A business presentation is just getting started. The salesperson turns to the first slide and says: “Good morning! My name is John Smith and I would like to tell you a few words about our company.” After such an introduction, we already know how this presentation will go and that nothing will surprise us. We’ll be bored for the next half hour...

Creative thinking techniques

This is how many salespeople run their sales presentations. Some understand that this doesn’t increase their chance of making a sale, but they don’t have any creative ideas to attract the audience’s attention. How can you incorporate creative thinking into your work? Here are some proven techniques that can help you come up with interesting ideas.

Don’t leave your mind empty

To come up with creative ideas, you need to regularly fill your mind with valuable information. That means that in order to be more creative, you need to go on an ‘information diet’. Unfortunately, most TV and radio programs are just for entertainment, and there is little valuable content in them, so they aren’t a good source of stimulation. Instead of watching TV, it’s better to reach for a book, and instead of listening to the radio, it’s better to download a few podcasts. Nobody comes up with creative ideas in a vacuum. They most often appear when our mind is processing information we’ve acquired. Therefore, we should consistently search for and consume new information. With time, I’ve noticed that the less time I spend watching TV and listening to the radio, and the more books and podcasts I consume, the more often I come up with interesting ideas and catch interesting topics that I can later use in sales.

Write down your ideas

You’ve probably come up with an idea that seemed interesting more than once. Most likely, however, you didn’t bother to write it down - you were sure that you would remember it. The reality, however, is that by noon it’s extremely difficult for us to remember what we came up with in the morning, and by the next day we usually can’t remember anything.

In the book Getting Things Gone, David Allen points out that our short-term memory resembles a computer’s RAM - it can store only a limited amount of information. If you make sure to regularly free up the available space in your mental RAM, then the quality of your brain will improve and you will start to come up with better and more interesting ideas, because your memory won’t be overloaded with information.

The easiest way to regularly clean up your RAM is simply to write down everything that comes to your mind and what you think is interesting. In 2011, I purchased a regular school notebook that I used to write down ideas. I was amazed with the results. Since then, I’ve filled up four notebooks. What do I write down? Interesting ideas that I read about in a book or hear in an audiobook or podcast, things I observed on the street, in the supermarket, or while watching a movie. Ideas that came to my mind, seemingly for no reason - probably because I don’t keep creative ideas in my head; after writing them down, I allow myself to forget them, because I know they are already in a safe place. If you want to do something quickly and cheaply to improve your own creative thinking, get a school notebook as soon as possible and write down the first interesting idea that comes to your mind.

What should you do when your notebook isn’t within reach? Here’s some simple advice: a mobile phone. Nowadays, every smartphone is equipped with a voice recorder, and if you don’t like the one that comes with your phone, you can install another one, such as Smart Voice Recorder. They allow you to take voice noise while driving a car, riding a bike, or walking. All you have to do is go through your recordings once a week and write down all or some of your notes.

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