Idea generation techniques: brainstorming

Lesson plan overview

This Business English lesson plan is about idea generation techniques, and effective brainstorming in particular. It is most suitable for B2 level students due to the speed of the video. Students will discuss topics such as creativity, new ideas, idea generation, innovation, and brainstorming. You can combine it with the following lessons: “Can limits boost creativity”, “Business meetings: getting your point across”, “Phrasal verbs: change and innovation”, “Phrasal verbs: new ideas“,  “Idioms: critical thinking and analysing”, “Phrasal verbs: convincing and persuading”, and “Phrasal verbs: solving problems”.

Speaking: The lesson starts with 2 speaking activities. First, students play the “Yes, and …” game, where they need to add to their partner’s idea. Then, they complete a survey about idea generation and discuss their answers with a partner.

Vocabulary: Students work on word formation with the suffix -ity (novelty, originality, feasibility, creativity, practicality) and then discuss what characteristics make an idea successful.

Video: Students watch a video “The trick to successful brainstorming”. The speaker speaks quite fast, so it will be most suitable for B2 level students. Students complete 3 different listening activities. After that, they engage in a post-listening discussion.

Reading: Students read a conversation from a brainstorming business meeting and put different expressions from the text into the correct functional language category (introducing your idea, building on someone else’s idea, adding variations or alternatives, expressing agreement, expressing caution, encouraging participation). After that, as a practice task, they are asked to replace the expressions in the text with an alternative expression.

Speaking: Finally, students are given different scenarios they need to brainstorm ideas or solutions to.

The conversation cards provide additional speaking opportunities as well as a way to review the target vocabulary from this lesson. 

You can combine this lesson with other lessons about business and communication skills, idea generation, and innovation. 

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

In many organisations, they use brainstorming sessions or brainstorming techniques to help them generate new ideas.
Because many times introverts will want to kind of work through their ideas on their own before bringing it to the group.
At the end of the session, I would also encourage you to start to prioritise some of these in whichever way you feel is right for your organisation.

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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