Tips to Promote Successful Collaboration

When attendees work well together, meetings run more smoothly and outcomes are achieved.

Many business meetings require attendees to work together—whether they need to decide on a budget proposal, brainstorm new ideas, produce the next great marketing campaign or learn a new technology. Since the need for teamwork is inevitable, why not make it more effective?

Encouraging collaboration will help lead to achievement of your meeting goals. Here are six tips on how to do just that.

Keep Calm and Collaborate

  • Establish respect. It’s essential for everyone in the meeting to show respect for others’ time and ideas. Showing respect includes focusing on the tasks at hand and eliminating distractions (we’re talking to you, under-the-table texters!).
  • Have a method. Deciding how to collaborate is half the battle when working with groups. Choose one method of training, decision-making or brainstorming to eliminate any confusion about process.
  • Ban shyness. For collaboration to happen, communication is essential. Encourage all members of the group to add their thoughts, either orally or in writing, even if they disagree with the ideas or decisions already presented. Successful collaboration relies on a variety of perspectives and contributions.
  • Include the right people. Collaboration works best when all key players are involved from the start. Invite those who are dedicated, motivated, focused and willing to share their opinions freely and respectfully with the group. It’s important that these people have a variety of skills, backgrounds and points of view.
  • Play devil’s advocate. Choose one person (or a group of people) to examine the project, idea or decision from an opposing perspective. This tactic will help the group identify holes in the process and work out potential kinks.
  • Allow for individual reflection. Group work is often necessary, but sometimes great ideas come from solo reflection. Build in time for attendees to gather their thoughts or organize the pieces of a decision or project. Another way to allow for this kind of individual reflection is to have participants work on aspects of a project before the group meeting.