The Professional’s Guide for Conducting Meaningful Collaboration Meetings

Have your collaborative meetings become boring? Are they just wasting time instead of inspiring team members and promoting productive teamwork? Are they lulling participants into listlessness with endless bullet-point slide presentations and dull, droning voices?

If so, it’s time to make some changes. Stand up for meaningful collaboration and start putting some life back into your meetings.

Here’s how:

  1. Pass around The Collaborator’s Manifesto. Have everyone who’s participating in the collaboration read the manifesto and be prepared to discuss it.
  2. Set a meeting to discuss meetings. Hold a discussion based on what everyone has read. Have an open and honest talk about past meetings. What has worked? What hasn’t? What needs to change? Give everyone a chance to contribute, and encourage different voices and divergent opinions.
  3. Attend our free, 20- minute webinar: How to Put The Collaborator’s Manifesto into Practice on Tuesday, October 14. Click here for all the details and to register.

The Launch Meeting: Choose an Approach

Bestselling author and blogger Seth Godin believes it’s useful to take one of two approaches during your “launch meeting,” which you’ll use to discuss the upcoming project with team members. These approaches include:

The “amateur approach.” The goal here is to create a sense of possibility and excitement. The tone is loose and fun. Sure, there will be challenges ahead, but this group’s can-do spirit will prevail.

The “professional approach.” This is a more pragmatic take on the launch meeting. It takes a more no-nonsense approach, creating an actionable plan for preemptively addressing the inevitable challenges that will arise along the way. Here, you’ll identify the things you expect to go wrong: what might lead you to spend more time or money on the project than you initially intended? How the team will communicate with one another in good times and in bad?

Both approaches engage participants and use different techniques for creating a sense of accountability. That is the key to a successful launch meeting: getting team members to buy in and play their part.

Say Goodbye to Boring Meetings

Here’s a solid, simple two-step plan that will get you on the road to more productive, more engaging meetings:

Don’t Settle for the Status Quo; Be Better

Listen to the feedback you collected from team members during your “meeting to discuss meetings.” Find ways to incorporate it into future collaborations, but also take advantage of other proven strategies for leading more productive and more worthwhile meetings.

As you’ll learn in The Collaborator’s Manifesto, successful meetings share four essential elements. Build these into your new, collaboration meeting plan!:

  • They encourage different voices. In many meetings, the loudest voices tend to dominate. That can create a feeling among team members like they don’t matter, and it’s just a handful of influential people who are really in charge. Even if you have to get creative about inviting diverse input, find a way to have as many people as possible speak up about what they think the best course of action should be.
  • They focus on team members’ strengths. Playing to the strengths of the team members helps prevent tensions from forming inside the ranks of the group. It also helps maintain positive momentum, as everyone feels like they have something to contribute and you’re not inviting trouble by forcing people too far outside their comfort zones.
  • Leaders are flexible and responsive, but not reactionary. Being open to changing direction is an essential part of sustaining engagement among team members. Respond to problems and issues, but don’t commit to wild changes in strategy just because you’ve hit a bump along the road. You want to keep everyone on board, not make them feel like the ship is sinking.
  • There’s a focus on the present. This is particularly important when projects get off track. Hold a meeting on what can be done immediately to help steer things back to the right path. This creates the kind of clarity you need to sell team members on the long-term plan, which in turn makes everyone want to do their part to right the ship.

Stand Up for Meaningful Collaboration

Boring meetings aren’t just a waste of time. They can drain morale and contribute to unhealthy, even toxic workplace relationships. Resolve to be better. Reclaim the power of collaboration. Make it yours.

Remember: the name of the game is to get everyone to buy in. One of the best ways to do that is to collaborate on the art collaboration itself. Encourage everyone to contribute to a plan to making group work worthwhile, productive and profitable. Along the way, you’ll also build a more robust, more collegial company culture, and that will benefit you for years to come.




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