Brainstorming SecretsWritten by Steve Gillman
Have you been in a "brainstorming" session where each person just defended their own ideas? Worse is when people don't suggest ideas at all, for fear they'll be attacked. That's no way to brainstorm. Brainstorming is using power of many minds, and ideas should flow freely and trigger other ideas. How do you make that happen?
The Key To Good Brainstorming
You have to have a good leader to have good brainstorming. The leader isn't there to impose his will, though, but to stop imposition of anyones will. His role is to stop criticisms, arguments, and even strong opinions, at least in first part of session.
A brainstorming session needs to be spontaneous, open and uncritical. "Bad" or "silly" ideas can lead to helpful ones, so suggestions have to be left un-judged at first. To brainstorm effectively, you can't stifle creative process. The leaders job, then, is to make everyone feel free to suggest any ideas.
An Example Of Good Brainstorming
The scenario: your business needs to cut delivery costs. The group throws out ideas and thoughts. "Let's not deliver," someone suggests, and when another starts to criticize, you remind him of rules. "Negotiate lower rates," somebody says, "Or just find a company with lower rates," another adds. Ideas like reducing package weight and charging customers more are suggested, and lead to other ideas.
Story Telling With a PurposeWritten by Robert F. Abbott
For a brief time, I tried to sell life insurance. And, operative word was 'tried' I can assure you. Although I thought I did a good job on presentations and scripts provided by trainers, I did not make a single sale.
On other hand, veteran who trained me didnít spend much time with presentations or scripts. He simply told stories about clients who spared their loved ones great pain by getting proper coverage. Just as importantly, he talked about troubles suffered by people who did not have coverage. And, he sold a lot.
Which takes us to subject of purpose-driven story telling. I've bumped up against idea of it as a strategic communication skill several times recently, so maybe it's time to discuss it here.
For starters, let's distinguish between stories by talkers who believe world wants to know what they think about everything under sun, and stories told with express purpose of advancing an objective. Let's call latter 'strategic stories' (and you know what we call other kind).
You can use strategic stories to help your cause or project by figuring out, in advance, what you'll say and why you'll say it. In other words, before you make your speech or presentation, identify stories you'll use, and know why you'll use them.
Leaders frequently use stories to add emotion to their communication. Adding emotion allows listeners to buy in with their hearts, as well as accept with their minds. One specific type of emotional charging evokes shared values or memories. For example, "I know you'll keep providing great customer service because you all did such a great job when product recall was announced. Do you remember how calls started coming in right after first announcement?"