Most people are either dominantly critical thinkers or dominantly creative thinkers. Event planners must be both.
Critical thinking is analytical and objective. They look for answers in linear thinking and logic. They are quick to say “Yes, but…” Event planners who are good critical thinkers are problem solvers, an excellent trait in dealing with any conference.
But creative thinking is just as important. Creative thinking involves lateral and subjective. The critical thinker suspends judgement in order to brainstorm all answers. They speculate and use their intuition. They are quick to say, “Yes, and…”
Developing both ways to think is vital to doing the job of event planning well. But creative thinking can often be sharpened and developed by certain tasks. Here are 5 of them:
1. Use your nose.
Certain smells have been linked to increased creativity, including cinnamon and vanilla. While brainstorming for your next conference, light a scented candle. If you are trying to make a list of possible topics for a keynote, walk to your spice cabinet and take a long, deliberate whiff.
2. Write by hand.
When you write by hand, you give a bit of permanence to your thoughts. When we type or scribble on an electronic device, our thoughts can be easily discarded just by a double click. So take a yellow writing pad and let your mind go. Use a pen or pencil and capture ideas. The process will stir your creativity.
3. Keep an Idea Book.
We all get ideas from time to time and it has no baring as to where we are. It might be the shower, in bed, or in the car. Since great ideas come unexpectedly, it’s vital to write them down so you won’t forget. An idea book can hold thoughts, bits of wisdom you hear, observations and quotes. Get a small book that you can put in a pocket or a purse and take it with you everywhere. Some of your best ideas for your next conference will pop up and they won’t have a chance to float away.
4. Write a list of 100.
Luciano Passuell, founder of the website Liteminds advocates creating a list of 100. It is a simple exercise in which you write a question or issue at the top of a page and then write 100 answers or solutions. The benefit according to Passuell is that “…your subconscious starts to engage in the process, ideas start flowing and you uncover new and surprising answers." Passuell also encourages you to:
- Don’t judge or evaluate ideas; you’ll review them later.
- Don’t write complete words or sentences, if that slows you down.
- Don’t stop to wonder how far in the list you are; number the lines from 1 to 100 in advance or use numbered lists if you’re using a word processor.
- Don’t worry too much about repeating entries; duplicates can shed light on your patterns of thought.
5. Create a Vision Board.
This is an effective activity for an event planner. A vision board is made up of mostly pictures that create a type of image for a certain event. Creating a vision board for your next conference can be the beginning of some wonderfully creative ideas. It is a way to identify your goals and possible solutions to problems that might arise. Read a great article by Christine Kane on how to make a vision board at http://christinekane.com/how-to-make-a-vision-board/#sthash.iNO5AzHG.uiuotyNc.dpb.
Taking time to invest in your creative thinking skills will make you a better event planner and a better thinker overall. It will also lead to more enjoyable and rewarding events for your guests.