When we hold a meeting, we hope that people will openly share ideas without judgment. We hope ideas will be presented in an organized way. We hope that technology will be an enabler, not a barrier.
Instead, meetings are often unproductive, filled with awkward silences or participants who don’t contribute.
An online meeting can have even more difficulties. Trying to manage a flow of ideas in chat or an online whiteboard is also very challenging.
This is where brainstorming templates, tools, and techniques could be the solution.
Online brainstorming lets you take advantage of the virtual space. It can help you achieve things you can’t in a traditionally delivered, face-to-face meeting.
Brainstorming templates, tools and techniques can help you deliver more effective meetings. They –
- shape a logical meeting process
- eliminate production blocking
- allow anonymous input
- increase meeting participation
- allow people to collaborate in real-time
Online Brainstorming Templates Help You Structure Your Meeting
Brainstorming templates are designed to deliver effective meetings. This makes them the perfect meeting tool.
Online templates are really helpful as they –
- can support many different types of meetings (in-person, remote, and hybrid).
- can work with your meeting time frames (synchronous or asynchronous).
- help to capture all inputs as the meeting progresses.
Brainstorming templates directly reflect the purpose of a meeting. Examples include:
- Business Model Canvas for capturing key aspects of a new or existing business
- Team Canvas for team cohesion and building team culture
- SMART goals template to create realistic and achievable goals.
Templates offer a clear and easy process. With a clearly structured purpose in plain view, people are more likely to be productive.
Online Brainstorming Techniques Stop Production Blocking
Taking a brainstorming session online can stop production blocking and deliver more effective meetings.
Production blocking happens when one person in a group ‘blocks’ other people from offering ideas. Some examples of production blocking include –
- a talkative person dominating the session, stopping others from sharing.
- one person talking may distract others in the group and they forget their idea.
- having listened to an idea that was poorly received by the group, a person decides not to put their idea forward.
Production blocking is really common in face-to-face sessions. Virtual brainstorming can overcome this by reducing the influence of others. People can individually brainstorm their ideas on their own devices before sharing them with the group. It also allows participants time to generate their ideas before they are shared with the group.
With a press of a single button, all ideas can be shared with all participants at the same time. This completely removes any distractions, hesitancy, or other similar influences.
Online Brainstorming Tools Help Build Effective Meeting Environments
Online brainstorming tools let people add their ideas free from fear if done anonymously. This in turn supports a psychologically safe space.
In a traditional brainstorming session, people won’t put forward ideas if they are concerned about what others think. Gathering anonymous input using whiteboards, flipcharts, post-its and pens takes a lot of time. Ink color and handwriting are obvious clues as to who wrote what (even if a neutral facilitator does collect things up). If people don’t feel safe sharing their ideas, they won’t.
Online brainstorming tools help to remove this concern as they allow for anonymous input. People are then more likely to be open and honest with their responses. They will feel more comfortable sharing ideas they think may be controversial.
Online brainstorming tools also let people vote and rate ideas without bias from others. Again, this means people are protected from the opinions of others.
Online Brainstorming Increases Meeting Participation
The main reasons for this are –
- with clarity of process and purpose, people are more likely to be focused.
- the fewer ideas that are ‘blocked’, the more ideas that can be captured.
- the safer people feel, the more likely they are to engage.
Research has reflected this by comparing the performance of brainstorming groups. Online brainstorming sessions generate more high-quality ideas with a higher average of ideas per person than traditional methods. Studies have also shown that loose associations emerge more often during virtual brainstorming sessions. Not only that, and participants tend to be happier with their results.
Ready to Run Your Own Online Brainstorming Session?
There are many benefits that online brainstorming templates, tools, and techniques bring to a meeting. They can help address issues that come with face-to-face sessions, foster a supportive environment and increase meeting participation.
GroupMap is an easy-to-use online brainstorming tool that can help you deliver more effective meetings. You can start straight away with any one of the 80+ templates.
Use GroupMap to run your next online brainstorm today.