Brainstorming is a common practice in businesses, and brainstorming has come up with some amazing ideas and inventions. But there is one fundamental flaw in brainstorming: No new thoughts seem to emerge once one person comes up with a good idea. The main reason is because everyone bands together to refine and hone that one good idea into a fantastic revelation.
But what if you want several new ideas? What are good ways to keep the creative juices flowing? One way is to start the brainstorming session before everyone meets in person. Send out an email with details on the brainstorming session and allow members to submit suggestions before the session actually starts. There are a couple of benefits to this: First, it allows the introverts in the group time to think about new ideas. Introverts process internally, and too much talking while they are processing can make an introvert shut down and stop contributing during a meeting. Sending out an email in advance will help them be more creative. Second, it gives the opportunity for more independent ideas to come forth. Rather than everyone banding together on the first good idea, it gives the opportunity for the group to look at many ideas.
A Positive Outlook
I still remember the day I had a very difficult meeting scheduled. Two people I was responsible for had miserably failed to do some important tasks and, as a result, a large project was held up. I woke up that morning dreading the day to come. I visualized the meeting being absolutely terrible, and I was sure I would be let go because of the problems.
I did not lose my job that day, but the meeting did go as bad as I had visualized.
And I realized later that I had helped to make it bad. That was one of the situations that helped me to see that my mind will work to accomplish what I think about, good or bad. Now, each morning when I wake up, I visualize my day as being a great day. I imagine the meetings I will go to being happy and productive. I see myself doing my work and enjoying it, no matter what it is. I see in my mind’s eye customers that are happy because of what I accomplished, whether I actually see them or not. There are still problems that come up, but I have noticed that I now have less stress in difficult situations. And I enjoy helping others to see positive outcomes when big problems come up. I attribute that to changing the way I see my day when I wake up.
So when you wake up each day (or right before you go to sleep), visualize a great day. What meetings will you have? Who will you see? Visualize those interactions going surprisingly well. Imagine everyone smiling and laughing, happy for the time spent together. There is nothing you can do about what happens around you, but you have the power to control how you respond.
Large meeting are a great way to get noticed, in both good and bad ways.
There may be the easy going extrovert, happily pumping hands and making connections. The extrovert will be leaning forward in his chair, ready for an exchange of ideas to take place. Then there may be the introvert, backed against a wall, afraid someone will talk to them because they have no idea what they will say back. When the meeting actually starts, which usually takes a year or two, the introvert will sink into his chair, hoping he won’t be called upon. Too much external stimulation makes introverts shut down, but there are things that can be done when a quiet person needs to get his voice heard.
Try to get ahold of the meeting schedule beforehand. Or, send an email to the person who scheduled the meeting to see if you can get an idea of the topics that will be covered. As an introvert, you can use that information to plan ahead what you will talk about. And, since introverts process internally, this will give you time to come up with good ideas. The added benefit is that you will also feel (a bit) more comfortable during the meeting.
And keep a lookout for the #leadershipforintrovertsbook due out soon! Keep updated at www.leadershipintroverts.com.