How to Have A Good Brainstorming Session

If there's one thing I love to do, it's brainstorm. I think sharing ideas and thoughts always cull more great ideas. But brainstorming sessions can get way out of hand. So how do you make sure you get everything you need?

1. Set a Goal
If your goal is to develop new content for a website, don't let the brainstorming veer off into what colours the site should be. Keep everyone on track.

2. Be Strategic
Don't brainstorm with just anybody. Select people who have diverging opinions from you but can stay on task. Look for a mix of big picture people versus detail-oriented ones.

3. Create an Agenda
Brainstorming doesn't necessarily mean a free for all. Creating an outline will keep you on task and help you focus on specific sections.

4. Develop Questions
A bad brainstorming session starts like this: We are developing new content for the website. Got any ideas? Instead, creat leading questions that tackle each section. One of my favourites is asking people to describe the current content in three words or less. Then that gives you an idea of where you want to head.

5. Encourage Chatter from Everyone
It's likely that you will encounter people who are not so apt to speak up as others. Draw them into the conversation, ask them to share their opinions and ensure that everyone has an equal shot at getting their voice heard.

6. Determine Data Collection
Are you writing everything down on a flip chart? Are people taking their own notes? However you decide, ensure that there is an easy way for the information to be gathered.

7. Set a Time Limit
Brainstorming sessions can go on for hours but eventually the well will run dry and the same idea will keep recycling themselves. I would suggest no more than one to two hours.

A brainstorming session can revitilize a project, inspire new ideas and get you excited about what you are working on.
Good luck and Happy Brainstorming!


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