How To Run a Successful Brainstorming Session
A key component to all positive working environments is communication, especially in the creative field. While emailing works great for quick communication, sometimes it doesn’t cut it and you need to address creativity as a group. Running a successful brainstorming session is easy to do when you plan ahead and follow these six simple steps:
1. Create A Stimulating Environment
A brainstorming session needs to be in a different location than where you work for 8 hours a day. Bring your team into a well-lit area that is big enough to double the number of people that are participating (you don’t want anyone feeling cramped). The second part of creating a stimulating environment is providing the materials everyone needs to help their brain perform the best it can, consider having these simple items: appropriate writing utensils, scratch paper/notepads, caffeine, healthy snacks, and water.
2. Designate A Leader
Before walking into a brainstorm session you should designate someone who clearly understands the goals of the brainstorm to be the leader. This person will be guiding the session by standing and writing ideas on your dry erase board, making sure everyone stays focused on the topic and achieve the clearly stated goals. While it may be first instinct to have your boss fill this role, that could have a negative effect. If the person leading the session is an intimidating authority figure, participants are more likely to focus on agreeing with everything they say instead of offering original ideas that are different than the leader’s opinions. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea for your boss to be present, just try not to have them overly influence the session.
3. Break The Ice
The best way to get your team ready to participate is to start the session off in a casual way. Get everyone relaxed and ready to think. Get a dialogue going by encouraging participants to talk about something unrelated. For example; go around the room and have everyone answer a silly question like “If you could have a superpower what would it be, and why?”, or have someone act out a round of charades. Whatever you do to break the ice, keep it short and simple then move on to the actual session topic.
4. Quantity Over Quality
Your main goal is to get as many ideas written down as possible then fine tune later. This lets everyone freely suggest things without being worried that their idea wasn’t as good as the last.
5. Take A Break
Taking a breather can be helpful. Use this pause to break up separate topics, almost like a palate cleanser. Let people stand up, stretch, walk around, and come back to the session refreshed. You’ll know it’s time for a break when ideas feel forced.
6. Wrap Up
When you feel like you’ve come to the end of your brainstorming session, it’s time to wrap things up correctly! The leader should explain what steps are going to be taken next. Have a summary of the meeting created from all the ideas and notes taken then send out a copy to all respective parties.