Tips to encourage everyone to contribute

Regardless of the type of meeting, it often happens that a handful of stakeholders take the floor, whether it’s a public meeting or a corporate brainstorming session. Introverts, new employees or unmotivated employees can tend to disappear even if they have good ideas…

By using certain brainstorming strategies, you can collect everyone’s suggestions, which increases your chances of developing solutions, products, or approaches that your employees feel more involved in because they feel like they’ve contributed.

Brainstorming meetings, using both traditional methods and technological solutions, help teams collect a wide range of information from all participants, regardless of their profile.

Why are some employees not participating in brainstorming meetings?

Before you host an inclusive brainstorming session, you must first understand why some people are reluctant to participate. Among the possible explanations:

  • You are introverted and dislike verbally interacting or being the center of attention;
  • They no longer have faith in this process and have seldom seen their contribution come about;
  • They prefer to focus on their tasks and see meetings as a waste of time;
  • They fear that sincere and open participation on their part will result in them losing their jobs;
  • Some may also feel that these workshops are disorganized and lack direction.

12 tips to encourage your colleagues to participate before, during and after a brainstorming session

Brainstorming exercises, approaches and tools used effectively before, during and after a meeting increase participation by giving your employees the opportunity to contribute according to their preferred communication style.

For those who prefer not to let their ideas slip through the meeting, allow everyone the freedom to contribute using a silent method.

Some are more suitable for use during the meeting, others before or after. Classic methods are adapted to face-to-face workshops. Digital brainstorming tools make it possible to organize meetings both on site and remotely.

Before the brainstorm

  1. Create a detailed agenda and share it with attendees a few days before the meeting. So everyone can think about their contributions in peace.
  2. Create your own group using an instant messaging tool to share ideas before your meeting. This chat software allows attendees to post links or files before your meetings in an organized and archived manner.
  3. Ask participants to write a short presentation to share with the group to help their peers understand their preferred means of communication. This is especially useful for new teams, new hires, or external contributors. This introduction should include the person’s name, position, department or team, official contact information, work style, areas of expertise, and preferred mode of communication. These documents must be accessible in a shared area. Facilitators can use this information to customize the communication techniques used during the brainstorming workshops.
  4. Prioritize your potential brainstorming topics with a voting tool. This information can help you identify what topics are of interest to your contributors.

During the brainstorming session

  1. Create a deck of cards with challenges. Indicate a different topic on each of them and distribute them to your participants. Then ask them to come up with an idea quickly, say in less than a minute. When the time is up, collect the cards and deal them differently. Plan enough cards so that everyone can have one at every meeting, even if you have to include quirky themes to fill in a gap, such as: e.g. “quirky holiday ideas” or “What would you do if you won the lottery?”. Once everyone has contributed, collect all the cards. You can use the collected ideas to boost your brainstorming and strategic planning develop.
  2. Use a digital whiteboard tool like Lucidspark to collect feedback during the meeting. This software allows participants to give feedback like they would with paper post-its, but more efficiently. Digital whiteboards allow contributors to submit their annotations from their laptop, phone, or tablet, eliminating the need to get up and walk around a physical board or wall. In addition, Lucidspark automatically saves ratings and comments and offers timer and voting functions.
  3. During the meeting, start with an activity to break the ice and get attendees interested before you start the actual brainstorming session. This workshop does not have to be related to the topic of your brainstorming, its aim is to relax the atmosphere. For example, you can choose a What to do with this object activity. » In this game, choose an ordinary object (a ladder, a chair, etc.) and ask the participants in a given time, e.g. B. two minutes to find as many creative uses for it as possible. The answers can be goofy or ridiculous; it’s just about getting creative.
  4. Consider a visual brainstorming exercise. They allow all of your employees to get involved and engage another part of their brain. For example, start with a few themes you want to develop. Record these issues on several large sheets of paper or on a whiteboard. Pass the papers around and ask each participant to draw an illustration of their idea. Continue until everyone has had a chance to contribute to the different topics. Present the papers to the group and go through them one by one. Don’t forget to record the results of the exercise.

After the brainstorm

  1. Give attendees time to add posts, comments, or questions via email or chat—your colleagues may have lots of new ideas to share afterwards. This additional time is granted according to the deadlines of your project, it can be the end of the day, the weekend or more than a week.
  2. Gather all the information processed and gathered during the brainstorming meeting. Share the results with a mind map tool to visually present the conclusions of your discussion in a simple and understandable way. You can share this data with strategic external contributors who you think could be useful to the project.
  3. Don’t hesitate to start again if you don’t get satisfactory results. It is possible that a meeting will not have the expected effects. In this case, you may need to reconsider the topics to be covered and seek input again with a new strategy. It is also possible to save good ideas for later or for another project.
  4. Prioritize deliverables considering constraints such as time, budget, and scope. Many users use a classic impact/effort matrix to sort their ideas. You can do this exercise alone, with a small number of stakeholders, or with your entire group.

Inclusive brainstorming techniques are very useful for your projects as they allow you to collect ideas from everyone involved and not just extroverts. Plans that take everyone’s contribution into account are more easily endorsed by the whole group. By combining classic brainstorming methods with digital tools, you can easily collect your strategic information and prioritize it in an effective project plan.

Juliette Gauthier, Marketing Specialist for Lucidspark

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