Efficient brainstorming sessions and meetings are an integral part of planning for and driving your business to success. After all, a group effort exponentially increases the number of ideas and opens a wider road to possibilities.
But, do your brainstorming sessions always feel fruitful? Or, more like a waste of time?
While it’s important and even necessary to get your team’s contribution, often times brainstorming looks like this: a few people are pushing their ideas or agendas, and the rest of your team is not participating at all.
So, how do you make sure your company’s idea-generating meetings are more productive?
Here are seven ways to improve a brainstorming session:
1. Allow For Prep Time
Give your team time to prepare for the brainstorming session by sending invites in advance, a week at least whenever possible. Provide the topic and then send reminders closer to the meeting.
2. Make The Objectives Crystal Clear
Identifying the challenge or what you need for your brainstorming session is essential, so everybody on your team is on the same page from the beginning.
Then – let the ideas start emerging, opening up to new possibilities.
3. Assign A Moderator
Delegate a co-worker who’s outgoing, approachable, and can articulate and provide direction for the brainstorming session.
4. Quantity Over Quality
At the start of your session, let the focus be on general, and then move on to the specifics. You want to encourage participants to begin by thinking big, outside the box, so that a variety of ideas can be generated, and developed later.
5. Encourage Contribution
Ask everyone in your team to write down at least ten ideas. They can do that in advance (why you send that invite at least a week in advance, in the first place).
When you get your team to generate ideas individually first, away from distraction and public opinion, you give them space to come up with authentic, unique concepts that may not naturally surface when in a group setting.
Stick the papers up on the wall for everyone to see and then go around the room and have each of them share one top idea they came up with. Allow everyone to have a say before you start to work as a team and discuss and elaborate on the ideas generated.
6. Select The Best Ideas
After the ideas have been shared, evaluate them. Narrow down the ideas by, for instance, taking a show of hands for the most popular ones, with the goal of landing on maximum of five ideas.
7. Designate Responsibilities
Next, give the chosen ideas to breakout groups, so they can further flesh out the ideas. Make sure you assign a deadline, and place a time limit on the follow-up brainstorming session. You don’t want your team members to overthink it, or get sidetracked.
In the end, it’s always a win-win for you, as generating some good brainstorming questions and concepts will provide an instant pool of ideas for web content. For instance, if you have an FAQ section for your service or product, just answer the generated questions and add them to this section.
So give your next brainstorming session a realistic chance for success by implementing these 7 tips.
For most companies, investing time and energy into idea-generating sessions that expand and boost effort can pay off hugely.