8 Techniques for More Effective Brainstorming

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As PR professionals, we are often times tasked to come up with new, out-the-box ideas for our clients. But what happens when brainstorm after brainstorm proves to be ineffective?

Not to worry! Here are eight techniques to design a brainstorm that fosters creative ideas according to Fast Company.  

  1. Invite a diverse group of people – Invite people from other teams to your brainstorm; people with different skill sets and experiences to help you see things in a new way.
  2. Keep the brainstorm to 30 minutes max – Aggressive time constraints help keep people on task and deliver their best ideas as a result.
  3. Provide context and goals before the meeting – Offer all of the pertinent information at least two business days before the brainstorm so people have a chance to come prepared and with some ideas.  
  4. Say “no” to the bad ideas – While this may go against the norm; many brainstorms go astray because people are too scared to say “no.”
  5. Lean into silence – In a brainstorm, silences are times when people get their thinking done, either about their own ideas, or how to build on the last idea that came up.
  6. Be prepared to ditch the meeting – Sometimes, brainstorms can be better performed digitally using Google Docs or Slack. People can then participate in their own time, when they are ready and have ideas to contribute.
  7. Provide a place for anonymous submissions – If you have a team member who is a bit shy or uncomfortable speaking out, offer a way for them to write out their ideas and submit them instead.   
  8. Be prepared to pursue nothing that came out of the brainstorm – Don’t feel like you have to choose and pursue an idea because you had a brainstorm. Instead, consider if any of the ideas are worth more thought or try a second round of brainstorming.

What do you think about these ideas to help conduct a better brainstorm? Are there other ideas you would suggest?