When it’s time to collaborate in a brainstorming session, expert meeting facilitators advise following some basic guidelines to help ensure the session is productive.
First is to be selective in who will participate and let them know the agenda or goals in advance, so they are prepared to offer well thought out input.
Invite only the number of people who could reasonably participate in the discussion.
Select a location that has limited, if any, distractions, that is uncluttered, and that has a bright environment that is conducive to creativity. “ Once you determine these people, be willing to modify the method of brainstorming, length of meeting, and facilitator to match the people in the session,” suggests brainstorming expert and author Scott Berkun in
Creative Collaboration: How to Run a Successful Brainstorming Session in an Adobe blog.
Forbes magazine contributor Lisa Bodell suggests setting the tone by starting off with comments in the manner you’re seeking to promote – be it light and jovial or very serious and straight to the point. “A good warm-up exercise engages both introverts and extroverts and establishes the session as a safe space to communicate” she writes in her column:
9 Simple Tips for Leading Brilliant Brainstorms.” A few simple questions will get people into the right mood for the brainstorming.
Berkun also says the facilitator must not only stimulate creativity, but also establish trust.
“It’s up to the leaders to create a culture where ideas are explored and critiqued in a fair and mature way, building trust even during disagreement about the merits of ideas,” Scott writes.
While using the whiteboard to guide the meeting and to capture ideas – also consider using it as a tool to redirect the manner of a domineering participant or a constant complain, Bodell advises. Make such people responsible for writing discussion points on the whiteboard.
EVERWhite offers a variety of whiteboards ideal for brainstorming, including large, 4×20 framed whiteboards for wall-mounting, and 4×6-foot mobile whiteboards that can easily be rolled into position in a conference room or meeting room.
Our board surfaces are guaranteed not to stain for a lifetime, so the dry erase surface will also be white and bright – with no messy distractions caused by ink staining.
The special dry erase surface is non-porous. Dry erase marker ink cannot penetrate the surface, and can easily be wiped off; we recommend microfiber cloths. Your surface will be bright and white as new!
EVERWhite’s selection also includes boards with magnetic surfaces and accessories such as map rails – all expanding the use of the presentation surface.
Jim Muth is general manager of EVERWhite, a US manufacturer and seller of whiteboards and tack boards used for teaching, coaching, planning, collaboration and tracking. Along with his expertise in the use of whiteboards, Jim excels in leadership, new product development, business operations, lean manufacturing, continuous improvement and product marketing. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Industrial Technology, with a focus on Product Development and Design, from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.