Julie Charron-Latour, PhD

How to Improve Collaboration Through Zoom?

Today, collaboration rhymes with remote meetings on Zoom or another videoconferencing system.


What Is Collaboration?

Collaboration refers to the need to be several people to complete a task. Keep in mind that the given task cannot be done by one person. Collaborative work increases the ability of individuals to process information and combine the specialties of several workers to solve a given problem.


So, you are about to schedule a Zoom meeting with your colleagues. STOP! Consider the following 3 steps to make sure your Zoom session will really allow you to collaborate.


3 Steps to Collaborate with Zoom


1-Collaborate: when and why?


First step, ask yourself what the meeting will be used for. More precisely, what is THE decision that this Zoom meeting will allow you to make as a team: choose a solution, identify the next steps, improve a product, ….


If you have no decisions to make with your colleagues, ask yourself a question. Are you really looking to collaborate with your colleagues or do you want to COMMUNICATE a message instead? Are you really going to take their comments into consideration? Keep in mind that there are several other ways to distribute a message: by email, by video, by a news feed on your intranet … Your colleagues will be happy to be able to consult the information at the right time of their day. If afterwards, you are really looking for comments to improve the content, it is recommended that you hold a meeting.


2- Build your collaborative muscles 💪


I often say that collaborating is like a GYM session. No matter how much you read about it and study collaboration, you can’t build your collaborative muscles without practicing them. The good news is that it can be learned and it is entirely possible for all employees to develop them. So what must be done to develop these famous muscles?


First, you have to get used to working with new tools. You have to agree to swap your pen and post-its for a digital version. You will find several whiteboard tools on the market, sometimes they are integrated into your video conferencing tool.


Then fix the ground by taking the first 5-10 minutes of your trade to do a warm-up that will allow everyone to test the functionality of your whiteboard.


Finally, use a structured approach to get your team to make a decision. For example, if you plan to brainstorm, think ahead of the session on how you can guide your team step by step towards reaching common agreement.


3- Avoid meeting ghosts 👻


Have you ever not said a word in a meeting? If so, it is your duty to point this out to your colleague and to invite him or her to question the reason for this meeting and the need to put in place collaboration strategies.


If it was you who noticed that some people did not say a word about the meeting, ask yourself what mechanisms you can put in place to ensure that their ideas or comments are heard? For example, can you invite a colleague to improve another’s idea and share their point of view? Can you name a speaking turn keeper?


Another simple solution is to identify a digital space to capture ideas and issues between meetings. The time together will allow everyone to present these ideas and enhance those of the others while leaving a space for reflection between the collaborative sessions.


If you want to know more about the benefits associated with a structured approach, you will find an example here.