On my way out of a big meeting (“big” meaning I was with our president and executive director) with a small group of colleagues recently, one of my colleagues approached me with some brilliant advice. I was somewhat on the spot in the meeting in the sense that many of the questions being asked about the promotions of two major projects were meant to be answered by Communications, aka me. And Communications didn’t have much to offer outside of “I have a strategy but I need more information to implement what’s in my head.”
(The old radio person in me always manages to rise to the occasion and offer opinions and comments, sometimes unsolicited, to a discussion. I almost babble but I quickly remind myself that in the presence of executive leadership, it’s better not to.)
I offered my suggestions and a certain look came over my face as I exited the conference room. Imagine a person squinting, their brow furrowed, their mouth slightly agape, their walk tentative. I get this look when my brain gears are set in motion. It’s often interpreted as a) anger, b) confusion, c) exasperation, d) impatience, e) all of the above. The look is none of these. It appears when my mind races at 80mph and the rest of me can’t keep up with my thoughts so my face freezes looking like a, b, c, or d.
Willliam came up to me to probably rescue me from “my look” and offered some pretty sage advice on helping me get my brain gears shifted into creativity mode.
Why not invite a group of people to help you brainstorm and ideate? Just get their thoughts on how to move/promote a project. They don’t have to necessarily be part of the departments directly involved but just pick their brains and see what they think about the project.
Why did I not think about that? My morning show partner and I, together with our production assistant, used to do these kinds of sessions. Since we were in radio, marketing and promotions were second nature to us. (We came up with some pretty crazy stuff!) I’ve evolved into a Lone Ranger over the past decade, so I’ve learned to ideate with myself. The good is that I love most of my ideas; the bad is that I love most of my ideas.
I think I’ll implement my colleague’s suggestion. Not only will it help with my one-woman brainstorming sessions but it’s a great way to get more people involved outside of their boxes. The more quiet staff might actually enjoy being involved in something outside of their regular routines. Not that staring at spreadsheets or taking phone calls all day isn’t riveting. But you never know what gems lie beneath the exterior of a numbers-focused or customer-service oriented individual.
Do you have a group of people you bounce off ideas with?