How many brainstormers do you attend each month? Too many? Not enough? Whatever the amount, it’s so important to get the most out of them. It’s a huge ask, lots of people in the room, billable time and sometimes there’s even food!
At Matter Communications, brainstorming is an art form. Developing creative public relations campaigns means that we are always gathering together to bring fresh thinking and new ideas to our clients’ business.
To make sure you are getting the most out of it, here are some quick tips to make them as effective as possible.
Like anything worth doing, you will get the most out of your meeting being as prepared as possible. You can do that by defining roles and adding structure. And key to preparation is to make sure you give people time to prep for the meeting – meaning not 30 minutes before it starts! Tell them about the challenge or opportunity, nothing too long but, enough to give them something to think about.
Invitations are key too. Everyone likes a personalized invitation. It never hurts to tell people why they are invited – think about their skills, experience, maybe projects they have worked on.
Another way to show your creativity is to shake it up location wise. Meet outside in nice weather, in the lobby, kitchen, common area, etc. Anything to get people outside their familiarity zone.
Know Your Role. Well in advance of your meeting, make sure you meet with your team to define the objectives and review the desired takeaways. As the facilitator, you should also be prepared to set up the room with visual stimuli and to have ice breakers to help set the tone that this is a creative session. There are many great resources to help with this online including
http://humanresources.about.com/od/icebreakers/a/my-10-best-ice-breakers.htm and http://smallbusiness.chron.com/five-minute-ice-breakers-meetings-26305.html.
Lastly, your role is to also set the rules. In general those are:
- There are no bad ideas
- No bazookas!
- This is a creative endeavor, HAVE FUN!
To recap, here’s a quick checklist to help out:
- Draft and share prep materials
- Determine invitees
- Determine and secure location
- Determine facilitator
- Set up the room and ice breakers
Following the meeting, the work has just started. It’s up to you and your team to regroup and distill all the creative gold you just mined! Select the top ideas and determine next steps!