10 Rules to Keep Creative Meetings Creative

There’s nothing worse than a creative meeting that destroys creativity.

I’ve seen this happen. I’ve caused it to happen.

Whether you’re a business leader hoping to improve a product design or a pastor designing a church service experience, opening the creative funnel is required to leverage a team’s creativity. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to limit creativity than create space for it.

How can you ensure creativity remains present in your creative meetings?

Try establishing creative team meeting rules. These rules aren’t suggestions but guardrails to ensure you or another team member don’t eliminate creativity.

10 Creative Meeting Rules

  1. Don’t kill a bad idea too soon. Bad ideas often birth spectacular breakthroughs. There are no bad ideas at the beginning of the process. Yes, there are bad ideas for sure. Any bad idea that makes it to implementation is a mistake. This is a “creative meeting,” not an “execution planning session,” therefore, bad ideas are allowed.
  2. Stick to “wow,” not “how.” Early logistics and “how” conversations kill potential ideas, including great ideas. There will be a time to discuss what’s achievable, but the purpose of this meeting is different. If “how” conversations are allowed in the creative meeting, great ideas get killed without sufficient time to discover implementation options.
  3. No dismissing ideas, but you can “plus” them. “Plussing “an idea means taking a suggestion and adding more creative energy to it. Plussing does not mean discounting. You plus when you add more value to an initial idea.
  4. You gotta wear your “big boy pants.” Safe conversations lead to unfiltered conversations. Creative meetings must remove all filters to ensure the best ideas come forward. We don’t have room in a creative forum to protect egos.
  5. Pay attention to how much you listen. This is especially true if you’re the team lead. Your words weigh the most, and that weight can squelch everything else.
  6. Make failure acceptable. If failure elicits retaliation, failure ceases to be an option. Imagine a creative meeting where only safe ideas are allowed. My guess is that meeting won’t be very creative.
  7. Manage expectations. If creativity isn’t flowing, don’t force it. There are times when creative ideas seem unlimited and other times when the creative silence feels defining. The conversation is the goal.
  8. Change it up when the meeting gets stuck. This may sound silly, but change chairs. Or go for a walk around the building. Or get some coffee (that’s my favorite). It’s amazing how a change of scenery changes our mindset.
  9. Be patient. The definitive idea will make itself known at some point. If you are patient, the idea will eventually reach the meeting.
  10. Remain open-handed. Anyone entering a creative meeting already prepared to defend their great idea shouldn’t attend the meeting. Creative meetings aren’t debates. It’s great to bring ideas, but we must remember they are only our ideas, not the idea.


Whether you’re a team leader or a meeting participant, it’s essential to establish and maintain some rules that protect the purpose of creative meetings.

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