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How To Run A Collaborative Meeting

Facilitate a collaborative meeting by setting a clear agenda, encouraging open communication, actively involving all participants, valuing and incorporating their inputs, and concluding with actionable takeaways.

A collaborative meeting is a type of gathering where all attendees actively and equitably participate and work together towards a common goal, rather than just passively obtaining information from a single spokesperson or leader. During this meeting, the participants engage in meaningful group discussions, use feedback and ideas from each team member, and make collective decisions. The overall aim of a collaborative meeting is to foster innovation, ensure all voices are heard, and build a sense of ownership and commitment among all team members for the decisions made during the meeting.

What is the purpose of a Collaborative Meeting?

Running a collaborative meeting as a leader fosters teamwork, engagement, and creativity among team members. It encourages open communication, enhances problem-solving, and allows for diverse perspectives to be heard. By creating an inclusive and participatory environment, leaders can harness the collective intelligence of the team, leading to effective decision-making and improved outcomes.

How To Run A Collaborative Meeting: Step-By-Step


Step 1: Initiation

The meeting initiator is responsible for identifying a clear objective of the discussion, as well as the relevant participants to involve. It’s essential for them to facilitate an apt time and location that accommodate everyone’s schedules and preferences, ensuring the maximum possible attendance and participation.

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Step 2: Preparation

Prior to the meeting, all attendees should be provided with a thorough and well-structured agenda enhancing their understanding of the gathering’s core intentions. Sufficient time must be granted to review past minutes, carry out research on discussion topics, or formulate ample presentations, ensuring participants are fully prepared and conversations are productive.

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Step 3: Coordination

A successful meeting requires the services of an efficient coordinator. This individual oversees the smooth running of the meeting, ensuring that discussions remain focused on the agenda. They meticulously manage time, prevent derailment from important topics, and foster an inclusive environment where everyone’s thoughts, opinions, and ideas can be voiced.


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Step 4: Execution

During a meeting, it is crucial to adhere to the set agenda to ensure efficiency and focus. However, flexibility is necessary to accommodate unexpected yet pertinent discussion points which might arise. Always, participants should listen attentively, conduct themselves in a respectful manner and exclusively concentrate on the current topic to foster productive conversations.

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Step 5: Participation

Promote a cooperative dialogue during meetings where dissimilar concepts and perspectives can be exchanged openly and courteously. This stimulates critical thinking while fostering combinations of diverse approaches. By doing this, each meeting realizes the maximal productive potential of the collective intelligence in the room.

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Step 6: Decision Making

The meeting should aim to adopt consensus-based decisions, resolving issues through inclusive dialogue. By taking everyone’s viewpoints into account, it democratizes the decision-making process, facilitates shared ownership, and significantly heightens the chances of successful application and acceptance of these decisions across the team or organization.

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Step 7: Finalization

After the meeting, the facilitator plays a crucial role in summarizing the decisions made and delineating assigned responsibilities. They must ensure everyone understands their tasks, deadlines, and the next steps. This is imperative for clear communication, preventing confusion and facilitating productive action.

Questions to ask as the leader of the meeting

1. “What are the main goals of our collaboration?” – To establish a clear understanding of the purpose and objectives of the collaborative effort.

2. “What specific steps or actions can we take to achieve these goals?” – To encourage brainstorming and generate ideas for concrete actions that can be implemented.

3. “Who are the key stakeholders and how can we involve them in the collaboration?” – To ensure that all relevant parties are included and their perspectives are taken into account.

4. “What are the potential challenges or obstacles we might face, and how can we overcome them?” – To identify and address potential roadblocks in order to increase the chances of success.

5. “How will we measure our progress and evaluate the effectiveness of our collaboration?” – To establish metrics and methods for tracking progress and assessing the impact of the collaboration.

6. “Are there any potential conflicts or disagreements that need to be addressed?” – To proactively identify areas of potential conflict and find ways to resolve them constructively.

7. “Are there any additional resources or support that we need to ensure the success of our collaboration?” – To identify any gaps in resources or support and seek solutions to address them.

8. “How can we encourage open communication, trust, and collaboration within the team?” – To foster an environment conducive to effective teamwork and ensure everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns.

9. “What lessons can we learn from previous collaborative efforts and apply to this one?” – To draw on past experiences and examples, leveraging knowledge gained to improve the current collaboration.

10. “Is there anything else we need to discuss or any questions anyone has regarding our collaborative efforts?” – To provide an opportunity for any additional input or clarification on any aspect of the collaboration.

As a leader, preparing a collaborative meeting agenda involves several key steps. Start by clearly identifying the meeting objectives and desired outcomes. Next, involve team members in brainstorming agenda items and prioritize them based on urgency and importance. Assign time slots to each agenda item and include any necessary materials or presentations. Lastly, distribute the agenda to participants ahead of time to allow for preparation and engagement during the meeting.

How To Prepare For A Collaborative Meeting
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During a collaborative meeting, it is important to discuss topics that require group input and expertise. These may include brainstorming new ideas, problem-solving challenges, assigning tasks, reviewing progress, sharing updates, making decisions, and refining strategies. The meeting should focus on relevant and pressing matters to ensure effective collaboration and maximize productivity.

See Our Collaborative Meeting Template
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Software tools to facilitate a Collaborative Meeting

Software tools help leaders run collaborative meetings by providing features such as virtual meeting rooms, real-time document editing, and instant messaging. These tools enable participants to actively contribute, share ideas, and engage in discussions. Additionally, software allows leaders to track progress, assign tasks, and set deadlines, ensuring a productive and efficient meeting. Overall, software streamlines communication, encourages collaboration, and helps leaders achieve their meeting objectives.

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Conducting a collaborative meeting is an art that combines preparation, effective communication, active participation, and thoughtful follow-up. It’s about leveraging the collective intelligence of the team to achieve the desired objectives. The keys are to foster an inclusive environment, engage participants, encourage open discussion, make use of the right technology, and assign clear responsibilities. Remember that collaborating is a continuous process and it doesn’t end when the meeting does. Post-meeting follow-up is also critical in ensuring that the decisions made are acted upon. With these strategies in place, you can turn your meetings into powerful engines of productivity and innovation.

Jannik Lindner

I'm Jannik and I write on MeetingFever about the experiences from my career as a founder and team lead.

If you have any questions, please contact me via LinkedIn.

Popular Questions

What is a collaborative meeting?

A collaborative meeting is a type of meeting where all participants actively engage, contribute and work together to achieve a common objective or solve a shared problem.

How does a collaborative meeting differ from a traditional meeting?

In a collaborative meeting, every participant contributes to discussions, decisions are made collectively, and shared responsibility is also part of the process. This contrasts with traditional meetings where one person usually leads, and others primarily listen and occasionally participate.

Why are collaborative meetings important?

Collaborative meetings are important because they promote transparency, increase creative ideas and solutions through diverse viewpoints, and encourage collective decision-making with shared ownership. These factors can lead to higher team engagement, better problem solving, and ultimately more effective outcomes.

What are the key elements to a successful collaborative meeting?

A successful collaborative meeting typically includes a clear purpose and agenda, engagement from every participant, open and respectful communication, efficient use of time, collective decision-making, and follow-up actions.

How can we ensure the effectiveness of a collaborative meeting?

To ensure effectiveness, meetings should have a clear goal/objective, all participants should come prepared to contribute, there should be a facilitator to guide the discussion, and all decisions and next steps should be recorded and communicated post-meeting. Encouraging diverse opinions and maintaining respect for all ideas also helps increase meeting effectiveness.

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