Be a Brainstorming Meeting Master: 4 Techniques to Bring Out Your Team’s Best Ideas

Brainstorming tactics

How Do You Create Creativity?

Some would argue that truly creative ideas only happen organically, randomly, or even unintentionally. However, not every creative idea needs to become a vehicle for radical change or solve a problem of epic proportions. Some things just need a little outside the box thinking to do the trick.

Whether you’re looking for ideas that are grand or granular, you don’t have to wait for the winds to be just right for creativity to appear.

“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” – William Faulkner

There are several brainstorming techniques that you can use to foster creative thinking in your team members. These tricks are not magical in and of themselves – they’re simply simple enough to use in any brainstorming session and get the juices flowing in the right direction.

Beat the Brain Block

Technique #1 – Write it down

Instruct all participants to write down an idea when they have it. Thoughts can be fleeting and hard to hold onto if they aren’t written down immediately. Getting an idea onto paper allows the brain to stop trying to focus on just one thought and make room for more ideas to step up and get noticed.

Technique #2 – Keep it brief

In a brainstorming meeting, the initial goal isn’t to look at all the details of a particular idea. You want to take a look at a wide variety of ideas in these sessions, so keep your ideas brief when you write them down, focusing on the big picture of what it will accomplish. After ideas have been shared, the team can dive deeper into each one and start looking at the details.

When initially sharing an idea, think Twitter length – 140 characters or less will do the trick.

Technique #3 – Relax

You probably don’t need to rely on research studies to know that relaxed and enjoyable brainstorming meetings produce better results than stern, stuffy ones. People won’t be encouraged to voice their ideas if they feel the environment is too judgmental or unwelcome to change.

Brainstorming isn’t exactly the same as problem-solving. It’s an opportunity to look beyond a single problem and discover hidden possibilities. In order to let that happen, make sure the tone of the meeting stays lighthearted and open.

It’s equally important to pay attention to whether employees feel free to share their thoughts outside of a brainstorming meeting. If your everyday culture doesn’t encourage openness, a standalone meeting will fall flat on the innovation front.

Technique #4 – Refuel

As the facilitator, you don’t want to create the expectation that everyone has to sit until they’re released for a break. Encourage people to stand or walk around the room if they want to. Make sure to have food and beverage nearby the meeting space and give people the chance to refuel whenever they need it. Brains and bellies running on empty are no good for brainstorming.

Looking for more easy and effective techniques to encourage innovative thinking in your team? Futurethink’s “Quickwin” employee training series includes over 50 micro video lessons that instantly incite out-of-the-box thinking, creating a culture of innovation and willing idea-sharing in your organization.

Watch a preview of “Hosting an Ideation Meeting” from the Quickwin series within The BizLibrary Collection:


View the entire Quickwin series and other micro video lessons in The BizLibrary Collection by requesting a demo today!

Training & Development Industry Researcher | Krista researches, analyzes, and writes about the impacts of employee learning on organizations and individuals. She looks at the industry shifts and trends that matter to L&D and HR professionals, and helps them understand how to create better training programs that grow their employees and their business.