How To: Banish boredom from your work brainstorm session
There’s nothing worse than a boring brainstorm session at work. After all, how can you extract golden ideas from people that are busy yawning or thinking about what their plans are for the weekend?
That's where we come in. Our event services team has collated some tips to help keep your people inspired, motivated and engaged throughout your next brainstorming session.
Brainstorm boredom buster tip #1 | Less is more
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ meeting rule is: "Don't invite more people than could be fed by two pizzas*."
When it comes to brainstorms, we think he has a point. Any more than ten people and things will get unproductive as those present may not get a chance to voice their ideas. You may also find conversations go off topic and are harder to 'rein in'.
Despite brainstorming with a small group though, it's best, if you can, to try & keep your group diverse**. If you pick people who think in the same way, you could be limiting yourself with the ideas that may come out of it.
* You should try our catering team's pizzas - they are SO good. Pepperoni is a personal favourite
** Matthew Syed's book, The Power Of Diverse Thinking, has some great thinking around the topic of diversity for those of you keen to delve a little deeper into this.
Brainstorm boredom buster tip #2 | Get active
We all know physical activity has a powerful impact on the brain.
Increased blood flow enhances cognition, which makes our brain perform better by improving memory, attention and the ability to concentrate.
So, why not start your brainstorm session with an active activity such as a brisk walk around the grounds (or our racetrack!), an impromptu yoga session or even a skipping challenge?
There's even a golf driving range within our grounds for those who fancy giving some balls a good whack!
You don't even need to be limited as to what time of day you get active, or how many times you get the blood flowing throughout your brainstorm session. The more active you get, the less the chance of getting fuzzy brains!
Still don't believe us? To quote this Huffpost article:
"...regular exercise seems to be associated with improved divergent and convergent thinking, which are considered the two components of creative thinking; the former involves thinking of multiple solutions for one problem, while the latter involves thinking of one solution for a problem."
Brainstorm boredom buster tip #3 | ALWAYS have a plan
No-one likes things to drag on, so it’s important to come to your brainstorming session with a clear framework and structure so that everyone knows what you’re hoping to achieve.
Not only will having a plan keep the session fast-paced and on track, but it will also reduce the risk of people having the time to get bored.
Brainstorm boredom buster tip #4 | Dish out the compliments
There’s a saying that ‘flattery will get you everywhere’ and it will certainly get your brainstorm going.
Begin your brainstorm session by highlighting what members of the group have done well over the past week or month.
People will feel flattered, involved and positively-engaged… plus they will be encouraged to 'keep up the good work’ by contributing in the session and even in the days afterwards.
It's important too to remember that this is a brainstorm - give people the confidence to contribute ANY idea. You never know where the best idea will come from.
Brainstorm boredom buster tip #5 | Don't just sit there
While we think our chairs are pretty darn comfortable, sitting down all day can make people feel listless and they may start to zone out.
It’s hardly surprising that a study conducted by Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School (June 2014), found that attendees who stood up had higher levels of engagement and became more creative* in a brainstorming session.
Taking chairs away for at least some of your brainstorm session can help to get people’s brains buzzing and may keep them out of that sleepy "I need a coffee" zone in the morning and mid-afternoon.
* Maybe those people who use standing desks at work all day are onto something???
Brainstorm boredom buster tip #6 | Supply plenty of tasty food & snacks
Hungry people can’t think too clearly and let’s be honest, food can actually be a great incentive for your team, giving them something positive to look forward to in exchange for their ideas.
Reward your team with delicious food along with plenty of drink options to keep them going throughout the session.
Planning a meeting or a brainstorm session? Did we mention doing it off-site can also help to energize and motivate your people?
Here at Ellerslie, we're able to accommodate brainstorming sessions of all sizes (bear in mind the pizza - and Covid - rules!) and our in-house catering team will keep your team well fed and watered throughout.
We have oodles of outdoor space too - great for those energising mid-storm walk, yoga session or skip-offs we talked about!
If you're interested, our events services team are on-hand to help answer any questions you may have and they can suggest which of our spaces will help generate the best ideas.
Still want more?
We found this great blog over on Hubspot that gives you 8 Brainstorming Ideas to Inspire. We think it's worth a read too.