Practice Using Language Effectively in Meetings

Communication at meetings is important for any group of people.  Using communication effectively is important whether you are talking with college graduates, high school students, or PhD's.  Trying to talk in a way that will bring everyone together is key, where using fancy  words to impress others can ruin the entire meeting.

Communication at meetings is important for any group of people. Using communication effectively is important whether you are talking with college graduates, high school students, or PhD’s. Trying to talk in a way that will bring everyone together is key, where using fancy words to impress others can ruin the entire meeting.

Entry level jobs give us the chance to practice good communication in team meetings, and to observe what we do and do not like in the way that we or others speak or listen.  We will all have many meetings throughout our lives, and if we are unable to communicate well in meetings, they will not be usefully, and people will become disengaged.  Learning to be involved in meetings in your first few jobs and practicing effective communication can help you be prepared for more important meetings in future careers.

When going to school and working at an entry level job, it is tempting to use fancy words that you learn during your studies at work.  Throwing in jargon at meetings to fluff up ones speech, using technical words rather than colloquial words, or using shortened blended words, an example would be “synbio” short for synthetic biology, is tempting during meetings, but it is not helpful for the overall purpose of a meeting.  At a meeting it is important that everyone is on the same page.  Likely a meeting was called so that the owner or manager could have a chance to sit down with everyone to discuss how things are operating and make sure that everyone is working in harmony.  There are reasonable words that go along with any job or industry and may sound like jargon or be on the technical side, but those words are used because they are more specific for the situation, and make things clearer for those involved.  Using that type of jargon or tech talk is different than using complicated words that many of your co-workers will not recognize.

People may use big words in meetings because they want to gain more power and importance at the workplace.  Using large words and knowingly confusing others may provide a chance to further explain yourself, allowing you to hold your co-workers attention as you explain your big complicated words in common terms.  Unfortunately this attempt to gain control and influence over your co-workers runs against the overall purpose of any meeting.  When everyone is together you have a real chance to connect with others, and everyone should have the chance to provide creative input.  One person using the meeting to promote their intelligence in order to gain status among co-workers causes a rift among all employees.  Others may lose respect for that individual, and they may not be able to connect in a meaningful way to build relationships with anyone at work.

Making a considerable effort to sound smart at work can do more harm than losing the respect of others at work.  From the daily interactions with the people you work with, your co-workers will have already formed an opinion about you.  They will have an opinion about how smart you are from your work habits, your interests, and how you act throughout the day. Trying to look impressive in meetings and using big words to sound smart when you are talking in front of all of your co-workers will not change the way they think of you.  Meetings are not useful places to try and impress people by sounding smart.  Speaking in an overly formal manner, and using language that is not characteristic of your speech can have the opposite effect.  Your co-workers will grow to respect you more if you can speak honestly, openly, and efficiently in meetings. When you try to use big words in meetings your run the risk of misusing words and sounding unintelligent.  The language we use in team meetings does not have to be complicated, and if you want to sound smart, using simple language can often help you more than complicated language.

Practicing using your language at work to connect with your co-workers and develop a thread of commonality is the best practice.  When you are in an entry level position or working at a minimum wage job, it is likely that you will be in a meeting with people whose educational levels vary.  There may be people who are currently taking college courses alongside high school students or college graduates.  These meetings give you a chance to practice communicating in a way so that everyone understands your ideas, and can provide their own input.  You may have a great idea, and your thought may spark a better idea in someone else, and if you are able to foster an environment of open and honest communication then it will not matter if the next good idea is from the high school student or the college graduate because they will both be comfortable with sharing their thought in an easy to understand way. Use the meetings you are a part of to observe others and improve your ability to communicate efficiently so that everyone can be involved with the discussion.