7 Norms of Collaboration

Promoting a Spirit of Inquiry

Explore ideas: "I would like to know more about your idea/position." "Tell me more about..."


Pausing before responding or asking a question allows time for thinking for yourself and for others.


Sum up or rephrase what you hear others say to help understanding one another as your group talks or makes decisions: "You're wondering..." "You would like..." "So you said..." or "You're thinking..."

* Keep them concise. Efficient paraphrases help all members hear & understand the ideas being presented.


Use gentle, open-ended probes or inquiries/questions.

"I wonder...." "Please say more about..." or "I'm interested in..." or "I'd like to hear more about..." "Then you are saying..." "Specifically what..."

*Asking questions to increase clarity and understanding of the group's thinking.

Putting Ideas on the Table

Ideas are at the heart of meaningful dialogue and discussion. Label the intention of your comments.

"Here is one idea..." "One thougt I have is..." "Here is a possible approach..." "Another consideration might be..."

Paying Attention to Self and Others

Teams work best when each group member is conscious of self and others, and is aware of what s/he is saying and how it is said as well as how others are responding.

*Watch for body language and check perceptions by paraphrasing and probing for specificity.

Presuming Position Intentions

Assuming others' intentions are positive promotes meaningful conversation, and prevents unintentional put-downs. Use positive intentions when you talk.

*Thinking in your head thoughts like: "I am sure she didn't mean to sound mad when she said that."