Offsite meetings are meant to be a productive way for your team to brainstorm in a new environment. In an offsite space like an NYC loft in SoHo, with downtown views of the hardworking and inspiring city, it’s easy to believe that the lightbulbs in your teammate’s brains will flicker on and your company’s five year plan will be fulfilled. While this optimism is great, preparation has to go into this meeting. Brainstorming is crucial, but only if the brainstorming is being done correctly.
Here are some ways to make your offsite brainstorming in an NYC loft in SoHo influential:
- First, have everyone brainstorm alone.
People generate more ideas working alone than working in a group. When conversation isn’t led away from their ideas, they are more likely to express them. This creates a larger pool of thoughts to work from when the group comes together again. When brainstorming alone, use pen and paper. Remaining unplugged during the session will keep your focus pointed at the task at hand. Also, consider walking around. At an offsite space like an NYC loft in SoHo, you are granted the opportunity to wander around in the space, or even outside in the streets.
- Ask the right questions.
As a team leader, it is crucial to phrase the questions and goals of the brainstorming session in the most accurate way possible to yield the results that you are looking for.
- When in doubt, draw it out!
Sometimes, the image in our heads is clear, but we cannot translate it into words. Drawing a sketch instead can be more valuable to the team later on. Other team members can build and contribute new pieces to the sketch in the same way that they can with written and spoken words.
- Encourage dissent.
Not every idea is a good idea. The point of solitary brainstorming is to develop as many ideas as possible to contribute during the group brainstorming session. These will not all be the best. Do not be afraid to speak out against an idea because of an evident weakness. Encourage the team to voice their opinions and to add opportunities or threats that they recognize in another idea. This will leave you with the best possible list to work from in the end.
Always keep in mind that brainstorming is the first step in accomplishing an end goal. Don’t focus too heavily on details and remember to keep the conversation flowing from one team member to the next. The point of these sessions is idea accumulation.