Clarity: the quality of being coherent and intelligible (easy to be understood); transparency; clearness.
While in and observing public, private, and not-for-profit meetings, we all witness a wide range of clarity. From unclear meeting agendas to poor-thinking meeting chairs; from rambling questions and responses to all out conflict; and from groups lacking decision making skills to failure to accomplish work between meetings – all these scenarios can be improved. We can all learn to listen better, think more clearly, and then to participate with clarity in our processes.
Try these ideas for improving your own, and others’ clarity.
- Write your question down before you ask it. This helps you become more clear and to state your question so that others have a better chance of understanding you.
- Write your comment or motion down before presenting it to the group. Again, this helps you become clear and your language to have a better chance of being heard.
- Practice. If you know in advance that a big discussion is scheduled, practice in advance what you want to contribute, present, or ask. Write down your thoughts, ideas, and questions. Read what you have written out loud. You’ll likely discover that you weren’t as clear as you thought. Re-write. Read aloud again what you’ve newly written. Repeat the write/read process until you are confident about what you want to say.
- Try it out with a trusted colleague, friend, or mentor. This is a different way of preparing and practicing. Sometimes we are clear in our own minds but turn out to not be clear when speaking to others. Get constructive feedback to improve the clarity of your message, presentation, or questions.
- During the meeting or conversation, listen carefully to learn whether your thoughts and questions are being asked by others; or whether others’ comments are creating space for you to contribute.
Helpful mantra: Be clear and concise. Say it respectfully. Listen fully to the responses. Learn what can happen next.
Ready for clarity of thought and of meeting process? Contact Jana Kemp: 208-367-1701 or firstname.lastname@example.org