Tips for Top Virtual Meetings 8 – Clarity Simplicity Brevity
To achieve presence and influence in business contexts you need to ensure clarity, simplicity and brevity in everything you do, and nowhere more so than in an online forum. Read on…
I have said previously that any meeting needs a defined purpose and this must be clear to all participants. The agenda must be simple, designed to achieve that purpose.
But there is more to this. When you speak (actually anywhere, but we are discussing virtual meetings) the language you use must have clarity: avoid unnecessary jargon, acronyms or ‘business-speak’. You must speak out, opening your mouth and projecting your voice to those listening. This will help overcome any tendency to mumble or mash your words, but you might also want to give your articulation a health check: it is all too easy to fall into lazy habits, especially words you use often! It’s simple to do this, just look up some tongue twisters and give yourself a few workouts! And don’t forget to pause and speak with a well-judged pace: torrents of fast talk do not lead to clarity.
Look for simplicity in your language. I have noticed a trend in business for people to use unnecessary constructions or ‘sophisticated’ words: I often hear “at this moment in time”, it would be simpler and better to say “at the moment”, “now” or “currently”. Similarly: “co-ordinate” would be better than “synergize”, “motivate” would be better than “incentivize”.
Rid yourself of any habits you may have adopted of repetitive phrases, “as you know”, “as I said before”, “basically”, “like” (I could fill a page of these!).
If you are using any slides, keep them simple, visual and illustrative, not repetitive of what you are saying.
And finally, always try to be brief. Structure your thoughts, making sure that you only note key points and those that are completely relevant to the discussion. Do not try to say everything, ‘just in case it’s useful’, or to ‘show how much you know’. Preparation will be key, especially on more complex points and it stops you just saying everything as it pops into your head. Make a few bullet-point notes, breathe, maintain composure and thus stay focused and succinct. Keep it relevant, keep it brief.