A lot of people find it difficult to participate in brainstorming sessions and group projects as they think they cannot work well with others. Such people work best alone. This is due to the fact that there is general perception among them that collaborations and brainstorming sessions are waste of time and has the potential to create a lot of confusion. However, the truth is that the brainstorming sessions can prove to be extremely rewarding and productive. Here’s how to prepare your team for such huddles.

Prepare your Team

Before beginning a team huddle, make sure that your team knows what the agenda for the meeting is or what final outcome would you like to see after the brainstorming session. This creates a context to the meeting and will allow the team to create framework for possible solutions.

Have the right kind of atmosphere

The right atmosphere is important for ideas to just flow from each individual in the team. There is going to be a lot of laughable ideas but there are going to be a few great ones too. This requires a relaxed, informal and non-judgmental air to the room. The success of the session depends on the amount of multiple voices expressing their thoughts with confidence and ease. An environment that does not encourage varying viewpoint will discourage a free flow of ideas. A comfortable, familiar environment with any necessary tools available will increase the productivity of the session.

Use Pen & Paper or Whiteboard & Marker

Use proper tools to jot down the ideas that are agreed upon. While technology is sure to ease up our minds, they are also deterrents to the creative mind and creative brainstorming sessions. Hence, try to switch to manual whenever possible and stick to tools such as pen/pencil, paper, whiteboard, marker and post-its. Using them engages portions of the brain that otherwise lie dormant.

Keep the Discussion on Track

Somebody in the team has to be assigned as the moderator whose responsibility is to keep the discussion on track. Having multiple voices and brains in the same room has the potential for getting stuck on an idea, going off into tangents and rabbit trails. This is where the aforementioned waste of time comes in to play and it is the moderator’s responsibility to gently bring the conversation back on the topic at hand and follow through with the agenda set for the meeting. Notice non-verbal behaviors of everyone in session and make sure everyone is contributing. If a lack of interest is noticed, call for a break in the session for a few minutes or rest of the day. This, instead of wasting time, will re-energize the group and may even increase the flow of ideas.

The power of brainstorming sessions and group discussions lies in exposing an existing plan to creative ideas produced by various minds working together. With legitimate preparation, a friendly atmosphere, and the correct devices, chances are high that you will stumble upon positive responses and solid solutions.