3 Steps To More Productive Brainstorming

Personally, I love participating in a good brainstorming session. There’s something about being in a meeting with a group of people who are focused on creating new ideas that just gets me fired up. On the flip side, I can get very frustrated when a brainstorming session just can’t seem to get off the ground.

Brainstorming with your planning team is a great way to ensure you provide an event your attendees will find engaging and worthwhile. However, if you’re the person leading the brainstorming session, what you say and do determines just how productive the session will be. Do the right things and you should have an exciting, productive meeting. Do the wrong things, shut people down, and you’ll be wishing for the clock to hurry up so you can end everyone’s misery.

So, what are the right things to do? How can you get the most out of your next brainstorming session? Here are 3 steps to take that will go a long way to making your next session more productive:

  • Create rather than criticize –  One of the quickest ways to shut people down is to criticize their ideas. This is especially true if you’re the leader and the one criticizing. Instead, enhance creativity by affirming and protecting everyone’s participation.
  • Stir curiosity and engage – Help stimulate discussion by asking probing, open-ended questions. Make a point of getting everyone involved in the discussion. Sometimes the best ideas come from the person who won’t say anything until engaged personally.
  • Capitalize on differences – I find brainstorming sessions are more productive when you have team members that don’t all share the same perspective. Different points of view help to get more well-rounded solutions. Don’t be afraid of the differences. Instead, capitalize on them.

These are 3 that have worked for me. What about you? How do you get the most out of your brainstorming meetings?


  1. […] Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom – How many times have you found yourself in a brainstorming meeting with folks who love to criticize and tell you why a particular idea won’t work? That one drives my crazy and really tests my patience, especially if I’m leading the meeting. (May want to check out previous post on how to get the most out of your brainstorming meetings. Read here.) […]

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