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18 Rules for Creative Meetings

I’ve written before several times about rules for creative meetings, but I wanted to create the “ultimate list of rules,” all together in one place!

Creating an environment for “being creative” takes work. It takes energy and preparation. You don’t just show up and flip the creative switch on immediately.

There is a reason that certain groups and organizations are ultimately more creative than others- it’s because they are on purpose when it comes to creating the right kind of environment for creativity. They are intentional with creating the creative environment.

Here at Catalyst, we are very intentional about our creative process. It’s part of our DNA.

When it comes to creating the right kind of environment, we’ve established some “rules” (suggested behavior) for our “creative” meetings:

1. Set the expectations for the meeting up front. Be very clear, even if there are no rules.

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2. All ideas are welcome and needed. There is no bad answer. Ever.

3. Many times, the great ideas end up being an average idea that was built on and built on and built on. Give the average ideas a chance.

4. The answer is always “yes, and” and never “no, but” in a brainstorming meeting. Debbie downer and Mr. No aren’t invited. NO has no place at the table. Ever.

5. No one person can dominate the conversation/meeting. Respect everyone’s participation and their thoughts.

6. Allow for movement- standing up, walking, sitting down, whatever works for people- especially those with shorter attention spans!

7. Provide creative “extras,” such as toys, sports items, collectives, visual effects, and other “enhancers.”

8. Take mental breaks every 30-40 minutes and physical breaks every 90 minutes at minimum.

9. Take VERY detailed notes. Capture everything that is said and created. You have to have a dedicated note taker. Record every idea that’s thrown out. Capturing ideas and then being able to find them later and put them into action is crucial. Everyone thinks they can remember the best ideas, but literally, within a couple of hours, you’ll have forgotten.

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Brad Lomenick is Executive Director and key Visionary of Catalyst, a movement of young leaders. Over the last 15 years, he has built a reputation as a key networker and convener of leaders. Prior to running Catalyst, Brad was involved in the growth of the nationally acclaimed Life@Work Magazine and did management consulting with Cornerstone Group. More recently he has served in a number of roles for INJOY and now GiANT Impact. For several years after college, he rode horses for a living on a ranch in Colorado, and was even struck by lightning while installing a barbed wire fence, which some believe has given him powers equal to several of the Super Heroes. He hopes maybe someday he can be a professional golfer, or have his own hunting show.