How to Create a Full Frontal Brainstorming Session

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The Thinker, photo credit: Joe deSousa @ Flickr

U.S. boardrooms are chock-full of extroverted, high-energy loud talkers. And the louder they are the more apt everyone is to listen to them. Even if their ideas are bad.

Why? Because we’re a country that equates noise with information. And let’s face it, the “Gastons” in the room are just so darn charismatic, especially when they’re turning what we thought would be a campfire brainstorming session into a full-fledged hoedown. But here’s the thing: this is bad for business. Brainstorming sessions, or at least the kind that gets sh!t stuff done, require the brainpower, critical and creative thinking skills of all the minds in the room. In short, meetings require unabashed full frontal thinking. After all, problem solving, imagination and emotional expression, three links in the creativity neural chain, all occur in the frontal lobe of the brain. Who better to offer up a few tips on setting the stage for a full frontal brainstorming session than Samantha Bee?

Campfires Over Hoedowns

“I’m capable of living in the moment. And I’m especially capable of living in the moment of sitting on my sofa and watching other people’s moments.”

The point of this Beeism? If you’re a well-intended business person who tends to gobble up the limelight in meetings, remember: campfires, not hoedowns. We’re looking to create an environment where everyone feels confident enough and has the energy to toss their ideas into the light, and sometimes, the quietest person in the room’s ideas are the ones that we all need to hear.

Timing Is Everything

“There have been a lot of hot showers that I’ve taken where I’ve been like, ‘I should speak more firmly. Like in a meeting. I wonder if everyone would appreciate it if I just made up my mind right away about something?’ It’s so counterintuitive. Being thoughtful about things is actually really important. Everyone gets used to it. It just takes a minute.”

Maybe you’re a brilliant little mouse who just can’t bring herself to talk louder than the loudest talker in the room. Well, that big mouth has got to breathe sometime. Wait for it and then slide right in. Your team will soon come to expect that when you do open your mouth only poetically floating dollar bills fly out—you’ll be sitting back like The Godfather in no time as everyone learns to hang on your every word.

Comfort Over Cooking the Goose

“A blazer is just my life staple. I rock a blazer. I can’t help it. I was just wearing a blazer and running shoes at rehearsal and people were like, ‘You seem really comfortable. Do you want to wear that on the show?’ ‘Please.’”

Their heels are burning and their collars are so starched and ties so tight that all creativity is being squeezed out of the top of their heads like a flickering light bulb that is about to die. Even the loud talkers are ho-hum. That’s when you know it’s bad. Yes, looking good is about brand reputation. But if the situation and meeting place allows, create an environment where attendees can relax and be themselves. Who can think of a darn thing when their shirt is so starched that it’s ready to jump up on the table and karate chop everyone’s binders in half? Let’s take the professionalism down a notch and just see where that takes us.

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