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Brainstorming Effectively

BRAINSTORMING: The basic tool used in generating many possible solutions to a problem is brainstorming. To use the brainstorming process effectively requires following a prescribed set of rules very closely. These rules are: 1. No positive or negative comments are allowed during the brainstorming phase. 2. Positive or negative non-verbal evaluations are discouraged as well. 3. A group member may ask for clarification if the member does not understand a given suggestion, but it is important to avoid any questions that are directed to "how" or "why" of the idea. In other words, the person suggesting a solution is not to be asked to defend the idea! 4. "Far out" or amusing suggestions are encouraged. Laughter can serve as a good release and help people relax. A seemingly wild or amusing suggestion is listed with the more serious ideas for group consideration, unless the "author" of the idea specifically asks that it be withheld. Sometimes a wild idea can be changed or built upon for creative practical solutions. The idea here is to relax and let the ideas flow. 5. Encourage group members to generate solutions that are based upon changing ideas already presented, (e.g., reversing, expanding, limiting). 6. Combine ideas that seem to compliment each other.

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CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.

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