Author Archives: Carrie Pallardy

Communication cues that can make or break a meeting

The workplace has embraced the digital world wholeheartedly. With email, Google chat and video calls all at our fingertips, in-person meetings can seem unnecessary. When your co-workers roll their eyes on their way to the conference room, it’s likely because those team meetings aren’t actually productive. It’s easy for a big group of people to get off track and spend valuable time spinning their wheels, instead of connecting in a meaningful, productive way.

meeting communication and productivity

But that doesn’t mean the traditional meeting is a lost cause. Some things that are understood easily during face-to-face interaction can get lost in digital translation. In-person meetings still have significance in the workplace, but how useful that time actually is depends on how you and your team communicate across the conference table.

Verbal communication

If you’re in charge, start off with a quick summary of the agenda before diving in to the meat of the meeting. Verbal confirmation of the agenda makes sure everyone is on the same page and decreases the risk of going off track.

Everyone, leaders and participants alike, should remember that every meeting is an opportunity to demonstrate professionalism. Speak clearly and carefully. You can be passionate and persuasive without being aggressive or loud.

Speaking is just half of the verbal communication equation, however. The other half – perhaps even more important – is listening. Truly productive meetings require that participants actively listen and respond to one another. If you stop talking only to continue as if no one else had any input, your meeting will be a waste of everyone’s time.

Nonverbal communication

Much of what is lost during email threads is out in the open in meetings. Tone of voice, eye contact and body language all matter.

When leading or presenting in a meeting, try to be aware of your entire presentation – not just your talking points. Are you speaking to engage your listeners or droning on in a monotone? Are you making eye contact or looking at your feet? Are you using your hands while you speak or crossing your arms? Your team members will notice these nonverbal cues, consciously or not. Speak in a positive voice, make eye contact with everyone and try to convey open interest with your body language.

Not everyone thrives on speaking in a group, but even making small changes to how presenters communicate can improve the productivity of every meeting.

Do you have any advice for making the most out of meetings? Let us know in the comments.

4 steps to creating attractive content

content, writing, marketingContent constantly clamors for attention. Everywhere you turn, a blog or “listicle” is trying to catch your eye and send some kind of message. With this much competition, how can you make sure your content stands out from the crowd?

Here are four quick tips to write content that your audience will actually read.

  1. Get to know your audience. This first tip seems like a no-brainer, but with the Internet at your fingertips it’s easy to assume you know what kind of content your target wants after a few quick searches. Instead, try actually talking to your audience – whether that means connecting with existing customers or potential clients. Simple conversations can uncover some great insights, such as pain points you can address with strategic, effective content.
  1. Put a game plan in place. After you’ve taken the time to know what your target group wants, you can figure out how to craft a piece of writing that delivers just that. Before you sit down to bang out a piece of content, however, ask yourself if you’re actually offering something of value. Does the content teach your audience something? Are you helping solve one of your audience’s problems? Create a plan around each piece of content to ensure it has a clear message that resonates with readers.
  1. Think about your format. Now you know what your readers want from a piece of content, but how do they want it? A great piece of content can go unread by the people it would benefit most if the format doesn’t appeal to them. For example, busy executives probably aren’t going to find the time to read a long narrative, but content delivered in quick, no-frills bullet points is really going to hit home.
  1. Find out how your audience likes to connect. Once you have a piece of content your audience will love, it’s up to you to deliver it. Experiment with the best ways to connect with your target group. Do they use social media? If so, what platform? Helpful tools like Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights help you track audience engagement to find the platform that works best for you. If you’re still not sure, use Google Analytics to track what drives traffic to your website

Do you have any tried and true strategies for creating content that connects with your audience? Let us know in the comments.