Help unleash ideas with two simple words

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Anthony Pica
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Help unleash ideas with two simple words

Help unleash ideas with two simple words

Have you ever wished a brainstorming session would flow better and be more productive? There's one word in particular that creates friction in group brainstorming sessions: BUT.

"But" is often used in conversation because it acts as a subtle transition for someone to contribute their own perspective. It's innocent and feels natural. The problem is that it signals disagreement which can make someone feel the need to defend their original idea.

It doesn't seem like one tiny word could create a communication barrier, but the friction builds up and it's counterproductive.

In the world of improv, performers use the YES, AND... technique for collaborative creation. It generates momentum and keeps ideas flowing.

Saying "yes" validates someone's thought, and saying "and..." sets you up to offer an additional perspective while maintaining a sense of teamwork.

Brainstorming: Legos vs Jenga

Using the YES, AND... technique is like building with legos. Someone contributes one idea, and you build upon it by saying "yes, and we could also...", and before you know it, you've crafted a creative lego structure made of diverse thoughts.

Conversely, if participants gravitate toward saying BUT, your brainstorming session is more like Jenga where you chip away at the conversation until it collapses into an unproductive mess.

The next time you're in a meeting where the intent is to be creative and unleash ideas, try the YES, AND... technique. At the start of the session, you could have everyone agree to try it.

And it's not just a matter of using different words; what's more important is the mindset shift. When brainstorming: play Legos, not Jenga.

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