Assign Homework Before Meetings

How can you coax creative ideas and input from meeting attendees?

The key is to have them prepare before the meeting. Make sure they have all the background they need to hit the ground running. Withholding information until the meeting will only slow the group down. A few best practices:

  • Highlight what’s important. If background material is long, flag or highlight key parts of the documents. Avoid overload.
  • Provide a “brain dump” memo that lists everything you know about the issue at hand. Include background on products, the marketplace and current competition. That allows the group to digest information and do some creative thinking in advance.
  • Assign homework. For example, challenge all participants to bring three solutions to the problem being discussed. Or, to start a meeting on a positive note, have all participants recall their biggest success since the last meeting, and ask one person to share a success with the group. The benefit: The practice generates excitement and involvement from participants.


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