As a business owner there are many things we learn along the way — especially if we’re forging a new path.
When someone suggested that I do separate Brainstorming groups as part of my business I thought, “Why, that’s so easy — who would pay for such a thing? Everyone knows how to brainstorm!” Here is what I have learned in a nutshell. Brainstorming is an art and for some, a learned skill. It needs to be planned, orchestrated, timed, intentional, focused and very specific. Specific meaning, the more targeted the question is for receiving ideas, the better ideas you will receive.
Let me give you a few examples of the benefits of brainstorming:
1) Several years ago a friend of mine was struggling in his business. He lived alone, had his office in his home and he became very isolated. I suggested he ask for help, find someone he could bounce ideas off of and possibly partner with for workshops. His reply: “I have to do it alone, otherwise I won’t feel like a true success.”
My reply to you, the reader:
If you do not allow ideas, teamwork and partnerships to come into your business, you are robbing yourself and your business of the depth, inspiration, creativity and fun you and your business deserve.
2) Sitting at my desk last year I was trying to figure out what I could add to my business — what program would be beneficial for my clients as I was looking through their feedback. One of my Success Team members called at that moment and I told her of my challenge. She said, “You love brainstorming, you use it in your marketing program, why don’t you just do brainstorming groups?” As you read earlier, it seemed too easy and something I thought everyone did as a normal part of their day. My business has now added Women’s “Brain”-Storming On The Playground(TM) and Women’s TELE “Brain”-Storming On The Playground)TM) (conference teams over the phone)
Tip: Don’t overlook the obvious, the things we do well everyday. You have a gift to share and don’t think it’s not worth something. It takes others around you to see the ideas — we are too close to them. Open yourself up to receiving and asking for help.
3) I was invited to speak at my networking group. I took a look at my current table display and realized it was not the most professional it could be. I brought a very focused question to my Success Team for ideas that would fit my programs, fit my colors and make a fun display. The comments I received and the looks on people’s faces told me I (my team) hit the nail on the head. But the greatest gift of all was my pride in the creation and hearing how much I had grown in my business.
Tip: Receive lots of ideas, rate each one for the right fit and your excitement level, then put them into ACTION. I did not create a rating system for my clients until I found out they were taking their entire page of ideas and leaving them on their desk when they returned to their office. They had too many and were very overwhelmed. Brainstorming is pointless if you do not take ACTION! Walk away with 1 or 2 ideas you love, take action and make it happen!
Here are some rules and tips for brainstorming:
* No one gets to be wrong and Everyone gets to be right.
* No storytelling — brainstorming is meant to be short and quick — like a brain dump.
* No kyboshing of ideas — receive your ideas with excitement even if you’ve heard or done them before. Judgment and negativity takes away the energy that’s created with the sharing of ideas and energy leads to more creativity and fun.
Pay attention and really focus on the question. If the question is not specific enough ask for clarity.
Example on Focus and Listening: As I was leaving my house one morning I asked, “Does my blouse look better tucked in or left out?” The answer I received was “You are wearing very monochromatic colors today.” I restated the question and received the following answer: “It looks better tucked in and you are wearing very monochromatic colors today.” (quite the comedian)
* Whether you are in person or on the phone, sit forward. Relaxed posture promotes a relaxed brain. You want to be sharp!
* Listen to the questions and ideas going around your group. It is amazing what you will learn from the questions your teammates ask.
* Keep your brainstorming to a short time frame, 10, 15 or 20 minutes per person.
* Above all, HAVE FUN! Be silly with your ideas. The silliest has often been the beginning of the BEST. Let brainstorming enhance your business. Bring energy, inspiration and FUN into your day and life. You have no idea the partnerships and creativity that are waiting for you around the “Brain”-Storming corner.