We don’t have to be soloists all the time. That’s the message to those of us that think we have to come up with ideas all by ourselves. I’m one of them. Obviously, much of the time it’s a selfish preoccupation – figuring out what you’re going to say. As a freelance writer I know what that’s about. I’ve done that for years. But what if it’s a group effort?
When dealing with a proposal or report or an essay project, it’s often the case that a group of you are involved. You’re discussing all the ramifications, what you think, what others think, what you’ve read or heard. And you’re digesting what you’ve learned. But then can come that amazing decision to brainstorm what you’ve got, what’s missing, new ideas.
That is, or can be, the huge advantage of a group. Especially if it’s a diversified group where viewpoints are not necessarily the same; where experiences are different; where education backgrounds can, and often do, dictate unexpected responses.
Heed the rules
If you are going to brainstorm, there are rules to follow, and the most important deals with listening. Let me explain. Many of us, when listening, are simply figuring out whether we agree with the speaker or not, and whether to add to their comments, or counteract with our own viewpoint. The rule is, we listen only, we don’t interrupt, and we focus on what’s being said. End of story.
Brainstorming is not about being right. Brainstorming is getting every idea, every thought out and recorded. That thought process must not be interrupted. Someone takes the role of recorder and notes down what’s said on paper, on a whiteboard, on a computer.
The group contributes the ideas, however bizarre or off base some of those ideas and thoughts may sound. Only then can they be analyzed and discussed. Only then can you see whether they will contribute to the project at hand, or not. In my experience, several ideas that made no sense at all for one project, opened up possibilities for others.
I’ve appreciated working with a group of people on many projects. The results are invariably better or add to something that I’ve done. If I have any regrets, it’s that I’ve not done enough with others. What’s your take? Would brainstorming benefit your next project, whether it’s an essay, report or proposal? I suggest you try it.