I love brainstorming meetings. It is fun to come up with creative ideas for campaigns and content for clients. I’ve learned a few tips for better brainstorming meetings.
1. Brainstorm on your own in advance: If I know the topic of the brainstorming meeting, I always brainstorm in advance for fifteen minutes or more. Do research and think of a few ideas before the meeting starts.
2. Don’t think anything is stupid: If you have an idea, say it. Don’t worry if it sounds sort of outrageous, silly, or out of budget. Other people can give advice on your idea, figure out how to tweak it, or it may be skipped over but that doesn’t mean it won’t work in the future.
3. Don’t assume someone else is thinking it: When I studied psychology in college, I remember hearing about a bias in which people don’t say their ideas because they assume someone else has thought of it and rejected it. Say your idea. Don’t assume someone else is thinking it.
4. Don’t undermine yourself: I’ve heard people say something like, “This isn’t a good idea but,” “This is kind of stupid but,” or “I don’t really know but what if…” Don’t undermine yourself by stating that you are unsure – it will lead people to think that it isn’t a good idea. Be confident in your ideas.
5. Get out of the office: At work, all writers are paired with designers. Once a month we leave work early and brainstorm in a coffee shop or at the park. I find that brainstorming is so much more efficient on the days that we get away from the office. I am also a huge fan of walking meetings (especially if the walking meeting leads to lattes…).
6. Have someone take notes: Have someone take notes during the brainstorm meeting so that everyone remembers all the ideas that came up at the meeting. Write them on paper, take notes on a computer, or write on a whiteboard and take a photo or use Evernote.
7. Listen carefully and follow-up on ideas: Listen to other people’s ideas and follow-up on them. It shows that you are listening and that you care about their ideas plus it will allow you to add to their idea or concept!
P.S. Here are a few of my favorite 30 Rock scenes that are kind of related to brainstorming…