Whether you’re hoping to up the ante with videos, social media, and blogging, or simply eliminate any staleness, brainstorming sessions are an essential component of any successful person or organization. So understanding how to organize a brainstorming session is a key skill for any creator to master.
It’s through these sessions that big ideas come to light. And enthusiastic and energetic teams bolster ideas to new heights. But not all brainstorming is effective. Quieter participants may shy away from contributing and meetings can go completely off the rails without a pre-defined focus or objective.
To ensure peak creativity, the most creative ideas, and strongest strategies, follow these five simple tips that have proven to make brainstorming as successful as it can possibly be.
1. Define the purpose or objective
When gathering a group of people, it’s entirely too easy to get off track. The first step to understanding how to organize brainstorming session is to prevent everyone from going off topic. Send out a very clear purpose or objective prior to a meeting. This can come in the form of an agenda and can be reiterated either vocally at the start or written out.
Time is always of the essence. Don’t waste any of it with interruptions that have little to do with the problem you’re trying to solve or the big idea you want to generate. As a content creator, this is particularly critical because you must narrow down so many concepts to differentiate from your competition.
Whether you’re coming up with new blog topics or TikTok videos, it’s likely that people will want to talk about more general subjects even if they don’t add value to the overall discussion.
Reign in your crew and ensure that they know exactly what you’re hoping to accomplish in the 30 minutes or hour that you’ll have their attention. There is simply no need for too many departures that don’t ultimately benefit your goals and lead you to that potentially life-changing, career-defining idea.
2. Find a comfortable space with zero distractions
Brainstorming sessions should take place in an environment free from distractions and stress. Creativity flourishes most successfully when you’ve established a clear headspace. This, many times, can be dictated by your surroundings.
Find a place with comfortable seating, provide food and beverages, and set a conversational and relaxed tone from the very beginning. This will encourage your brainstormers to feel at ease while spilling their thoughts (and sometimes their emotions) without a ticking clock, sterile wall color, and four-hour-old coffee to cloud their thinking.
3. Assign a scribe and invest in a dry erase board
Every idea deserves equal billing. That’s why the next step to understanding how to organize brainstorming session is to hear every idea—large or small. Invest in a dry erase board to record ideas for everyone to see. It’s the simplest method to erase and move things around if your team establishes content buckets or connections between ideas.
You can also use different colored markers to label and identify categories, themes, or subjects. Just be sure to pause and take pictures of important moments before they’re erased!
3. Wait until all ideas are shared before casting any judgment
This is, perhaps, the most important tip on the list. It’s absolutely essential that all ideas are listed with zero negative feedback. While some may not make initial sense, they may inspire bigger, better ideas. Or an idea may turnout to be the anchor that brings a bunch of scattered ideas together.
Casting judgment will also make shier members of the group quiet down if they fear public criticism. That means that you may not tap into someone’s brilliance. And that takes away from brainstorming’s sole purpose: Gathering a bunch of diverse minds to achieve greatness.
One effective brainstorming technique is to use the first ten minutes of your meeting for everyone to jot down their initial ideas on paper. Doing so in silence, means that less outspoken members of the group are able to share their ideas. Your assigned scribe can then collect these papers and write all of the ideas on your dry erase board before a conversation even begins.
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4. Assign a devil’s advocate
Once all ideas have been presented, you can easily go through them with the team to discuss and narrow down your favorites. However, there should be one person who takes on the role of devil’s advocate for every idea, even those that seemingly have unanimous support. This will only help to make that one strong idea even stronger. It’ll also give you insight into any roadblocks that may stall its execution process.
If someone is asking the important (and sometimes arbitrary) questions you may have forgotten about through all of the excitement, you’ll really see if it has legs.
We’re all capable of coming up with the next big idea to enhance our personal brands or passions. But sometimes success requires the help of other people in a more formal brainstorming session. Grab those whose opinions you respect most (and a few people who will undoubtedly challenge you!) and follow these tips above. You never know where a good hour of opening up your brain may lead you.