How can I be an effective facilitator?

Did you know an effective facilitation of team activities, like brainstorming, can greatly increase creativity?

We all know that great ideas arise from active brainstorming. But brainstorming requires focus, or you could spend all idea touching upon ideas and never implementing a single one. With focus and guidance, Concept Marketing brainstorming sessions often produce a wealth of creative ideas that help keep our marketing strategies fresh and cutting edge.
Here are a few ways careful facilitation can guide your brainstorming sessions:

1.    Choose a facilitator that is flexible. Without direction, you can brainstorm all day. A good facilitator introduces parameters so that the brainstormers know that time is of the essence, yet they have freedom to roam within those parameters. Facilitators also need to take into account the personality of each brainstormer and adapt sessions so everyone is comfortable.

2.    Keep it small. We like to split into small groups, with the facilitator moving among groups, giving prompts and checking the time to make sure everyone stays on topic.

3.    Keep it fast. I like to do brainstorming sprints with my team, and I do that by introducing time limits. I’ll give the team five minutes to come up with all ideas, big or small, and then we’ll evaluate the results.

4.    Keep up the air of cooperation. If you notice someone not participating, switch up the prompts. Ask each brainstormer individual questions so they feel like they’re a part of the process. The goal is to get everyone involved.

5.    Stay neutral. As a facilitator, I always strive to make our brainstorming sessions a fun experience. Yet I also make sure everyone knows this is important work we’re doing. So you want to get involved, but always remember you are there to guide the session, not just play along.

6.    Above all – FOCUS. A brainstorming session is a group effort. If you feel the session becomes too focused on certain individuals, you need to step in and steer the conversation back to the business needs versus individual needs.
The next time you are ready to brainstorm ideas, remember to appoint someone to facilitate the process. The result will be much more focused toward your business goals.

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