Regardless of the type of meeting, it often happens that a handful of speakers monopolize the floor, be it a public meeting or a corporate brainstorm. Introverts, new recruits or unmotivated colleagues can fade, even if they have good ideas…
By using some brainstorming strategies, you can collect everyone’s suggestions, which increases your chances of creating a solution, product or approach that your colleagues will feel more involved in, as they feel they have contributed.
Brainstorming meetings using traditional methods and technical solutions help teams collect detailed information from all participants, regardless of their profile.
Why don’t some employees contribute to brainstorming meetings?
Before hosting an inclusive brainstorming session, you should first understand why some people are reluctant to participate. Among the possible explanations:
- They are introverted and do not like to interact verbally or be the center of attention;
- He no longer has confidence in the process and rarely sees his contribution;
- They prefer to focus on their tasks and think that meetings are a waste of time;
- They fear that honest and open participation on their part will cost them their jobs;
- Some may even feel that these workshops are chaotic and lack direction.
Brainstorming exercises, approaches, and tools used effectively before, during, and after a meeting increase participation by giving your employees the opportunity to contribute according to their preferred communication style.
For those who prefer not to let their thoughts drift away during the meeting, allow everyone the freedom to participate using the silent method.
Some are more suitable for use during the meeting, others before or after it. Classical methods are adapted for face-to-face workshops. Digital brainstorming tools make it possible to organize meetings on site and remotely.
- Make a detailed agenda and share it with the attendees a few days before the meeting. It allows everyone to think about their contribution in advance without haste.
- Using instant messaging tools, create a dedicated group to share ideas before your meeting. This chat software allows participants to publish links or files before your meeting in an organized and archived manner.
- Ask participants to write a short presentation to share with the group to help their colleagues understand their preferred means of communication. This is especially useful for new teams, new employees or outside speakers. This introduction should include the name, designation, department or team of the person to whom they report, official contact information, work style, area of expertise, and preferred method of communication. These documents must be accessible in a shared location. Facilitators can use this information to adapt the communication techniques used during brainstorming workshops.
- Prioritize your potential brainstorming topics using the voting tool. This information helps you more easily determine what topics are of interest to your contributors.
- Create a set of cards with challenges. Point out a different topic on each of them and distribute them to your participants. Then ask them to come up with an idea quickly, for example in less than a minute. When the time is up, collect the cards and distribute them separately. Plan enough cards so that everyone at each meeting has one, even if you have “weird holiday ideas” or “What would you do if you won the lottery?” “. Collect all the cards after all the participants have contributed. You can use the collected ideas to develop your brainstorming and strategic plan.
- Use a digital whiteboard tool like LucidPark to collect feedback during the meeting. With this software, participants can provide feedback as they would with Paper Post, but more efficiently. Digital whiteboards allow contributors to submit their comments from their laptop, phone or tablet, eliminating the need to get up and running around a physical board or wall. Additionally, LucidPark automatically saves ratings and comments, and provides timer and voting features.
- During the meeting, start with an activity to break the ice and get the participants interested before starting the actual brainstorming. This workshop does not need to be related to the topic of your brainstorming, it is intended to give a relaxing atmosphere. For example, you can say “What to do with this item?” You can choose the type of activity. » In this game, choose a simple object (a ladder, a chair, etc.) and ask the participants to find as many creative uses as possible for it in a given amount of time, for example two minutes. Answers can be goofy or ridiculous; It’s just about being creative.
- Consider a visual brainstorming exercise. They allow all of your employees to participate and demand a different part of their brain. For example, start with some topics you want to develop. Record these topics on several large sheets of paper or on a whiteboard. Pass the paper around and ask each participant to hand an example of their idea. Keep going until everyone has had a chance to contribute in different subjects. Present the sheets to the group and review them one by one. Do not forget to record the results of the exercise.
- Give attendees time to contribute, add comments or questions via email or chat—your coworkers may have tons of new ideas they’ll want to share later. This additional time will be given according to the deadline of your project, it can be end of day, weekend or more than a week.
- Collect all information processed and collected during the brainstorming meeting. Share results using mind map tools to visually present the findings of your discussion in a simple and understandable way. You may choose to share this data with strategic external contributors that you think may be useful to the project.
- Don’t hesitate to start again if you don’t get satisfactory results. It is possible that a meeting may not produce the expected effect. If so, you may need to reconsider your topics and ask for contributions again using a new strategy. It is also possible to save good ideas for later or another project.
- Prioritize results keeping in mind constraints such as time, budget and scope. Many users use the classic impact/effort metrics to sort their ideas. You can do this exercise alone, with a small number of stakeholders, or with your entire group.
Inclusive brainstorming techniques are very useful for your projects, as they allow you to gather ideas from all participants, not just extroverts. Plans that take into account everyone’s contribution are more easily supported by the whole group. By combining classic brainstorming methods with digital tools, you can easily gather and prioritize your strategic information into an effective project plan.
Juliette Gauthier, Marketing Specialist at Lucidspark