Ann Marie and I are often called in as third-party meeting facilitators for our clients, especially when the focus is on strategic marketing planning for the next fiscal year. A technique, that we have been using successfully over the past several years, is Edward De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” (the book is available on Amazon.com) because the idea of Eastern style parallel thinking seems to resonate with our clients.
These clients have become accustomed to the more confrontational style of Western critical thinking, and therefore dread attending marketing brainstorming meetings. Brainstorming meetings can seem endless because invariably each point is discussed, debated, and dissected ad nauseum. After we introduce the Six Thinking Hats method and everyone is on the same page, our clients find that parallel thinking is very refreshing, because it allows the group to accomplish more in less time.
I have created a Six Thinking Hats batch if you would like to learn more:
The beauty of Six Thinking Hats is that Ann Marie and I both wear the Blue Hat, and act as facilitators. Since we are the third party (and our clients are paying for our time), the meeting attendees are more attentive to what we are saying and the meeting progresses quickly. As the moderators, we can control the speed and the direction of the session, and can reel in the topic if it strays too far from the core question. Six Thinking Hats allows a group to effectively attack multiple questions in the same manner, and has the effect of fostering creativity, because any idea, no matter how off the wall, is accepted. After the meeting, we compile the answers and create a simple, one-page report for our clients.
In order to supplement the report, we also provide a batch of content, with the privacy level set for Private, in order to support the ideas contained in the report. SlideBatch allows us to share a private link with each of the attendees, where they can view or add content to the batch.
For your next meeting, try a quick Six Thinking Hats session, and I’m certain that you will be amazed at the results!