Getting the Most Out of Your Collaborators

Ever been in a meeting and wonder if you were really talking to a brick wall?  Your collaborators are so engaged with your meeting agenda that they are falling asleep? Sure, we all have had a meeting from hell where we had to pull teeth to get people to open up and collaborate. 

There IS a better way however.  One of the best ways to get people to open up for a meeting is to activate them.  You are probably saying, “Activate them? Humans weren’t made my Microsoft… we don’t need activation!”.  Ah ha! Humans do need to feel engaged before they open up.  Ever wonder why they always start conferences with an ice breaker? 

To get the most out of your collaborators, you should always start off the meeting asking each attendee to introduce themselves and either answer a question or state their purpose for being at the meeting.   This not only gives the collaborator a chance to speak, but also gives them a moment to realize why they are attending.  

For instance, I might introduce myself as, “My name is Aric, I am attending this meeting to understand how campaign xyz is being setup so that I can assist with reporting it later on.”   

In this one sentence, I communicated to the group my interest as well as my expertise.  Since the other collaborators now know that my role will focus around the reporting of the campaign and its outcome, questions about campaign tracking, database records, etc should be directed toward me.  In addition, I will know that Veronica is setting up the Salesforce end, Steve is working on search, and Nancy is interested in getting a quick turn around on the results. 

Sure, there are a lot of meetings in the company that are informal, but activating the attendees is just as important as they are collaborators.  You may not need to introduce each other, but starting each meeting out with a question that each one answers will get the ball rolling. 

Try it!