Like many people, I prefer when things go according to plan. Recently, on a seemingly normal morning, I got in my car, turned the key…and nothing happened. My plan for an uneventful day went out the window.
Luckily, I was able to flag down neighbors for help. It took three of us to get the car out of the garage and jump-start the battery. Our team effort paid off and I was able to get to work (almost) on time.
I appreciated the people who were there for support because without my neighbors, I would have been stuck at home for hours. Sometimes we just need help from others, whether it’s lending an extra set of hands, providing moral support or offering a new perspective.
The next time you face an internal communication challenge, don’t go it alone. Brainstorming is a great way to generate a lot of solutions in a short amount of time. Follow these tips to help you run an effective brainstorming session.
1. Set a clear objective: While it’s tempting to cover as much as you can, decide on just one thing you want to accomplish. Explain that one objective right off the bat so participants know why they are there.
2. Invite the right people: Some experts in brainstorming argue small groups are best, while others believe that a big group encourages creativity. I’ve found that who you include is much more important than the number of participants. You want a diverse group, including subject matter experts, creative thinkers and people who can offer a fresh perspective.
3. Plan a fun activity: Some people need to warm up their brains before they can generate their best ideas. Have a few activities ready to kick off the session and to boost the energy in the room if you hit a lull. Read more about how to boost energy at your next meeting.
4. Be inclusive: There are no bad ideas in a brainstorm. An idea that seems implausible could spark another thought that takes off. Designate someone to write down all the ideas that are generated. Writing them down will help participants feel their contributions were heard and make them more willing to keep participating. It will also give you documentation to work with later.
5. Embrace the mess: Brainstorming is not a neat process, so you may not end up with fully-formed, polished ideas. Expect to spend some time afterwards organizing and refining what the group came up with.
Remember, the next time you need to tackle a challenge, it’s okay to ask for help.
Want to learn more about running an effective brainstorming session? Follow these seven steps.