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    Business Meeting Protocol

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    Business Meeting Protocol
    A follow on to the Management of Communications discussion regarding business meeting format and protocol. We recently tried to study (informally) our meeting habits and one point was almost unanimous, groups as a whole are losing discipline. The standard rules of order, that have been an assumed skill in our business environment, have ceased to exist. People do not wait for others to finish sentences, they jump in and finish the sentence for them or they start on the next thought and talk right over them. Others have side meetings at different locations around the conference table. The skill of listening is on the wane. It has had a noticeable effect on the productivity of many meetings. It is less evident when the meeting is being run by a strong personality but nonetheless degradation in discipline is still displayed. Please answer the following 3 questions.

    1. Is it a cultural change?

    2. Is this an isolated observation?

    3. What is your opinion?

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    1. Is it a cultural change?

    When we talk about cultural change particularly change in culture in organizations, we are talking of something that is not foolproof. It is not easy and it takes time. Those who preach change in an organization's culture must be the first to initiate and model the change. Communication is the key to changing an organization's culture. However, when communication is the problem, the situation becomes worse.

    Poor listening skills in business meetings may be caused by the following barriers to communication:

    * Unchecked emotions such as anger, fear, depression - they can greatly affect the way an individual listens to the speaker. They are sometimes called emotional noise and cause listener apprehension. An example of this is a frightening facilitator in meetings. If the facilitator or manager has a problem communicating and treating his/her staff, this is one barrier to communication and naturally, the employees are apprehensive and certain barriers block the flow of information.

    * Self-absorption is also one cause and can affect listening, e.g., thinking of something about yourself or perhaps what your comment would be to the topic discussed. Sometimes language differences also affect listening skills.

    * External noise can be very distracting and can cause attention shifts.
    * Disinterest in the topic because the information may be unwanted or there is an information overload can also turn off the individual as it can cause boredom or attention shifts.

    These barriers to communication must be properly addressed. In the case of an organization which culture has arrived to negativity or has changed from positive working atmosphere to that of a negative culture, management has to reflect ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution explains the possible reasons behind deterioration in business meeting habits. References are included.