Meetings are a place where collaboration should thrive. Unfortunately, with Zoom fatigue and lack of in-person contact, meetings have become a bit of a drag. They usually go longer than expected, and employees can’t contribute as much as they would like to. In the end, these situations make everyone dissatisfied, and meetings just end up taking the time that could be spent doing something more productive.
Luckily, there are things you as a manager can do to make meetings more collaborative, thus, more productive. In this article we’ll talk about the top three things you can do to inspire your team to become more collaborative and productive.
Invest in a Collaboration Stack
Before we start talking about people, we should see where you are when it comes to technology. Which tools are you using? How are they affecting collaboration and communication? If you’re holding brainstorming sessions without an online whiteboard tool, you should check out this software. It helps employees work together in real-time, while adding different visual aids to better elaborate their ideas.
Online whiteboard tools have become dramatically more popular in recent years, and for a good reason. They inspire creativity, and help employees come up with more innovative solutions to the problems they might have.
Besides the online whiteboard, you can also include different video conferencing tools, presentation tools, or other tools that might be specific for your team.
Make Meetings a Safe Place for Your Employees
Your team members need to feel safe coming into a meeting. This means that they feel free to share their honest thoughts and ideas. At the same time, you should encourage employees to have healthy, respectful discussions.
When your employees feel safe, they’ll be more communicative, collaborative, and they’ll be able to come to innovative ideas and solutions. If you aren’t sure where to start, try creating a “rulebook” for the meetings. Include some basic principles of communication that will help your team stay on track while discussing different topics.
Don’t Just Get Down to Business
Don’t open a meeting by talking about the agenda. Instead, make the time to create a connection between your team. Always set aside a few minutes in the beginning to talk about everyone’s weekend, life updates, or anything else that’s not work-related.
While collaboration is a “work thing”, it’s not only built through working on tasks. It’s built through genuine, human interaction. If that’s your team’s thing, you can organize virtual hangouts and create other spaces for connection, like Slack channels.
Ensuring that your team collaborates effectively means you’re investing in your company’s productivity. Now, effective collaboration won’t happen overnight, or without encouragement. That’s why you need to make sure that everyone on your team feels safe about sharing ideas or criticisms, and that you’re using the right apps (like an online whiteboard tool) to spark creativity.
In the end, don’t forget that your employees are human, and that they need to feel genuinely connected to their peers in order to work good together.