Published On: Thu, Aug 25th, 2016

6 Hacks to Effective Brainstorming with a Remote Team

Brainstorming is a very effective creative process that can get all manner of effective ideas on the table. This is usually easy to accomplish in face-to-face meetings, since people can see the room’s reactions when they pitch an idea. A remote meeting changes the dynamic somewhat, but you can still brainstorm effectively using these six hacks.

1: Establish a Chatting Platform

Your brainstorming sessions won’t be as productive if you’re doing them by phone or even video conferencing. Setting up a chatting platform, be it through a free service or via paid project management software, allows your group a way to brainstorm without interruptions. It also helps you to keep a record of everything that goes on in the platform, which can make minutes and future notes very easy to revisit.

Good Idea on a chalkboard photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay.com

Good Idea on a chalkboard photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay.com

2: Set Clear Goals

One of the biggest hurdles that the organizer of a brainstorming meeting needs to overcome is keeping everybody focused. Ideas that get suggested during the meeting should not be thrown out with no forethought but should instead have a clear relevance to the overall project mission. In order to accomplish this, it is best to make sure that you communicate your goals in writing prior to each meeting. This provides focus to the brainstorming session.

3: Don’t Say No

Many people who participate in brainstorming sessions develop a fear of the word “No.” This sometimes keeps them from presenting useful suggestions that can be incorporated. In a remote setting, it’s even easier for somebody to fade into the background as a result of this aversion. Try to avoid using “No” when discussing ideas. Instead, try “Yes, and…” or “Yes, but…” This simple rule helps stimulate creativity and ensures maximum engagement from all participants.

4: Use Repetition

Many brainstorming meetings can go off on tangents because one person’s very good idea gets built upon by other people, which gradually leads them away from the main topic at hand. To keep this from happening, make sure you reiterate the main topic and agenda points both verbally and in any chat windows periodically. This serves as a way to refocus the team on the important task at hand.

5: Avoid Rapid-Fire Thoughts

Sometimes, individuals in your corporate meeting approach brainstorming by throwing out ideas rapidly and then moving on to the next topic. Avoid this if possible – it keeps you from being able to build effectively on what is being presented. Instead, take time after each thought to make sure everybody provides some input and to explore the idea thoroughly. This can also allow more connections between ideas, instead of a flurry of unrelated suggestions.

6: Give Everybody a Specific Follow-Up

Before the meeting ends, assign an action item based on the ideas presented to each member of the team. Make sure that the specific team member is fully responsible for a complete topic, as this prevents several people from repeating work on the same goal. This also gives people a sense of ownership over a project and empowers them to bring other resources in as needed.

These six essentials will keep your remote team meetings running smoothly and provide excellent results afterward. This guarantees that you get the most out of a remote environment.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

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