There are plenty of opportunities to flex your creative muscles in the communications game — after all, it’s our job to tell great stories.
But that doesn’t mean that you won’t fall victim to boredom or hit a creative block.
As John Cleese once said, creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating. You have to make a habit of it. It takes time to adjust, but here are a couple of tips that will help you be more creative at work.
1. Get out of the office
Taking a walk or jogging during your lunch break is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. The repetition and distraction will help you subconsciously brainstorm solutions to a particularly jammy problem.
It is also better for your health to get away from the desk and spend some time outdoors.
If you find you are spending long hours shackled to your computer, something is wrong. In order to keep your creative muscles in top form, you have to have a clear cut-off point between work and ‘me’ time. Unless you have an important deadline looming on the horizon, working overtime shouldn’t be worn as a badge of honour.
2. Seek inspiration
Every great artist spends hours perusing picture books and roaming galleries, sketching and re-sketching the works of their favourite artists.
It is important to revisit sources of inspiration. It could be a blog or magazine that you love, or perhaps there’s a series of films that boost your morale.
You should also try something different—why not listen to a podcast about finance? I recommend Planet Money. It’s a show about economics — it’s always wildly entertaining and inspiring, no matter what your interests are.
A couple of years ago, I interviewed the Austrian filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer. He’d just released Alphabet, a documentary about playing and education. He stressed the importance of playing in education.
“The schools of the future will be places where the children gather together in the morning to create a project,” he said. “The teachers will not be like trainers — they will be accompanists.”
Making time to play is important if we want to equip ourselves with the skills to solve problems in the future. Why do you think adult colouring books are dominating non-fiction bestsellers’ lists?
Turn your morning meetings into a game. Riff out ideas in the style of the Name Game. It’s okay to have fun when you are working on a project. In fact, playing humorous games will really help your team bond.
4. Keep your ideas in a notebook
When Leonard Cohen is writing a poem and lyric, he jots down absolutely everything, even the lines he knows won’t make the final edit.
It’s important to get all of your ideas onto paper, no matter how small or insignificant they seem.
Being able to explain your ideas and tease them out will also help improve your communications skills.
Everyone can draw. Cartoonist Graham Hall proves this in his TED Talk video (below).
Drawing is one of the earliest forms of communication. Being able to explain your ideas visually will help with your creative process. Even just a few squiggly lines can spark an idea.
Share your creative tips with us — @mediahqnews.
MediaHQ offers a host of bespoke packages for your PR team or organisation, including a course on unlocking creativity. To find out more or to get a quote, call Gaye on 01 254 1845.
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Conor – @conormcmahon