Brainstorming comes in handy when you need to come up with ideas. But have you ever been in one of those brainstorms where you ended up feeling totally blank or, even worse, more confused? To prevent you and your team from wasting time, here are 3 dos and don’ts when brainstorming for the most productive session next time.
1. APPOINT A FACILITATOR
During a brainstorm, there should be someone to lead the group. It doesn’t have to be the same person as the decision maker, but it should be the one who is able to guide through each topic or agenda as well as build up a positive atmosphere in the room. The facilitator should also be the one who knows skills and expertise of people in the room, so that he/she could make the best out of everyone’s potential.
2. BUILD ON EACH OTHER’S IDEA
What’s expected from a brainstorm is ideas. Many of them. But rather than just throwing one idea after another, try breaking them down or building them up so that you can see where they’re linked together, and it helps you to see a bigger picture as well. Moreover, by breaking down or building up ideas, everyone has a chance to participate and witness the evolution of that idea together.
3. WRITE AND DRAW
Visualizing ideas help different interpretations come to light and spark conversation. Display them by writing down or drawing them in one place where everyone can see, so that they can feel involved as a contributor and no idea gets lost during the process.
1. FORCE PARTICIPATION
While it’s encouraged to participate in the brainstorm, forcing people to do so is not the same thing. Force participation, like assigning participants with a turn to speak, will not help generating ideas but add social pressure to the group and kill the organic flow of a conversation instead.
2. CRITICIZE OTHER PEOPLE’S IDEAS
A brainstorm should be focusing on generating ideas rather than criticizing them. Avoid making comments on other people’s opinions as stupid or useless. It’ll destroy the atmosphere of collaboration and intimidate others, making them afraid of sharing their ideas.
3. HOLD THE SESSION IN THE EVENING
A lot of people may overlook this point, but it’s very important when the brainstorm session is happening. Try to avoid holding the session in the evening, especially at the time close to the end of business hours, since people could be distracted by their plans after work and be unable to focus.