by Jake Cohen, Jo Schofield, Jack Fletcher and Suhail Hussain
The way we collaborate has changed.
With a lot of meetings now online, it can be harder for people to contribute effectively. This can mean some voices are not heard.
Myself and a number of colleagues have created these guidelines to help people collaborate effectively and inclusively. We want everyone to be able to contribute in a way they feel comfortable.
We think these guidelines will encourage more voices to be heard and create a space for inclusive discussion.
1. Give everyone the opportunity to contribute
- Ask people if they want to contribute.
- Allow people to contribute anonymously or in smaller groups.
- Check if people can access the tools you’re using, explain how to use them and offer an alternative if necessary.
- Use visible timers and allow thinking time.
- Use captions and transcripts where possible.
- Consider how people could contribute outside of the meeting, in their own time.
2. Set clear expectations, early
- Send out an agenda in advance.
- Clearly state the purpose of the meeting and the outcome you want to achieve.
- Give a running order, include approximate times.
3. Give context: do not assume any prior knowledge
- Reiterate any information that someone would need to know to be able to contribute.
- Give regular recaps. Consider taking notes as you go so you can easily refer back.
- Be mindful of late joiners and the context they might lack.
4. Use clear language
- Do not use acronyms without explaining what they mean.
- Use plain English.
- Be mindful of people who are new to Co-op, or a team. If you use jargon, explain what you mean.
5. Respect people’s time
- Book only the amount of time you need with people, and allow people to leave if they’ve contributed all they need to.
- Plan your meeting to allow people breaks between meetings, for example 5 or 15 minutes past the hour.
- If the meeting is long, schedule in regular breaks.
6. Value all contributions equally
- Give everyone a chance to speak, do not allow one voice to dominate.
- If you’re referencing what’s been inputted, reference contributions from a range of people.
- Consider your audience. Be prepared to adapt your approach or process to encourage contribution from more people.
7. Encourage clarity, curiosity, and challenges
- Explain how people can ask questions.
- Encourage people to get clarity on things they do not understand.
- Allow people to ask questions anonymously, for example by adding post-its to a collaboration board.
Read how we created these guidelines on the Co-op Digital blog.
View the guidelines on the Co-op Experience Library.