5 Secrets to Instant Collaboration
Have you ever been in a meeting where some people talk continuously, and some people don’t talk at all? Where nothing gets accomplished because there is no clear meeting objective? Where decisions are made and re-made, and re-made, and never implemented?
When people come together to share information, discuss issues, or solve problems, you can let nature take its course or you can ensure success with these “secrets”.
1. Set the Stage
If you are attending a meeting that is going downhill, you can shift it. Here is how.
Think of something that brings you extreme pleasure then look at the person to your right. Reliving that pleasant experience will cause your entire physiology to shift. As it does, it will cause the person next to you to shift. Now, still thinking of your pleasurable experience, look at the person on your left and they, too will shift. Now, watch as this positive energy circulates the room. The result will be a more relaxed team that can begin to trust and share.
2. No Surprises
3. Ask Different Questions Differently
The questions you ask can put people on the defensive or create an open space for sharing and collaboration. Questions reflect the beliefs and assumptions of the asker and determine the response of person being asked. You can change the response by changing your intention and your phrasing of the questions you ask.
Ask questions from a place of curiosity and responsibility. If you ask from a place of judgement or in a negative state, those feelings will be communicated as if you were shouting with a megaphone. In particular, Why?” questions can sound accusational and put people on the defensive. When that happens, all collaboration stops.
Ask carefully. Great questions make people feel heard and allow them to share openly. Instead of asking questions that challenge, rephrase them and ask with an open mind.
For example, instead of asking, “Why did you do it that way?”, you could ask, “I am curious about why you put the information in this format. What was your reasoning?”
5. Respond with Respect
Meetings include people with different styles and different viewpoints. Some people want to get right to the action, some want to understand the why, and some want to make sure everyone’s feelings are considered.
In spite of the way people share information, they will talk until they feel they are heard. If they feel they are not being heard, they may get angry or shut down. You can prevent this by respectfully acknowledging each contribution, even those that are not aligned with yours. The quickest way to shut people down is to respond with a derogatory comment or to ignore the contribution with no response.
When conversations go beyond the scope of the meeting, you can acknowledge the contribution and offer to set up another meeting to further investigate the topic.
To keep your team collaborating and your project on track you need to be open, appreciative, curious and considerate. These practices take awareness, time, and practice. If you would like help with this, please get in set up Fearless Project Management Discovery session. For a limited time, I am offering confidential, personalized sessions for free.
- Adams, M. (2016) Change your questions, change your life: 12 powerful tools for leadership, coaching, and life. URL: t.ly/1wZVl.
- Goleman, D. (2007) Social intelligence: the new science of human relationships. URL: t.ly/xmBRe.