Read This Before Our Next Meeting: Brainstorming Tips

Through the BzzAgent program, I’ve been getting free Kindle copies of publications by The Domino Project.  Most recently, I received Read This Before Our Next Meeting: The modern meeting standard for successful organizations by Al Pittampalli.  (Anyone can download the digital edition for free until Tuesday, August 9.)

The gist of the book is that meetings often hinder rather than help; Pittampalli describes how to run a “modern meeting” to maximize benefits for companies.

One section of the book addresses brainstorming, and it reminded me that students often skip this crucial step in the paper-writing process.  They shouldn’t, because preceding a research or analytical paper with an idea-generating session is what makes for a rich, thoughtful paper.  Students can then group related material and use it to craft a strong, thesis-driven paper with logically organized evidence.

In short, brainstorming gives you more to work with, which means students end up culling the best material from a pool of possibilities rather than straining to think of something to say and experiencing “writer’s block.”

Parents, keep in mind what Pittampalli advises regarding brainstorming sessions:

Let’s praise liberally.  No criticism…. Let’s make sure that the measured output of the meeting is the breadth and quantity of ideas.

You can encourage your child to aim for a certain number of ideas:

This method forces people to let go of their filters in service of meeting the target number of ideas.

Or set a timer:

It’s toward the very end that people start flinging up last-minute ideas to meet the mark.

Try getting up from the table:

Encourage people to stand up, walk around the room.  In fact, get out of the room.

In all the fun of brainstorming, be sure your child keeps track of the ideas.  It may be hard to recognize what’s most valuable until the end.  So:

Let’s write it all down … even the silly stuff.

Is there anything else that you think parents or children should keep in mind about brainstorming?  If so, feel free to share below!

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