101 Uses for a Paper Clip
Organize brainstorming sessions
Sick of coming up with bright ideas for promotions all by yourself? Jewelry
sales trainer and consultant Eln Albert of La Jolla, CA, says many jewelers
are. Her solution: make your staff do the work. "Salespeople usually
have good ideas but often no one asks for them," she says. Here's how
to organize staff brainstorming sessions that should yield some ideas:
- Start with a warm-up session designed to break the ice and put your
employees in a creative mood. Break up your staff into groups of three
of four. Ask them to spend one minute thinking of as many uses as possible
for a paper clip. The zanier the ideas, the better. The point is to break
down inhibitions and get people thinking "outside the box."
- Next, shift the focus from paper clips to promotions. Ask them to come
up with as many ideas as they can, the wilder the better. Because ideas
often trigger other ideas, quantity, not quality, is the goal. One vital
warning: don't criticize any of the ideas the staff will clam up
and your purpose will be defeated. (You can limit this session to 15 minutes
if you're under time constraints.)
- Get the staff to narrow down and refine the ideas. Ask which two or
three they like, and encourage "hitchhiking" ideas people
adding to or improving upon each others' proposals. Let them continue until
they have a usable concept. (Again, this process can take place in several
- Give everyone in the brainstorming group a small reward as a thank-you.
If they believe their efforts and ideas are appreciated, they'll happily
help out the next time.
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.