Key Rules for Productive Brainstorming Sessions

5 Tips on How to Build a Strong Business Strategy Brainstorming Sessions-World Executives Digest
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WorldExecutivesDigest|Most people in the business world fear brainstorming sessions for a variety of reasons. Some dread offering up ideas of criticism while some believe sessions are a waste of time since often nothing changes after them. Whatever their fear might be, you can still ensure that every brainstorming session is worth the time invested in by following these key rules.

The setting

Does your staff need to look at a PowerPoint presentation you’ve prepared? Do you need access to the Internet for your brainstorming session? Booking a room beforehand that has all the necessary equipment is advantageous, but don’t neglect the creative aspect too. Being a cramped space, like in a small cubicle office, constricts your visual attention. It’s concentrated in this narrow space. Just as your visual attention shrinks, so too your conceptual attention becomes narrow and constricted, and your thinking will probably be more analytical.However, being in a spacious room, such as a big office with high ceilings, leads to expanded visual attention. Which, in turn, facilitates the expansion of your conceptual attention. 

Asking the right questions

Without asking about it, you’ll never know the challenges and ideas your team faces on a daily basis. Soliciting feedback from workers in every department on what they require to be productive in their roles and assisting them in their endeavors to find solutions is everything for a great brainstorming session. Asking employees about how they can improve their roles on rare occasions only results in them not having an answer on the spot. However, asking that question regularly will instill in them a system of thinking about their work that shines through their daily activities and interactions with other team members.

The right tools

“Be prepared” is a saying that stretches from Plato to the Boy Scouts. It’s also true for a brainstorming session. There’s nothing worse when your attendees are ready for brainstorming and you only have a dried-out marker.  Many an entrepreneur uses a mobile whiteboard for idea-collection and as a brainstorming aid. Whiteboards allow you to capture ideas fast as they flow from meeting participants in a way that doesn’t favor any specific structure, and which is highly visible to everyone in the room. Besides a whiteboard, you’ll likely require some basic office supplies, such as:

  • ink pens,
  • pencils,
  • erasers,
  • staplers,
  • scissors,
  • whiteboard markers (obviously). 

Build a positive atmosphere for the brainstorming session

It’s easy to fall into a trap of believing that meetings are boring, arduous, and anxiety-inducing periods of time. More often than not, as a meeting attendee or facilitator, you want you could be doing something else. Even worse, in some situations, people get called out and fingers get pointed. People perceive meetings as boring because they’re drudgingly systematic and repetitive. If you want to facilitate a productive brainstorming session, it’s crucial that the atmosphere is positive, relaxing, welcoming, and free of accusations. That way, the meeting attendees won’t hesitate to share their ideas for ridicule, fear or reprimand from their colleagues. 

The follow-up

A productive brainstorming session is one with a holistic approach. Creative sessions don’t stand alone; they require preparation and most importantly, a follow-up. A productive session should be the groundwork that kicks off or provides solutions for more complex projects. No one desires their time going to waste, so at the end of the session you need to recapitulate everything that the staff came up with and facilitate action items to move forward with. Develop a plan of attack, give clear deadlines and timetables and bring ideas to life. Brainstorming is about tapping into the collective mind power of your enterprise to resolve issues and create new ideas, not slowing down your workers. If your employees recognize that their contributions won’t go to waste, they’ll provide you with an unparalleled amount of innovation.