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5 Ways Virtual Brainstorms Suck (and 1 way to overcome it!)

More and more managers complain to me that their virtual brainstorms suck, and they can’t get people to engage. Here are the top 5 reasons I hear.


  1. People show up distracted
    • They finish another meeting and get magically transported to a new topic without the time to transition. You start at a disadvantage.
  2. Topic but no clear goal
    • The conversation meanders, there’s no clear progress and people disengage.
  3. Silence!
    • You ask a question, and there’s…. nothing. Most often people aren’t trying to be mean—they’re just not confident they have something good to say. 
  4. The extroverts save the day
    • And everyone else cheers inside as they don’t have to talk. What’s the point again of having everyone in this meeting?
  5. Tech steals attention
    • Slack/texting/etc make unending dopamine hits - good luck overcoming that with your conversation topic. 



Step 1: Think

  • What: pick a clear goal, then have each person write ideas on their own for 5 minutes (while you play music)
  • Why: each participant is accountable for solo work. Helps introverts collect thoughts and gain confidence to share. 

Step 2: Pair

  • What: create breakout rooms of 2-3 people where they share and build on their solo thinking (10 minutes)
  • Why: there is nowhere to hide in a pair—you must engage! Helps the best ideas rise to the top before sharing with the whole group. 

Step 3: Share

  • What: Close the breakout rooms. Everyone shares their ideas one at a time, followed by a whole group discussion. (15 minutes)
  • Why: you’ll have an engaged, lively discussion with way better ideas. 

That’s a tight 30 minute agenda:

  • Think: 5 minutes
  • Pair: 10 minutes
  • Share: 15 minutes

Have fun mining your team’s intelligence! I promise it will feel great when people start sharing ideas. Comment below and let us know how it went!

Need help facilitating your next virtual brainstorm? Funmentum Labs is here to help!