Scattered Showers' Meetings Suck

The scene is set. You might have been called to do one of the following:

  • Generate thoughts on what the company's new web site should be.
  • Determine the best ways to build team morale and unity.
  • Develop new ideas for the marketing campaign.

Yes, you're off and running in the classic brainstorming meeting.

Yet if the whiteboard ends up white, you have nothing more than partly cloudy skies.

What's the goal of a brainstorming meeting? Its main impetus is the belief that lots of people can generate more ideas in a short amount of time by using ideas that come up to trigger even more ideas. This format also helps participants bond around a common goal and increases their commitment to the outcome. Besides, it's social and can be upbeat and fun—especially for those who don't get out much.

Group sourcing for ideas can be rewarding in big and small ways. At the same time, it's critical to keep inherent problems in mind to avoid your brainstorming meeting from sucking all the moisture from the space around you.

What can make a brainstorming meeting ineffective? Let's start with:

  • Poor facilitation
  • Pathetic follow-up on the ideas
  • Poor time management of meeting (lasts too long)
  • Low level of participation from attendees
  • Lack of focus because discussion isn't narrow enough
  • Too many people talking over one another so no one can hear
  • Emphasis on evaluating ideas that come up instead of generating new ones

The biggest problem with brainstorming meetings centers ...

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