11/26/2006

Rules for Brainstorming

No matter whether you're working to build staff relations and communications (e.g. Library/IT relationships) or conducting focus groups with the public, brainstorming is a great tool for improving communication and increasing collaboration. Sound easy? Not always. Brainstorming sessions can often turn into chaotic messes or unproductive shouting matches if not handled correctly. Below are a few tips for keeping things on the right track for communicating in an open, positive, and effective way.

1. Choose a topic
2. Assign someone to take notes
3. Go around the room – 1 idea per person
4. Think quantity, not quality
5. Say “pass” if no idea
6. Do not criticize or discuss ideas
7. Good natured laughter is okay
8. Exaggeration is encouraged!
9. Spend 20 – 30 minutes brainstorming

When you’re done brainstorming, move on to discussing the ideas that stood out during the brainstorming session. What ideas really work? What don’t? Decide what ideas to “act” on - the key word being "act."

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