives for your communication. Do you want to communicate something new? Should something change? Do you want to praise or criticise? The clearer you define your objectives, the more target-oriented your communication.

2) Put yourself in your target group

Concentrate on your target group. Who are you targeting? Is it an individual or the entire team? What is the level of information of the target group? The better you know your target group, the more attention you can give them.

3) Convey key messages

In order to attain your objectives, you have to convey your key messages accordingly. What should the target group understand and master? What should it change? The clearer and more comprehensible you convey these key messages, the easier they are to remember.

4) Explain the key messages

Describe why these key messages are important to you. What basis is there for these key messages? Did mistakes happen that must be corrected? The better you can explain your key messages, the more comprehensible they are.

5) No interruptions

Avoid interruptions during your presentation so that your key messages are not taken out of the overall context. The more coherent and consistent your key messages are recognized, then the easier it is to understand the whole topic.

6) Answer confidently

You should answer questions accurately in order to increase the effectiveness. Anticipate these questions in your preparation and work out responses. The more comprehensively you can anticipate questions, the more confidently you can respond to them.

7) Repeat the key messages

Assume that your key messages are not fully perceived by your target group with a one-off mention. Therefore, repeat your key messages. The more often you do this, the greater their significance and importance are perceived to be.

8) Keep it short and sweet

Your topic is important, therefore tend towards detail. Nevertheless, the following applies: Keep it short and sweet. Discard filler words, empty phrases, as well as insignificant information, when communicating your key messages. The more precise your key messages are, the easier they are to remember.

9) Practice, practice, practice

No one is born a master, also when communicating important key messages. Create a manageable concept and practise it sufficiently. The more confident you feel, the more convincing you will be.

10) Stay on track

Do not end your communication after a fixed date or deadline. Keep in touch with your target group and listen carefully. The better informed you are, the more attention you can pay to the long-term effectiveness of your key messages.

Summary

The number of meetings in companies is high. The information overload increases, so too does the likelihood of diversion and inattentiveness. In order to convey important key messages in shorter timeframes, managers must communicate more efficiently and must be better prepared.

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