Brainstorming is a widely used problem-solving tool. It encourages participants to use their imaginations and be creative. It helps elicit many solutions to any given problem or task. When the membership buys into the decision of the group and participates in the decision-making process, a successful PTA year is more likely.

A good brainstorming session should last 15-20 minutes. Have plenty of large paper, marking pens, and masking tape on hand. Divide into small groups — no more than 11 to a group. One person should serve as recorder.

The brainstorming “task” or “problem” should be listed at the top of the paper for each small group. Based on the Purposes of the PTA, list the goals and objectives for (unit, council, and district PTA) for the coming year.

Everyone participates—including the president.
Participants throw out their ideas to accomplish the task or goal.
Recorder lists all ideas.
Do not discuss. Do not pre-judge.
Repetition is okay.
Encourage participation by all members.
Enjoy silences. It means everyone is thinking.

After the group has generated a list of ideas, reorganize those ideas that are similar or related. Have the group go over the list, applying critical and careful judgments to arrive at the group goal. Is the goal feasible and within available resources? Does it fit within the Purposes and basic policies of the PTA?

To help arrive at consensus, the members indicate their top three choices: 3 points for 1st choice; 2 points for 2nd choice; 1 point for 3rd choice. Tally points for each category. The idea with the most points becomes the group’s choice.

Remember, achievement of a goal (a desired outcome to be achieved) often requires the completion of several objectives (Develop an Action Plan; Event Planning Worksheet).

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