It helps to know the rules if you want to be a good brainstormer. Everyone brings a different set of skills and ideas to a brainstorming session. People who know how to come up with good ideas are needed in every business and profession.

This article will go through the main rules of brainstorming and how these rules can help improve your next brainstorming session. Want to learn more about studying, being an entrepreneur, and bringing your business to success? Then join our EWOR Platform to get access to more than 17 courses and a lot of other resources.

Refrain From Judgment and Encourage Wild Ideas

This is first on our list because it should be one of the most important things. We all have our own ideas and thoughts, and no one should judge them.

Having this as the first and most important rule can help your team remember that a brainstorming session is and should be about sharing ideas without any criticism.

Some people might have wild ideas, but you never know, those ideas might work in some way.

Brainstorming sessions shouldn’t be places where people feel judged. Instead, they should be places where people are encouraged to talk about their ideas. This will show your team that there is no such thing as a “bad idea.”

Create as Many Ideas as Possible

When it comes to brainstorming, the more ideas you come up with, the better. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas, there are some things you can do to help:

  • Word association – random words that are linked together, for example: “Star” and the words that associate with it may be “moon”, “galaxy”, “astronauts”, and “Mars”.
  • Prompts – these can be picture cards with a specific scenario or a made-up prompt by your co-worker. 

Keep track of all the ideas that were brought up during the meeting, not just the good ones.

Even the good ones and the not-so-good ones can be improved.

Stay Focused

Even though you and your team may have a lot of ideas, it’s best to stay on topic. When your team isn’t paying attention, the brainstorming session starts to go nowhere. But going off on different topics can also help you think of more ideas because it gives your mind a break.

As long as you stick to the topic of the brainstorming session in the end.

You and your team can stay on track during these sessions by:

  • Set a clear goal and what you want to achieve in the session.
  • Document the session – write on a whiteboard or something similar. Get someone to assign notes or record the session. After the meeting, send a recap and the “next steps” in an email.

Build on Other People’s Ideas

We all have our own ideas, and instead of ignoring or criticizing them if they don’t make sense or aren’t practical, we can build on them.

When someone brings up an idea during a session, you can change, improve, or build on it.

You can also make one idea out of two or more.

Don’t say “I have a better idea” and other similar things when you want to add to an idea. This seems rude and makes fun of the person’s original idea.

Change how you think and how you react to what other people say. Use “and” instead of “but” when you say things like, “This is a good idea, and we could…” This sounds much better and more encouraging than “This is a good idea, but…” When you add “and” to a sentence that starts with “but,” it doesn’t sound like you don’t care about the idea or the person. More so, “and” adds to the first idea and builds on it.

Get Creative

Getting creative with brainstorming can help visualise and produce more ideas for the session. These can be done either on paper or on websites like ClickUp

What you can also do to get creative with brainstorming is:

  • Draw your ideas – these drawings don’t have to be a masterpiece.
  • Mind mapping.
  • Use sticky notes – draw or write and stick these on the wall or the whiteboard.
  • Create an Affinity Diagram.

One Discussion At a Time

When there are more people in these sessions, there can be more conversations going on at once. Make sure that everyone has a chance to talk and that no one talks over them or ignores them. 

Even so, some shy or introverted people like to be in the background because it makes them feel safe. Do try to get everyone in the group to talk and share their thoughts and ideas. You can do this by:

  • Asking individuals questions.
  • Ask everyone to share their Top 5 (can be any number, this is up to you) ideas with the rest of the team.
  • Use redirecting phrases like; “That sounds interesting, what do you/the rest of you think about this?”. This can help redirect more of the quieter members in the session.

Conclusion

Brainstorming is a great way that many businesses can come up with new and quirky ideas. This allows both individuals and teams to think more freely and encourage ideas that can help solve problems. If you want to learn more about the power of brainstorming or if you are looking for more techniques to help with your next brainstorming session, the article “8 Brainstorming Techniques That Will Boost the Creativity of Your Team – will be very helpful the next time you brainstorm.

About the author
EWOR Team

Sign up to our Newsletter