Brainstorming sessions are a great way to get the wider team involved in ideation for business and marketing strategy. All the different perspectives and experiences are brought together. It’s not a chance you often get with people’s busy schedules, so you need to make sure you get the most out of it!
Brainstorms work best when they’re engaging and get everyone working together. Whether you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with the foundation for your next marketing campaign, you need to find ways to make the meetings efficient and get everyone’s creativity flowing.
Try these tips for your next brainstorm.
Don’t invite too many people.
Keep meetings to a maximum of 6 people if you can. Only invite the essential people – but try to keep the group diverse. Choose people that don’t work too closely together, otherwise the ideas could get stale pretty quickly. Different perspectives are good for getting people out of their own ‘box’ and thinking beyond their current role and outlook.
Try a standing meeting.
We spend far too much time sitting down at our desks, so take your brainstorming session as an opportunity to mix it up and spend some time on your feet.
Plan your meetings for the morning.
We naturally have more energy in the morning and coffee drinkers will be in full swing after their morning caffeine hit! Avoid planning meetings for midafternoon between 1- 3pm, when our energy and concentration slumps.
Give attendees chance to prepare.
Provide context and any relevant notes or documentation in advance – and we’re talking days, not hours. You should also have an idea of what you want at the end of the meeting.
Set goals for the brainstorm.
Know what you want to get from the brainstorm and get the discussion back on track if it starts to stray.
Gather ideas effectively.
Post-it notes are a great way to keep things concise and make sure no idea gets lost. Present different scenarios or problems and give everyone 2 minutes to write down their ideas or solutions on post-its. Collect them at the end for a quick and easy reference.
Don’t pursue bad ideas.
It can be difficult to say no to an idea but if there are legitimate reasons as to why it wouldn’t work, move on. Discussions that lead nowhere quickly lead to others becoming disengaged and tuning out.
Don’t allow laptops.
You can’t contribute to a meeting effectively if you’ve got your nose buried in a screen responding to emails or doing your general work. Brainstorms require everyone’s full attention to be effective so that means no laptops or phones. That’s another reason to keep the meetings short though.
Offer small incentives.
Little prizes and incentives bring out our competitive streaks. It’s a fun way to add a bit more excitement to a brainstorm and build relationships in the team too. It could be something as simple as a £1 bag of sweets – but you can be as extravagant as you like!
Little tasty nibbles are practically guaranteed to put people in a good mood before the meeting begins. Healthy snacks like nuts or dried fruit can also provide a quick boost of energy to get people feeling alert.