When you talk about a great start in the project, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Yes, if it was brainstorming, you are right. There isn’t anything for a project as promising as a brainstorming session, it forms the foundation for the same.
Virtual teams often find it difficult to collaborate, because collaboration can be quite difficult with the distance of miles between the colleague and it can be even more challenging if the members of the team are from different time zones. So here is a compiled list of things that should be done to ensure that you have efficient and productive brainstorming sessions.
This should be a rather obvious measure because emails make it very difficult to collaborate in real-time. They illicit slower responses and are not fit for teams when it comes to the ideation process of the project. To collaborate and brainstorm in real-time, use video calls instead and ask the members of the team to keep their cameras on so that the communication is a close simulation of an actual conversation.
Ask all the members of the team to participate in the brainstorming session. It often happens that great ideas are not shared because the team members feel that they would be judged harshly for them. On the contrary, members of a team are usually very open to different opinions and ideas.
To ensure that the members of the team feel comfortable in speaking amongst the team, give monthly tasks like giving speeches about topics related to or outside of work, or hold debated where each member would have to compulsorily speak. This would help them ease into the role of speaking about their ideas and opinions, even if they don’t seem that good at the moment.
It is extremely important to ensure that each member of the team has a good connection and has the appropriate equipment required for the brainstorming sessions to work. A bad network connection can be frustrating and interrupt the flow of the brainstorming sessions. But more importantly, you need to leverage technology and use it as an advantage to its full potential. Use platforms that will help the teamwork closely despite the distance because the gap between communication can’t be bridged otherwise.
- Use online whiteboards - For instance, Google Jamboard — as they facilitate all members to add images, notes, text, or even drawings.
- Use brainwriting techniques - Sometimes the quieter voices get suppressed in a virtual environment and the ideas are dismissed without consideration. In order to avoid that, you can have
Virtual Team Building Games
Virtual team building games are a holistic approach to building and managing great remote teams, for they help in forming storing foundations of work relationships, reducing anxiety as they are amazing stress busters, boosting morale and motivating the employees as well as help to heal the cracks formed due to the lack of social factor in everyone’s life caused due to the pandemic. By doing all of this, it helps the team members in a wholesome way to have better brainstorming sessions and increasing productivity in general.
The project won’t be able to move forward if the ideas shared are not going to get any feedback. Choosing and developing the right idea requires the feedback of each member of the team. It also ensures that all the members of the team are present in the brainstorming sessions and are on the same page. You can do these things on the Jamboard by adding notes, adding it in the chatbox, or by simply verbally speaking it out.
Break Out into Smaller Groups
Organize the group ahead of the time to avoid any delays. Brainstorming with a larger number of participants can be a tough task, especially if it’s online because all the members of the team might not be heard amongst the chaos of so many. Therefore, breaking into smaller groups is an ideal way to begin the session. Give some time and later collaborate using all those ideas and developing on them. In that way, many ideas can be generated and thoroughly worked on.
Maintain the Etiquettes
Virtual meetings can sometimes be very inconvenient when there are other distractions at home that prevent you from having the conversation. Maintain the office etiquettes so that you are not distracting someone in the meeting itself. Other than that, to avoid distractions at your place, try to isolate yourself to a room and ask everyone in your family to not interrupt you during that time. Additionally, (this is a given) set up a desk to create a feeling of actually working in the office.
This is an improv approach that has been used in a lot of things. It is a great way to develop on the ideas given by others and it really helps in coming up with ideas that are creative and out of the box. Apart from that, it enables and encourages each member to take a part in the collaborative session.
These are the ways that you can ensure your brainstorming session goes by in a breeze. Virtual collaborative sessions need creative ways to be done well. And remember, the key is all the members participating in the sessions because that is the only way group brainstorming sessions will reap the benefits and unleash their full potentials.