Today’s post is by guest author Amy Grossman, MBA. Amy is a One Page Business Plan Certified Consultant, and works with entrepreneurs and small business owners. A woman of many talents, Amy is also an expert at brainstorming and mind mapping techniques, which she uses to coax brilliant ideas out of individuals and teams.
The Top 10 Ways to Make the Most of your Next Brainstorming Session
By Amy Grossman
- State your topic clearly, in one sentence, at the top of the page. Be sure it is focused rather than broad.
- Set the timer for ten minutes.
- Write as fast as you can without editing. Write every idea down. Money and time are no object and anything is possible in the idea phase.
- Use your natural energy. Brainstorm at the time of day when you are most energetic, maybe first thing in the morning or early evening.
- Keep your ideas in one place. As a word document on your computer; in a notebook or journal; in a blog. This is your idea depository that you can draw on over time.
- Free up your creative juices with prompts such as pictures or music.
- Be creative on the page. Use quick sketches and symbols – instead of words – to capture some of your ideas. Place ideas all over the page. Use different color pens, crayons, colored paper, non-standard size paper (e.g. BIG) – anything to break out of your routine way of doing things.
- Build on your ideas. Picture a tree. One main idea is the trunk, with other sub-ideas flowing out like branches. You can draw the branches and twigs in advance so you have a structure for your ideas before you begin. Or use brainstorming software, such as MindManager®, to create mind maps as you go along. [Note from Linda: You can also try FreeMind, which is free!]
- Use a dictionary. Open it to a random page and pick a random word as a brainstorming jumping-off point.
- Stand in someone else’s shoes and think about the topic. Take the perspective of your customer, your competitor, an artist, a journalist, a doctor, a diplomat, an accountant, a mother or a child. How would they approach the question or problem?
Thanks for the great tips, Amy!
Visit Amy at Broader Vision Coaching.
Quick Writing Prompt: Set your timer for ten minutes and choose one of these ideas to launch a brainstorming session.