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Brainstorm Better
By Kathleen Montecillo


There are lots of opinions out there about brainstorming. Some people swear by it while others say it just straight up doesn’t work. We happen to be fans of brainstorming, and we’ve seen some pretty great ideas come out of storming seshes with some pretty great people. But not all brainstorming works and it can sometimes be a huge time waster. Next time you get some people together for some good old idea generation, remember these tips and make your brainstorm much better.

Get on the same page.

People have had mixed experiences with brainstorming sessions. Chances are they’ve sat through meetings where one person dominated the discussion or where they felt too intimidated to come forward with ideas. So ease their minds and tell them what exactly to expect. Introduce the topic and any ground rules, like no talking over each other, no judgment, etc. Then once you’re all on the same page, get to work.

Just start somewhere (preferably with an idea that’s a little lame).

It can be tempting to sit back and wait for a really good idea to come to you before speaking up. But your team won’t get anywhere by sitting around. So just start somewhere, and set the bar low while you’re at it. Throwing out a pretty basic idea gives your team a jumping-off point. It also eliminates some of the fear of sharing ideas that might not be so great and gets the conversation going.

Slow the heck down.

Sometimes storming sessions can get away from you. Ideas come a little too quickly and people lose their train of thought. By the time they find an opportunity to speak, the conversation may have taken a turn — and that means missing out on what might have been a really great idea. So keep things organized and slow down. Don’t let one person dominate the discussion and make sure only one person speaks at a time.

Keep it comfy. Stay silly.

Brainstorming sessions should be fun. A comfortable and high-energy environment fosters good conversation. So encourage people to share ideas that may sound silly. You never know when hearing an idea that sounds like a bad one might trigger something better. When you leave criticism of bad ideas behind, you make a place where creativity thrives.

Those great ideas you came up with? Do something with them.

Good ideas are useless if you do nothing with them, so make sure everyone’s time storming was well spent. Don’t wait too long before following up. Take time to filter through what was discussed and what to move forward with — and then turn those ideas into actions.

If you have tips to add to this list, share them with us on Facebook or Twitter @moproteam (please). All ideas welcome (thanks).