Top benefits of sticky note activities

If you’ve never done it before, writing ideas down on sticky notes and then putting them up on a wall can feel not only uncomfortable, but also like a waste of time. Even I was dubious of this way of working the first time I was introduced to it. Why not just say ideas out loud, or better yet just start working on something?

These days though, sticky note activities are my favorite thing to use to help teams collaborate better. So what changed me from a sticky note skeptic to a believer?

Two benefits of sticky note activities:

1. Allow everyone to be heard

In a traditional meeting context, everyone is speaking their thoughts, ideas, or feedback aloud. Every group has those one or two outspoken people who are always the first to jump in with their thoughts. While this isn’t inherently bad, it can prevent the people who are quieter or who need more time to collect their thoughts from sharing. Over time, this means that the group is only making decisions based on a few people’s opinions, and other team members may get frustrated or resentful.

Every type of sticky note activity begins with the group silently writing their thoughts or feedback down. Only after that time is up do people discuss the ideas aloud. This gives people more time to think through what they want to say, which results in better thoughts from everyone. Once the sticky notes are put up, everyone has the chance to read all the thoughts, ensuring that all voices are heard.

2. Visualize feedback

Another challenge with typical meetings where everything is verbal is that it’s up to individuals to remember what was said before. It’s highly likely that different people will remember or fixate on different points, or that someone will misunderstand a point and lead the group down a tangent. This makes it nearly impossible to make effective decisions or end the meeting with actions or outcomes. This leads to misalignment, tasks not getting completed, and eventually projects going off the rails.

When everyone can all see the ideas or feedback visually, nobody has to remember it all. The group can then group similar thoughts, and identify top items. Top items can be moved to a separate place where the group can then look at them to ensure that everything is captured. This makes it easy to prioritize items, make decisions, and assign action moving forward.

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