Brainstorming and Problem Solving

Although brainstorming and problem solving typically occur in face-to-face meetings, we can use email to help with these activities. For instance, suppose you have a large group of people who want to help work on the problem in the dorm or Greek house. Getting all those people together might be a scheduling nightmare, and some people might decide not to help because of the inconvenient meeting time.

By asking everyone to send you views of the problem and two or three possible solutions over email, you can organize a draft proposal to circulate to everyone. You might include the three or four most commonly cited solutions to the problem. By getting possible solutions in front of concerned people before you meet, you can make more progress when you convene a face-to-face meeting.

Brainstorming to Meet a Deadline

Another common way of using email also leads to brainstorming and problem solving. Say you know a deadline is approaching but you haven't yet been able to gather all the information you need for a project that's due. If you use email to alert the people expecting the project (your boss or co-workers, a conference organizer, a printer, your teacher), you can explain in advance what the problem is and how you're trying to solve it. Often, you'll get responses that will help you with your problem (including a change in deadline or more resources).

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