I often lead brainstorming sessions in which we glean some fantastic new ways of discovering solutions. But in some meetings, you might find it difficult to get people to share.  Could it be from fear, or something else? A look at the corporate culture might offer some clues! But in  the meantime, here is an interesting thought from the folks at Fast Company:

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We’ve all been in that brainstorming meeting: the one where you could hear a pin drop, and the white board of “great ideas” remains blank. It’s awkward for participants and downright excruciating for the person leading the meeting.

Psychologist Art Markman helps us figure out how to get people talking:


I manage around 50 employees in a creative industry. The people I work with are very hardworking, smart, and creative. Yet whenever I try to get them to brainstorm in meetings: crickets. Any suggestions for methods to get the conversation and ideas flowing?

Tired of Crickets

Dear Tired.

I sympathize. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to get your group to generate great ideas and ending up with a room full of people staring at their shoes.

I want to address this question in two parts. First, let’s try to figure out some of the things that might keep people from speaking up. Once you figure that out, you can try some methods to get people talking.

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