How to Have an Effective
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Many hands create light work,” or “Two heads are better than one”? These common phrases aren’t just for inspirational wall hangings — they carry a lot of truth with them. Collective thought is the building block of any creative idea, plan, or strategy. With the right group and the right structure, there is no telling how your ideas will flourish. Brainstorming sessions have the possibility to be an incredibly effective tool. Below are a few tips and tricks on how to host an effective brainstorming sesh during your next meeting.
Set Yourself Up for Success
When it comes to planning a successful business meeting, make sure your team comes prepared. Brief them ahead of time to let them know the purpose and goal of the meeting. Then, suggest preemptive research/planning or “homework” for them so everyone can show up with a strategy or at least a solid platform from which to start.
Start At an Appropriate Time
Which means not too early and not too late. If it’s 4:30 on a Friday, sorry, but nobody is going to be thinking about work. They’re ready for the weekend! Plus, they are most likely exhausted from a week’s worth of work. Consider early morning on a Monday or Tuesday.
To give it a bit of spice, make it an odd time like 8:22 or 9:41. This will stand out in their mind more than a traditional time.
Make sure to assign roles in the business meeting. This makes the members feel important and gives them a unique reason to be invested in the meeting. It will also make sure the meeting runs smoothly.
Pick a facilitator to make sure you stay on course. Assign a time-keeper so a topic isn’t over-discussed and you can make sure everything on the agenda is crossed off. Lastly, make sure the people you choose for these roles are the appropriate ones and can handle the tasks.
Have An Agenda
Have a clearly defined meeting purpose, end goal, and agenda. This will help members follow along and know what to expect and when to expect it.
At the start of the meeting, make sure to define the problem that needs to be addressed in the brainstorm. Clearly state what you know, what your end goal is, and things to consider on the way there.
Start With Bad Ideas
Begin the meeting by throwing any idea onto the table. The more ideas, the better. The key point is to make all ideas welcome, no matter how awful or silly. This creates a sense of trust in the room that helps folks feel confident in being creative and sharing their own ideas.
Throwing out a slew of ideas is also a great way to get your brain moving. The brain is a muscle — the more you use it, the more effective it is. So warm up with some bad ideas!
Use Sticky Notes
Another time-tested technique for an effective brainstorming session is the sticky notes method. Ideally, everyone will be briefed and should have done a bit of thinking on the challenge before the meeting has begun. When they arrive, allot a few minutes for them to write their ideas on sticky notes and tape them to the board. This way, all initial ideas are addressed in a private, non-intimidating way.
There aren’t many situations where bringing snacks makes it worse. Bring food but avoid anything messy. Coffee, water, and maybe something with sugar for energy will work just fine. This will loosen everyone up and make them ready to brainstorm. The ultimate goal is to set a precedence that this is a welcoming space — all ideas are welcome here, and everyone’s voice will be heard.
Try The “Yes, And” Method
“Yes, and” is an improv game. When someone vocalizes an idea, another person says, “Yes and…” to build on that idea. This creates rapport because the members are agreeing and evolving ideas as a group, and it helps them think outside of their comfort zone.
Change The Scenery
Maybe you’ve tried all the tricks and no brilliant ideas have flourished. Change it up! Being in a different physical stance or position will change the way you think. Have everyone switch seats. Maybe have them sit in the “boss’ chair” for a bit of perspective. Sit on the table. Sit on the floor. Take all the chairs out of the room and have everyone stand. Move to another room or go outside. Whatever you decide, a change of scenery will help jog the brain a bit.
Choose A Corporate Event Space And Get Group Thinkin’!
Now that you have all these tips and tricks, it’s time to put them to good use. Try some (or all) of these ideas at your next business meeting and see what great ideas and problem-solving strategies appear. Still in the planning stages and searching for a meeting space? Here are a few great corporate event venues to consider. Once you’ve chosen a meeting venue, all that’s left to do is get your think tank together and get rockin’!