As an event planner, you’ve got a lot on your mind. You have marketing campaigns to run, venues to book, and sponsors to secure. For all these details to come together, sometimes you need a perfect storm — a brainstorm.
Sitting down and hashing out your event plan, alone or with your team, is one of the best ways to problem-solve. Use brainstorming to develop marketing campaigns, delegate tasks, and determine which services can be outsourced. Read on to learn more about how brainstorming sessions can help you weather the challenges of event planning.
Brainstorming tip #1: Find the right space
Before you begin brainstorming, make sure you’re in a comfortable environment. If you’re brainstorming solo, try to find a quiet place with ample elbow room and make sure you have pen and paper. Not interested in writing everything down by hand? Grab your laptop, but keep the pen and paper in case you feel the urge to draw something out.
If you’re working with a team, grab an open room, a handful of writing utensils, paper, and post-its, and get to work! You may find it difficult to get everyone in the same place at the same time. If so, free video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts and Skype make remote collaboration a breeze. Before your begin, create a shared storage space, like a Google Drive or Dropbox folder, for future reference.
Brainstorming tip #2: Map it out
You’re ready to brainstorm, but where should you start? The simplest method — writing your thoughts down on a piece of paper — may also be the most effective. Researchers at UCLA and Princeton found that “compared with those who type their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas.” Even with the most advanced digital tools at our fingertips, sometimes the best way to brainstorm is to grab a pen and get writing.
One of the most popular methodologies for written brainstorming is called “mind mapping.” To try it yourself, jot down a single, central concept to explore. Then, “map” out your thoughts as they relate to this concept, drawing lines to connect ideas. Mind mapping in an excellent way to explore or tidy up your thoughts, and it works really well as a group activity, especially if you have a whiteboard available.
If you prefer to create a digital mind map, use the free service Canva to whip up a visually-compelling map in minutes. Then, download the mind map to share with your event team. You can check out a sample mind map made with Canva below.
Regardless of what medium you choose for writing your event brainstorm, your thoughts will need to be readily accessible to you and your team long after you clear the whiteboard. Remember that shared Google Drive or Dropbox folder you created? Time to make use of it!
To ensure that your written ideas don’t get lost in a sea of paper or eraser dust, take a photo of your work. Then, use the Scannable app to automatically turn that photo into a high-quality scan and add it to your shared folder. If you’ve written notes on your computer or created a digital mind map, be sure to save those to the shared folder, too.
Brainstorming tip #3: Moodboard your event
If you’re looking to use different types of media in your brainstorming, like photos, infographics, or diagrams, you’ll want to brainstorm using digital tools. You’ve probably heard of Pinterest, but have you ever used it for event planning? On Pinterest, you’ll find a wide range of content, including posts geared towards planners like you. For example, to find samples of “centerpieces” or “corporate events decor” simply type these keywords into Pinterest’s search bar for pages of inspiration.
Pinterest is especially helpful if you’re working with a client or team. To make sure that you’re all on the same page, create a board for the event you’re working on and ask your client or your team to send you photos and other media to pin on it.
Then, use this board as a reference guide while planning the event together. With Pinterest, your boards are automatically public, so be sure to create a “private” board if you’re working on a project that requires discretion.
If you’re looking for an even more customised moodboard experience, Canva has moodboarding capabilities, too. Just upload photos to your account and arrange them in a new, blank document to create a moodboard. Interested in getting your whole team involved in the process? Try Niice for more advanced, team-based boards.
Capturing your ideas is the first step in organising an event. If you’d like a useful framework for shaping your brainstorming discussions, then check out our simple event planning canvas with free downloadable template.