Quick tips for more successful brainstorming sessions.
We are continually challenging our clients to brainstorm with us for article topics. Finding a good topic for an article can be the most difficult part of the writing process. So how do you find not just a good, but a great topic?
The way to get good ideas is to get a lot of ideas, then throw out the bad ones. ~ Linus Pauling
Start with collecting all of the ideas your group comes up with. Don’t reject any ideas in the beginning. This will allow the group to express their thoughts without fear of rejection and keeps the focus on generating ideas, not debating their merits. Encourage creative and unconventional ideas. They can be good ideas themselves or can spark one in others. Lastly, be sure to think inside-of-the-box as well, sometimes simpler is better.
Once you have collected every idea the group can think of, it is time to, as Pauling says, “throw away the bad ones”. Now, you can discuss the merits of each. Be sure not to let the discussions last too long, especially over one topic. If the discussion starts to get too extensive or it seems to evolve into a debate, the session may no longer be productive. So now what?
No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. ~Albert Einstein
The group needs to take a step back. You can adjourn the session for the day and re-approach the problem at a later time. Send out the list of brainstormed topics and let people mull them over, sending thoughts back after a few days. Another option is to obtain an outside perspective from someone who understands the topic and can provide some objective thoughts on the issues at hand. This is what McDay often does with clients.
When you have concluded discussions and narrowed down your topics, you will be on your way to writing, or hiring a writer help you prepare that perfect article, and getting it published.