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Seven Ways to Get Great Ideas out of a Virtual Brainstorming Session

As the business world becomes more global, you may find yourself collaborating with colleagues and clients from all over the world. Because of this, online meeting software has become a vital tool for businesses. With the right meeting technology, individuals can still stay connected no matter their geographic locations.

Try these seven techniques to help you effectively brainstorm during your next virtual meeting:

     1.   Appoint a facilitator

During an effective brainstorming session, everyone must have the opportunity to speak. Since some people are more outgoing than others, this can pose a challenge. A recent article on FastCompany, suggested that a facilitator should be chosen to help with the flow of the session. A good facilitator should be someone who is cognizant of the goals of the group, but also people-oriented. This will help ensure everyone is heard.

     2.   Use a virtual whiteboard

Some productive techniques that are commonly used in face-to-face sessions can still be used in the virtual world. Whiteboards are great because as meeting participants throw out ideas, someone can quickly record them on the whiteboard. With online meeting tools like GlobalMeet®, you can still record and share ideas real-time with a virtual whiteboard. Resembling a blank slide, GlobalMeet’s whiteboard feature allows you to draw, write and erase in real time.     

3.   Make everyone feel comfortable

Some people are more familiar with virtual teams than others. You may want to invest a little more time in those who aren’t as comfortable with the idea. If you have time, schedule a meeting with any new team members, or individuals who are not familiar with the technology. This meeting can serve as a quick demo of the software or a meet and greet for the new members. Whatever you choose to do, you want to make sure all participants feel confident in their abilities to contribute to the conversation.

     4.   How many people will be participating?

It’s important that you know ahead of time how many people you expect to attend. This will help you plan accordingly.If it’s more of an impromptu brainstorm with a small group of people, choose an online meeting tool like iMeet®. iMeet allows you to invite up to 15 people and it’s fast and easy because you don’t have to worry about any downloads. You can also add your unique personality by customizing your meeting room.

If you’re meeting with a larger crowd, GlobalMeet® would be ideal because you can connect with up to 125 people.

     5.   Use visual aids

Short animated cartoons and fun images can help trigger ideas. There are several tools available online that can help you create your own 3D images or videos. You can either choose to send out your materials in advance or use web conferencing tools to guide your guests through your presentation in real time.

     6.    Promote group participation

It’s vital that you choose an online meeting service that has the features you require. A product that has a combination of HD video, state-of-the-art audio and file-sharing capabilities is ideal when you want everyone to feel a part of the group. PGi products have chat features, which allow you to connect with guests publicly or privately between individuals.

For an added convenience there is also a built-in Notes tool to capture and share meeting notes. Just make sure you familiarize yourself with all of the features your conferencing product has, so you can be sure to take advantage of them and have a productive meeting.

     7.   Select your top ideas

After you’ve completed your brainstorming sessions, you need to narrow down your list of ideas. Voting is one of the fastest ways to get this done. GlobalMeet has a live polling option, which allows you to get instant feedback from your meeting guests and narrow down your idea selection. After you’ve received all responses, you can even publish the results so everyone can see. 

Don’t let a dispersed team be the reason you no longer host brainstorming sessions.  Thanks to online meeting tools with state-of-the-art collaborative features, virtual brainstorming can be just as effective as face-to-face sessions.

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If you’re interested in learning more about how businesses are collaborating, be sure to download our free eBook: The Future of Business Collaboration.        

About Lorna Love

Originally from Florida, Lorna moved to Atlanta to join the PGi team. In between trying to get used to Atlanta traffic and the crazy weather, she spends her free time playing with her dog, Mylo. Lorna enjoys writing about online collaboration tools and meeting tips.

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