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How to Collaborate

Updated on September 21, 2011

Collaborate means to join forces and work together.

Much of what businesses do today involves collaborating with other people and companies. This collaboration often involves people and companies that are not physically near each other.

It is only fitting that a Business School trains students to collaborate with each other. Often, the collaborators will not have the option of deciding who they must collaborate with. The work team may be by company design or the circumstances of who is involved in a project. Many different circumstances will determine who must work with whom.

Often this throws people of different work methods, backgrounds, and even circadian rhythms together and thereby can be the root of many collaborative project difficulties. Hopefully, the employee will not have any strong dislikes of fellow workers. (See Myers-Briggs link for more information)

Manners and etiquette are very important in a work setting for many reasons but the ever-growing collaboration work style is making polite and professional behavior even more important.

Another factor that will help in the work world of collaboration is the understanding of personality types such as those discussed in the Myers-Briggs Personality Type. Knowing the work styles and behaviors of yourself and your fellow collaborators will aid in everything from deciding who you might work best with to assigning tasks once the collaboration group is formed. (See Myers-Briggs article linked below)

Collaboration Example

Let's say your group is assigned to review a particular company and a business concept or methodology of said company. The project is to take 6 weeks. At the end of the project the collaboration group will need to give a Power Point talk covering the salient points for the purpose of educating the rest of their department on both the company researched and the successful or not successful business methods.

There is also to be a paper submitted to the ownership of the company that demonstrates the points of the talk and clearly lays out the project. The ownership will use this information to make a final decision on whether the business concept was well researched and therefore a method needed to be implemented in the company.

The group is to be made up of four people. On what basis do you select the strongest most successful group?


All of the group should be good at research whether it is Internet research, book research or on-site research. So, there are several types of research that must be performed. All members should perform each type of research. Not everyone will be equal in their methods of research. However, each will have important input based on the research they performed. Everyone should bring written notes to the meetings regarding both their understanding of the concept and their research. Perhaps, it makes great sense to visit the most comparable competition also.

Power Points

At least one person should be adept and comfortable in creating a Power Point presentation. Perhaps the group will need to place two people in tandem on the Power Point. One may do graphics and one may compile facts and the flow of the Power Point. Remember, the Power Point must illustrate the findings in an orderly manner, and be easy to read and follow.


One person should be in charge of pulling the written paper together and providing the final editing. Perhaps more than one person is known to be a good writer. The paper can be worked on by more than one person. Do make sure that one of the writers is excellent at editing for spelling, punctuation, and syntax.


One person needs to be more than comfortable speaking in public; they need to be good at speaking in public. Every person needs to do some speaking in a presentation depending on their assigned tasks during the project. However, there should be one person who emcees the whole proceeding in order to keep the talk moving forward and in the allotted time allowed.

Hopefully, somewhere in your education or career you have taken a Public Speaking Course. The ability to speak on a subject in public is a very valuable skill.

Meeting Times

A group needs to decide when and where they are meeting. Be sure to work with people that can attend the agreed upon meeting times. Do you have similar schedules? Can you meet at the same time and locations? If someone does not attend the meetings, they are not doing the work and do not deserve credit. Take attendance by having each person sign in at the meetings. Turn in the attendance with your papers if there was a problem.

In the work world the person would be removed from the group by simple default of not performing.

Finding Your Group Members

So, how do you find these people? Ask “Who is good at researching, Power Points, writing and speaking?” The work area to include the classroom is an excellent place to practice these skills and learn to collaborate. Often, in the business world, you do not have the leisure to learn-on-the-job. It is a great benefit to learn how to find a group and how to work in a group.


Last and very certainly not least, is rehearsal. A group needs to rehearse. Practice will make the talk flow better and be within the time parameters given. It will also make the Power Point flow work well with the presentation. It would be wasteful to put all this work in a presentation and then have it go badly due to not practicing. Think of this rehearsal just like a musical group does. They rehearse for weeks until their concert. The group needs one if not two final rehearsals.

Collaboration is the current accepted business method. Keeping up with the business world by learning to collaborate will be very helpful in your chosen career.


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    • profile image

      davyfetons 5 years ago

      hello there susie sorry mate i`v took so long i think this is there link and details ,check out there great prices,say mr davy fetons

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      Frank Slovenec 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Translating to the business world the combination of collaboration and independent work is critical to success in business...collaboration is much more available in the modern era of communication, there are few excuses not to doesn't mean, as you well know, meeting in person...however the art of being able to express ones self in writing and other forms, to be clearly understood, becomes an imperative.. writing classes for all would be a benefit. I am not claiming to be the perfect writer, anything but...

    • profile image

      Patrick Adams 6 years ago

      I agree with Iris,past past experiences working in groups have produced a very negative environment where the partners always do different amounts of work. The thing that I've learned really helps is establishing early a "leader" type group member. This member helps the group make ultimate decisions with the input of the entire group. However, this will not work if the leader makes their own decisions or does not listen to the team. Thank you for this article, it was very insightful!

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      aperez 6 years ago

      being able to listen is very important when getting together in groups, try to let people finish their thoughts before interupting them.

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      Coopis 6 years ago

      Jordan Cooper Op.300-001

      Technological tools to aid in collaboration are great ways to increase awareness and direction among group members.

      Some tools I have used in groups at Anderson to aid in creating great projects and presentations: \

      Google Docs- Google allows for the open sharing of documents, users are allowed to create and actively share information. Document changes are instantly recognized online so a group of people can all be home but still looking at and working on the same thing at the same time.

      Skype- Group calls while using Google Docs is a great tool to have group meetings even though people cant meet in person. We can all talk to each other and work on the project at the same time allowing for good synchronicity and understanding. is a great and interactive way to present and work on a slide show. The tools Prezi gives you allows you to more effectively work as a team, at the same time, on the same thing.

      All these technological tools allows groups to work together well and stay informed with the project.

    • rongqing profile image

      rongqing 6 years ago

      I agree that learning how to collaborate effectively is an essential element in the modern business era. Collaboration is very important in school, work, and even home life.

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      momlor1 6 years ago

      Collaboration skills is a great thing to have in todays business world, because all of at some point in life will have to work with others in a group and if you cant do that successfully it is going to be hard for you to move upwards in a company. And unfortunately today it is all about who you know more than what you may know.

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      dsanch18 6 years ago

      As someone who has always dreaded working in groups, I can recognize the importance teamwork skills play in a business setting. I remember taking a look at my classes before the semester, and groaning at the amount of group projects and presentations that the instructors had assigned.

      Overall though, I think it was a good experience. I was able to meet a few new people, and was forced a little out of my shell. I'm a very introverted person, so I suppose it was more beneficial to do this now than later.

      Another thing mentioned in this article that I thought was important was the bit about building around peoples' skill sets. For instance, I was lucky enough to be in groups with relatively extroverted individuals with very strong communication skills. This allowed me to offset some of the talking onto them while I did work on the writing component or whatever. Once again, overall, collaboration is valuable. It helped me identify the kinds of individuals that I should try to work with, as well as helped me identify some of the weaknesses I have as a team member.

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      aallbrit 6 years ago

      Like the article says, the business world is currently using a lot of teamwork and collaboration in the workplace. I appreciate the fact that Anderson is preparing us for the business world by forcing us to do group work, and I think if nothing else, it improves our social skills. We might not always have to work as a team at our future jobs, but we will always have to interact with co-workers and customers which will require social skills.

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      jessica-lucero 6 years ago

      I am one of the many who usually choices to do projects on my own. Group work has never been my strongest, but i am starting to realize how beneficial it is. This article was a great learning tool.

      I have learned that many things can make a group great or make a group horrible.

      One of the main things i have learned that makes a group great is the ability of each member to participate and be a team player!

    • Aaron Major profile image

      Aaron Major 6 years ago

      This is a very useful article that management students can use in many classes we take. It is important to learn and be comfortable collaborating with other students because soon those will become co-workers out in a job setting. Everyone would need tools to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the group and effectivly work to make the group stonger. Thanks for the article.

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      Varissa 6 years ago from Albuquerque, NM

      Most people hate collaborating with others and sometimes carry that into the group when they are required to collaborate with others for a class. It is important to make an effort to become comfortable with group work because it is something that occurs often in every field of work. Since the popularity of Facebook, I've found it easier to collaborate with my groups through group email chats. I've found that a majority of my group members find easier to communicate through Facebook rather than UNM email. Also communication is key to a successful group work. Whither your group members are introverted or extroverted, it is important to understand that people have different types of collaboration styles and to accommodate these differences as much as possible.

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      brandynj 6 years ago

      Collaboration is important in group work because you need everyone in the group to be on the same page. It is hard having to work in group especially at anderson because everyone has such busy schedules. However having the diversity of being good at different things helps the group succeed when everyone is there to pitch in the work. So I like to have people that are all good at something different when choosing so that way you can cover all areas in a project and come in with a strong project.

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      Conor Berg 6 years ago

      Collaboration is a key part to any group project, as there is little to no chance for success without it. The main thing that I have realized about collaboration for group projects is that you don't need to like your partners, just be able to work with them. That being said, successful collaboration is a result of good group organization as well as a willingness to succeed from everyone in the group. If everyone in the group is working towards the same goal, there is a good chance that they will be able to achieve it.

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      tele r6 life 6 years ago

      The ideas in this show why working in a group can either be a great thing in school or a horrible thing. It is great when each member of the group has one of the specific skill sets (writing, power point, speaking, etc.). When a group consists of people who are mostly speakers or writers though, it can be a nightmare coordinating the project. In my experience, most people have mixes of these characteristics which usually makes groups flexible. I used to hate working in groups but I am slowly warming up to it. It is cool seeing other peoples ideas and creativity. It is also great working with reliable team mates who I know will pull their weight and get their part of the project done. I have found that people at Anderson so far are there because the want to be and because they have worked hard; it makes them great to work with.

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      Mahvand Biazar 6 years ago

      The phenomenon of the globalization has created more diverse workplace, and the diverse workplace has created some collaboration problem. This is a huge subject of organizational behavior in the last quarter of century. Even though diverse workplace has so many advantages; it has so many issues as well. With the proper training of the employees and acquaintance of culture of the people around the globe, we can overcome the problem. –Mahvand Biazar

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      csmith01 6 years ago

      Collaboration is very important in school, work, and even home life. We have always had a sense of independence and self reliance and the realization in this day and age is that to make it anywhere in the business world one will have to understand and embrace the importance of collaberation. Many people would think that collaboration is pointless but we always have to work together and its important because in a group we can get so much more done than what we do by ourselves. I was reading a comment that was posted earlier by Kileen and I agree that its two diffent worlds in a class you can choose to be distant from a group and not participate as much and you won't be as effected but in a work environment if you don't put in your portion of work its your job in the line. I think that even at home people have to collaborate to have a calm and organized household because its important to have that communication and discussion that everyone needs so they can understand what is being expected and need to be done.

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      Jerome Martinez 6 years ago

      I have mixed feelings about groups. I compare collaborating at school with collaborating at work. In my workplace there is a clear chain of command, if something isn't done or not done right it's clear who is at fault. In school there is no chain of command, if one group member is slacking who has the authority to correct them? The group is obviously the answer but you can't make people do things as you could in the workplace. Most of the time its just easier to take over that persons part if they fail to agree on what's required, but is that fair? In the end that person(s) will still receive a grade even if they did not "earn" it.

      Also groups take up too much time out of class. In the workplace you collaborate AT WORK DURING WORK HOURS, not on your own time.

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      Bgiang 6 years ago

      I believe that collaboration is essential. It allows for companies to get revitalized with new points of view or ideas. Also, this a great article to re-read for the presentations coming up!

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      Mengqi Li 6 years ago

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      lilyperez 6 years ago

      I have very strong feeling about collaboration. They are both for it and against it.

      For it:

      I tend to get very nervous and start rambling when

      I have to speak publically, so I need group

      memebers who are more comfortable about it.

      Kind of the same point, but diversity is very

      important. I have a very black and white point of

      view but that is not always what is called for when

      looking for solutions.

      Everyone is busy!!! So it is nice to have help with

      the work load.

      Against it:

      I am a straight A student, so it is hard for me to

      let someone else have control over my grade.

      Usually that means I end up doing extra work for

      the group.

      Everyone is busy!!! Often it is hard to cordinate

      schedules and some professors (not Susan) expect

      the projuct to be done on our own time.

      I don't alway agree with my group memebers


      Some Thoughts:

      Start early, then you will have plenty of time to

      deal with unexpected situations.

      Be kind and open minded, group members will be more

      willing to go the extra mile for you.

      Practice, practice, and practice some more.

      Set and meet all deadline, things will go smoother.

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      Luke Campbell 6 years ago

      Group work is something that i enjoy depending on the class or occasion. There are definitely things that are much easier, enjoyable, and practical when working with a group. On the other hand, certain projects can become more tedious and complicated when in a group then if done on your own. Regardless, collaboration among people is not only a large part of working in any business but part of most anything you attempt to tackle in life. If one has the ability to collaborate with any type of person, they have a good chance of being a successful person in whatever it is they may do.

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      Dominique-Chairez 6 years ago from Burque, NM

      I believe team work is key to success, but group collaboration is only a step toward becoming a team. First of all in order to work together we must all depict strengths and weaknesses of one another, and from there you may develop work assignments according to their strengths and weaknesses. I think after all the Storming and Norming, then you can Perform like a team. I enjoy collaboration, but it is important to not leave room for relaxation if there is an important task at hand. This could ultimately hurt a group and destroy a team. If there is one part of collaboration that gets looked down upon, I would say it is rehearsal. Rehearsal, from what I have seen is rare in undergrad presentations, but it is easy to depict out the ones that have been rehearsed. I would recommend to everybody that rehearsal is important and should not be taken lightly.

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      saidhood 6 years ago

      Also very helpful!!

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      Meilin66 6 years ago

      Collaboration is very important for our assignments at UNM, and will also be very important for our future careers.

      Each person has special skill. A good team will use those skills to get a good result and will a good grade. However, this requires that all members of a team participate, which, in my experience, doesn’t always happen.

      The collaboration article told us how to allot the research, PowerPoint, writing, speaking, and how to set up meeting time and rehearsal. This article is offering many useful ideas to our team. Our team will follow these good ideas to work together. I believe that our team will do a great job.

      I will treasure this article’s ideas to be a guide for collaborating with co-workers in my career.

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      DBluehorse 6 years ago

      The article was refreshing to read and it shed some light on how to appreciate working in groups again. The last team project I was a part of was overwhelming and meeting the deadline was stressful. I was appalled at the last minute details that we had to make to the power point because certain individuals failed to submit the information before the deadline date. These details were changed the day of actual presentation and it made me feel uneasy. Collaboration is important and the article pointed out the various ways that people can work together and how each team member can take a part in the project. The meeting times have to be agreeable by all with an alternate plan. Communication can be by phone, by email, and in-person. The focus of the project is to meet the deadline date and practice the presentation. I agree, practice makes perfect! Or at least, interesting for the audience and fun for the presenters. The collaborative efforts of a team is has to remain positive in order to have an effective presentation. Everyone in the group will be better team-players if information is clear, concise and collaboration is positive. I look forward to working with my team.

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      MelinaChavez 6 years ago

      I definately think that collaborating in groups is important especially in today's business society where most decisions are made as a group. Working in groups also allows many different opinions to be voiced to then come up with the best possible outcome. I enjoy working in groups because one gets to see how other people work and interact with others.

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      apeperas 6 years ago

      Collaboration is a very big deal in business. Separation of duties is important because employees can gather together and get the job done using a person's strengths the way the collaboration article stated. Assign writing to the writer and someone who is good at powerpoint to the powerpoint.

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      asimon11 6 years ago

      This article was great because it really shows how you need people with different skills working in a group together. I see that a lot of the time people choose a group to work together just depending on if they know them personally or not. That isn't really the best way of creating a group because everyone might only be good at writing and the group will lack in the public speaking aspect or vice-versa. It is important to remember that when finding a group to work with you should try to find members that are diverse and could add something to the projects' overall greatness.

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      wwhite02 6 years ago

      I enjoy working in groups because you get to see so many different opinions. Working with others has always been a strong point of mine and if every member collaborates the outcome should be great! Almost every class I am taking this semester has a group project, which means I can learn a lot about working together.

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      Jolinger23 6 years ago

      Working in groups is pretty nice. In 3 out of 4 classes we have group projects and it is fun getting to know the different people and the different aspects they can bring to your project. It is nice to have people look at things differently than you do, so you can see it from their perspective. Also, being the extrovert that I am, I have fun socilaizing with people.

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      asipe02 6 years ago

      I have to agree that in the business world you very rarely have an opportunity to pick who you get to work with in a group. I agree with craybu and think this is actually great because you have diverse opinions or solutions that can be brought to the table with diverse backgrounds.

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      pena334 6 years ago

      Having to deal with other people and learning their ways is a big part of life. We all need to learn how to collaborate and learn from each to succeed in the Business world. I found this article helpful because it makes you second guess on who you want to have in your group and take on projects.

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      Tiffany Rawls 6 years ago

      Most of us have had interesting (to say the least) experiences when working with other people. We just have to make it work. Learning how to collaborate with others is a necessary skill. Doing group projects allows us to learn how to collaborate and make mistakes. Hopefully, by the time we need to collaborate with other coworkers, we will know how to do so successfully and efficiently. This article is helpful in deciding who we choose for projects and other considerations we should remember when making selections.

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      Carolynn Nguyen 6 years ago

      I am a horrible public speaker, however I have great power point skills and am a great writer. A good collaboration relieves some pressure for me and possibly others who do not have the same skills I do, but do have the skills I don't.

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      Caitlin Donnelly 6 years ago

      I prefer to work alone because I don't depend on people to do work well or do it at all. However, I am not great at everything, and like this article says, different people do different things well. So with some trust and some motivation from all sides, I do feel a group can do great things.

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      Kileen 6 years ago

      Although I agree one must know how to collaborate on projects in the workplace, there are important differences between the supposed "learning collaboration" team projects required in school and real-life collaboration on the job.

      In my experience, when collaborating as a team at work, our projects and meetings are done during regular working hours. I have never been asked to meet as a team after hours. Also, if someone in the group doesn't pull their weight the team may not meet deadlines, but in the end only that person's performance review is affected - not my paycheck nor my performance record.

      In contrast, working as a team in school requires time and scheduling outside of regular class hours. This means coordinating around our personal lives - for working adults/parents that can be very difficult. Additionally, when someone in the school group slacks-off, the others in the group have only 2 choices: take on that person's share of the work, or receive a poor grade. Neither of those options are fair to me.

      I maintain the Myers-Briggs and other social style learning are helpful for both professional and personal life experiences. I just have not seen any true correlation between my professional and academic working groups.

    • BusinessOpsMngmnt profile image

      BusinessOpsMngmnt 6 years ago from USA

      A time for a confession has come. I would prefer to work alone also! However, I have learned that collaboration saves me a great deal of work and that I learn more that way. So, I take one bit of the work and do that alone and then bring that work to the group.

      Also, analyzing and organizing the function of the group and the people in it is helpful for me.

      Keep on letting me know what you think about collaboration!

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      amata01 6 years ago from New Mexico

      I don't like working in groups and if I could, I would always work alone or with another person. However, in a business you have to know how to work with other people even those who don't do their part. You need to learn how to deal with those issues and how to solve them in a good manner. This article is really good about explaining how to find a good group.

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      Frank Lucero 6 years ago

      I feel that collaboration is a important function of our everyday lives and is essential to be practice in business. Without collaboration a business or even a simple project is subject to fail at attended goals. When collaborating there are certain rolls the participants play, such as leaders and followers. Each roll is important to play.

    • BusinessOpsMngmnt profile image

      BusinessOpsMngmnt 6 years ago from USA

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I learn so much from them.

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      Mengqi Li 6 years ago

      Agree with Iris. Also came across such situations. The worst thing is that we had to arrange the easiest part for the laziest person and he got the highest score in the presentation...

      During my observation, culture difference is a critical obstacle in collaboration process, for people have a natural angst of "strangers". When I was doing a volunteer work to provide food for South Asian kids, found them only play with kids from the same place. One extreme case is that my friend's schoolbag was thrown into rubbish bin by her classmates for she moved to that block just before the semester and became a "intruder" in the neighborhood. If that is the human nature even from childhood, I don't think we can completely overcome it even we really need to collaborate.

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      sakesare 6 years ago

      A great hub about business coordination and management. The example you gave here was greatly helpful and comprehensive. thanks for sharing such a great knowledge.

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      ebarela 6 years ago

      I agree that learning how to collaborate effectively is an essential element in the modern business era. All too often businesses struggle (or even fail)as a result of a poor team based foundation. One must be able to adapt to various personalities. This is true even if said person did not choose the group to collaborate with. Doing so will ensure the progression of the project assigned.

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      joetzel 6 years ago

      I would think that the Myers-Briggs results would be very useful to a boss or the person who creates the group. I know that I myself do not like working in groups because I would prefer to work alone, but I have good manners and etiquette so that I can work with a group and create a great project. I think though, that if the boss has the Myers-Briggs they could assemble the best people and possibly get a better project out of them.

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      Iris DuFresne 6 years ago

      I usually do not like working in groups. In the past I would find myself in a group with people who just didn't want to do the assignment or who didn't want to put as much effort as I did. I often had to carry the group. I feel that now, at this level, that problem won't occur as much. Not to say it will never happen. I think that these tips will also help.

    • BusinessOpsMngmnt profile image

      BusinessOpsMngmnt 6 years ago from USA

      I agree craybu. Diversity is a great benefit of collaboration!

    • craybu profile image

      craybu 6 years ago

      Another major benefit of collaboration is the diversity in the group that adds different cultural elements to the critical thinking process. More diverse the group is the many different experiences and ideas the members are going to bring to the table.

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      Michael Kromwyk 6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks for this article. Collaboration is so important in modern businesses & definately does enhance career prospects. Cheers Michael