Secrets To Better Brainstorming
We have all been called into those meetings where we are asked to brainstorm on-
- A new program
- Problems with a particular group of gymnasts
- Problems with a particular group of parents (problem parents? In our sport?)
- Plan for the new year
Some times these session get way off track and lost in the woods. Sometimes they do not even create a BRAIN BREEZE let alone a Brain Storm.
Let’s start at the beginning- HOW DO YOU LEAD A BRAINSTORM MEETING?
- An invitation to a brainstorm session should start with a stated goal.
- Should include a little more information than you think anyone needs so that everyone feels comfortable participating
- Consider inviting one more person than you think you need. Maybe a lower level coach or someone from a different part of the program. Maybe even a PARENT!
How To Begin The Meeting
- You could stand up and yell, “Get out your umbrellas because there is going to be a brainstorm.” But that would probably just make you feel stupid. So I would start by making fun of someone else. (Ok- I am kidding. Maybe.)
- If you have refreshments, snacks, beer what ever, make sure everyone gets what they want then bring the focus back to you.
- You need to get things rolling so have some ideas ready. Nothing too specific and nothing too good. You don’t want people to latch onto them like a life raft. You just want to get things moving. Think of it being inspirational mediocrity. It gives everyone an example that they can easily beat.
- Gently guide the discussion. The reason you are leading the meeting is that you have become successful enough to know a good idea from a bad idea. As a leader it is OK to let people walk down certain paths and abandon others. But be gentle.
- If you are going down a dead end or the conversation is getting lost- just ask the question again.
To the person leading the meeting, silence suggests time is being wasted by people who don’t know what they are doing.
- Let the silence hang in the air for a second. Let people collect their thoughts. Look them in the eyes.
- Bring the meeting to an end by recapping what was discussed.
- Try to have an idea that each person contributed.
- Thank everyone for their participation.
- Finish your drink and relax and listen. Keep your note book near by. Someone will have something to add!
KEY TECHNICAL MATTERS
- When an idea comes to you, wait 10 seconds. If it still seems like a great idea after 10 seconds, then say it out loud.
- If alcoholic beverages have been made available to you and you’ve had one drink, wait 20 seconds before blurting out your idea.
- Three drinks?- Wait a minute
- Four drinks? Shhhhhhhhh
- A colleagues idea should not be publicly denigrated- unless it is so colossally stupid that by cutting it off at the knees you’re averting disaster.
- Maybe not even then.
- The best way to tell if an idea is good is to look at everyone BUT the person speaking. Almost any response is indicative or merit. Shift in position, nod, smile, robot dance, swoon.
- Best thing anyone’s ever said about a brainstorming session, “When stuff is good, it floats” (remember that other things float too)
- Know that together you can defy the impossible
- Snacks help.