Here Are 5 Suggestions to Make Your Next Brainstorming Meeting Successful!
Brainstorming is a way to solve problems by letting ideas and thoughts flow freely. The method has been used by people for as long as they have been trying to solve problems. It can be done alone or in a group.
Most businesses use brainstorming sessions to come up with new projects, products, or marketing campaigns. Even though brainstorming sessions are meant to help ideas flow, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of them.
Set Specific Goals and Expectations
A “structureless” brainstorming session doesn’t have to be “free-flowing.” Putting together a general plan with goals and expectations can help your team stay on track.
Once you know what your goals are, make small tasks for each step. For example, if the end goal is to start a campaign for a new product, the general structure of the session would be to come up with ideas for the “testing” and “production” stages.
Don’t get too specific with the general structure, though. Even in a good brainstorming session, people should still be able to think of new ideas.
Also, give your participants the brainstorming session outline before the meeting and give them time to think about the main goal before the meeting.
Include Employees of Various Levels and Departments
Every worker brings something different to the table, such as their own ideas, backgrounds, and points of view. Include a wide range of people in your brainstorming session, from the young intern to the experienced senior leader.
Think about putting together a group of people with different backgrounds and points of view.
Depending on what you want to get out of your brainstorming session, you might want to invite people from different departments or with different backgrounds or levels of experience.
Before the brainstorming session, give everyone a chance to get to know each other. You can do this by asking icebreaker questions or having people pair up and talk. Remind people that all ideas are valuable, no matter how they rank, and that all ideas are welcome.
Be Open to Others’ Suggestions
During a successful brainstorming session, everyone’s ideas and suggestions are taken into account. Set up a place where everyone on the team feels like they can be honest and add to the brainstorming.
This could mean using a “talking stick,” where only the person holding a certain object can talk until everyone has shared their ideas.
Put each idea or suggestion on a whiteboard for everyone to see, but don’t rank them in terms of how important they are.
Another option is to have people write down ideas anonymously before the brainstorming session starts. The team can then discuss and build on these ideas.
This is good for people on the team who are shyer or who don’t think their ideas will be well received.
If your brainstorming session is happening over a video conference call, you might want to have everyone turn off their cameras when it’s time to share ideas so that people can focus on their own ideas and not on how other people look.
Break Up the Session Into Smaller Ones
Don’t try to figure out everything all at once. Brainstorming can take a lot of time and creative energy, so make sure you keep track of the time.
For example, divide a long session of an hour into smaller sessions of 30 minutes with short breaks in between. People can stay motivated and keep coming up with ideas during these shorter sessions.
If a shorter session starts to drag, give people small breaks to use the bathroom, get coffee, or eat something. This will give them time to think about what was said and get their energy back. In one study, people who took breaks during a brainstorming session came up with more ideas than those who didn’t take breaks.
Turn Ideas Into Actionable Steps
The ideas that come out of a brainstorming session should be real. At the end of your meeting, make plans for how to carry out the best ideas, and if you need to, set a date for the next meeting.
Also, give a general summary of the brainstorming session to keep people thinking creatively even after the meeting is over. Your brainstorming sessions might even help you plan a focus group or workshop with other employees or a different team to get their ideas.
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