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Want Better Group Brainstorming? Embarrass Yourself First

Sharing a story like this makes the entire group less inhibited.

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lady holds face embarassed

Want to improve the quality of ideas produced at your annual strategic retreat? Try this: At the start of your meeting, ask everyone to tell an embarrassing story about themselves. It doesn’t have to be life-changing or even work-related. It could be the time they went up on stage to receive a school prize with their fly undone or their neighbors spied them dancing to “Ice Ice Baby” in front of the TV. According to Leigh Thompson at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, such sharing seems to reduce inhibitions, which makes it more likely new and novel ideas will flow. It could also be that by increasing your vulnerability, you become more likable and thus everyone else in the room becomes more amenable to supporting or building on your suggestions or prompts.

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Put Your Trust in Wilkerson

To do business successfully with anyone, you need a certain “comfort level.” That’s something that Phillips Pitts, owner of two Parris Jewelers stores in Hattiesburg, Miss., said he felt immediately when he first talked to Wilkerson’s Rick Hayes. He was just about to launch an anniversary sale. And he chose Wilkerson to handle all the details — from the marketing to the sales floor. “Rick cared what was going to happen to Parris Jewelers,” says Pitts. “Not just during the sale but after the sale.” Would he recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers contemplating a large-scale sale? Absolutely, says Pitts, who says the results “exceeded their expectations.” His trust in Wilkerson has only grown after the numbers came in. “They were interested in me fulfilling and what I need to fulfill to make my company better.”

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