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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Three Styles of Communicating and Meetings

Communication is essential for effective functioning in every part of an organization. Although marketing, production, finance, personnel, and maintenance departments may receive direction from corporate goals and objectives, communication links them together and facilitates organizational success.  Meetings are a common means of communicating in organizations.

Although the reasons people meet are varied, meetings generally fall into three types:
  • Information-giving meetings are used to disseminate information.
  • Information-sharing meetings are called in order to exchange ideas.
  • Information-creating meetings are generally used for planning and problem solving.

The three basic types of meetings can be related to three basic styles of communicating:

Bull's-eye style
The bull's-eye style is essentially an information-giving approach.  The sender of the information is concerned with delivering a specific message. If the message hits the intended mark, the sender is satisfied.  The sender is not especially concerned with obtaining feedback from listeners or readers; he or she is concerned only with conveying a message.

Ping-pong style
A communicator who uses the ping-pong style is concerned with the questions or responses the receiver may have. The communicator has a message to deliver, but the success of that delivery is at least partially dependent on the understanding of the listener or reader.  Too, the message may be further shaped or defined by the responses the recipient provides.  This style of communicating is often used in information-sharing meetings.

Spiral style
The spiral style does not represent a complete communication transaction.  Rather, the communicator sends a message and engages the recipients in an ongoing consideration of the message and its numerous implications. The sender of the message considers nuances, which may be as important as the original thought.  Spiraling means reading between the lines and provoking new ideas related to the initial communication prompt, which is continuously being reshaped.  The spiral style is common to information-creating meetings.

In today's business environment, finding better ways for people to communicate will propel organizations forward. Strong minds fuel strong organizations. Meetings planners have an obligation to their stakeholders (meeting organizers and the participants) to plan meetings that appeal to all
learning styles.

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