Are you getting ready for another brainstorming session? Or is this maybe your first time setting up and leading your team into one? What is important is to change the setup! Remember the time when Obama stood on stage, took of his blazer, rolled up his sleeves and addressed his audience in a casual way. By being warm, casual and welcoming Obama was able to project a “let's do this” tone that rubbed off on the audience in the middle of a major health insurance discussion.
The definition of brainstorming is in the word itself. It is a storm of ideas generated by people looking to be creative about a certain topic or question. This is typically done by both a well-established company looking to ponder and expand on its strategies as well as startups looking to further expand their business. The point is for you to bring your team into a safe, creative and fun environment and give them the opportunity to verbalize their ideas without filtering or censorship.
Brainstorming is a great way to:
- Come up with new creative ideas
- Be friendly and warm with your staff to promote an inspiring and open environment.
- Allow people to feel heard and be important contributors of progress
- Promote a creative work culture
If you as a host don't have control over the meeting it can backfire.... badly!
- Your team might argue and fuss over ideas and opinions.
- No good ideas are generated because you are viewed as an authoritarian and so people will be less likely to speak let alone put their image on the line and propose ideas, they might lose face over.
- It can have a stressing effect on someone in your team that either have a fear of public speaking or lack the communication skills to clearly illustrate an idea or worse... criticize someone else's ideas.
How to handle a brainstorming session with success? There are a few things to keep in mind...
- Even if you sent out an agenda that states the objective and purpose of the brainstorming session, make sure to re-state them both during the meeting as a reminder.
- Make sure to drop your guard as a manager – you are in a room with your team, egos and prides aside, how do they think a certain problem should be solved?
- Let people know that there is a difference between playing the devil's advocate and blatantly shooting down ideas and their owners... with a verbal machine gun...
- If someone is having difficulty expressing themselves in front of others despite the warm atmosphere, allow them to write or even get back to you after the meeting if they have any comments on the session, ideas or feedback.
Make sure to have fun! Bring snacks or even lunch to the meeting. Make it seem like a great session in which for a day, the employee gets a say in all that is important and that they are all appreciated and heard! Your team will look forward to the next brainstorming session with you leading it!
To help you get started, we have created a template that is in line with all that has been mentioned in this blog. This staff agenda template has been built so that you can customize it as well. Download it now and thank us later!