A great teamwork speaker can help you strengthen your team, increase your corporate competitiveness, and position your company for the next big thing.
To make the most of these opportunities, it is necessary that you choose the right teamwork speaker for your organization. Unfortunately, not everyone has a good experience in dealing with many teamwork speakers.
A common complain is the lack of impact.
Nobody can explain the ROI for inviting a teamwork speaker. Of course, you must have heard of the reasoning that “soft” skills cannot be measured. That is wrong in multiple levels.
I will not discuss today how to measure the impact or the ROI of inviting a teamwork speaker. What I will do is to tell you why many HR managers fail to get the right teamwork speaker and how to remedy this problem. Later, I will give you suggestions on how to get a great teamwork speaker.
Listen to this: the problem usually begins with those who invite the speakers.
A Teamwork Speaker Who Doesn’t Know What You Want —
No Matter How Motivational He Is — Cannot Help You.
“We have a business meeting two days from now, and we need a speaker on teamwork”
“Why do you need a speaker who will talk about teamwork?”
“Because we do it every year.”
“What do you mean? You invite a speaker to talk about teamwork every year?”
“And have you seen any improvement? Have you met your objectives? Do you have better teams now?”
“I do not know sir. But for the last three years, our resource speakers lectured for 2 hours. We were bored to death. This is why we want a motivational speaker who will talk about teamwork this year?”
“What made you think that a motivational speaker can help you?”
“I do not know sir, but my boss told me to find one? Are you available sir?
“I will be available in 30 days, but I am not sure I can help you.”
Most professional speakers have experienced this conversation. Those who are inviting them do not know the purpose of the invitation — aside from the fact that they need someone who will talk about teamwork.
Anyone who wants to earn easy money will talk about teamwork, anytime, even without any preparation. Any speaker who will accept an invitation without understanding the need of the audience serves only his or her interest. No matter how “motivational” he is, he does not speak to help you.
Before You Invite A Team Building Speaker
Be Certain that You Really Need a Team Building Speaker
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the responsibility to build the team is upon the team leader. If your team leaders are not effective communicators, train them to become effective communicators. Let them tell your team story. Encourage them to paint picture of your team.
Teach your supervisors to speak.
Teach your managers to speak.
Teach your CEOs to speak.
And encourage a teamwork culture.
No teamwork speaker can cure a company with a broken team spirit.
If Ever You Really Need to Hire a Team Building Speaker
Do So Only to Support Your Business Goals
Do it right the first time.
Don’t waste your money and effort on something that will not bring a return on your investment. Be wiser. You build a team to achieve your business goals, and therefore, every speech or workshop or seminar or group activities must serve your specific team purpose.
If you are not clear about the purpose of your team or of your team building efforts, it is best not to get a team building speaker this time.
Instead, seek the help of your human resource department. Most of the times, they can help you.
Go back to the drawing board. Align your team objectives to your team strategies.
If your HR department lacks the experience to help you, contact me. I will tell you what you need to hear.
We Really Need to Get a Team Building Speaker —
Should We Require Him to Speak About a Specific Need?
A professional speaker will speak with understanding. He will most likely get information from you. He will ask you what you want, and he will be ready to tell you — after assessment– what you really need.
Yes, you can tell the speaker about your specific challenge. Find the speaker who is the right fit to your company.
Understand that there are speakers who cannot speak outside their pet topics. They will do all acrobatic acts to find a link between your problem and their pet topics. Think twice.
Every good speaker needs time to prepare.
I still do not know how other speakers can deliver 24 speech topics in a one month. Maybe they have researchers interviewing participants and digging solutions while they speak.
But someone who does not have the time to craft a speech unique to your situation and problem will find it difficult to serve you well.
If you will use the form in my website, you will observe that I ask preliminary questions. I need your answers to these questions before I can agree to work with you.
And I will ask more during our initial meeting. Then I will try to convince you to allow me to speak to some of the participants because I want to fully understand your business.
This is my style. And this is why I avoid daily speaking engagements. I value each client like a gem.
Jef, Can You Give Sample Speech Topics
We Can Ask Team Building Speakers to Deliver to Us?
Your objectives will define the speech topics.
However, I will assume that you still do not have ideas as to what really contribute to “teamwork” or “team building”. Briefly, I will describe to you some of the teamwork topics that you can assign to your speaker.
Accountability. It is typical for team members to play blame games. For many companies in the Philippines, the “accountable person” is the team member who should take all the blame.
Accountability is not about who to blame when problems come. It is a call to be “counted”, to volunteer, to take responsibility, and recognize the importance of your work to the success of others.
Trust. I can tell you six elements of team trust. These are confidence, competence, compassion, congruency, communication, and consistency. Without trust, no team building efforts will ever succeed.
But there is no need to talk about trust if this is not the problem of your team. I suggest that you use some tools to determine the culture of trust in your organization. Then get a speaker to talk about specific steps to encourage a trusting culture.
Conflict (or the Fear of Conflict). Most of the times this need a full-blown retreat or a coaching program. But conflict is ever present in teams especially with teams composed of high flyers. This is not a worry among low flyers.
A simple survey can help you zero in on the cause of conflict: lack of trust, misaligned or unclear goals, undefined roles, unclear communication lines, decision making process and others.
The objective of your speaker is not only to encourage people to embrace conflict. Your speaker must be able to show how to address specific causes of team conflict and the steps everyone must take to master (or at least manage) conflict in the workplace.
Improving Performance by Clarifying and Setting High Goals. I have discovered that many team members find it difficult to achieve team goals because leaders fail to clarify goals and excite teams to achieve goals. Of course, the better step is for you to teach team leaders how to clarify team goals.
Defining Team Roles. Frankly, I need one-day full-blown team building workshop to do run this with your team. However, if your team building speaker will address your team leaders, tell him to show simple and specific steps to clarify team roles. Hint: find out how to make a team charter and some ideas on one page management which is a lot simpler than most key performance indicators templates.
In a full-blown workshop, you have to put together the following : Goals, Roles, Communication, and Decision Making.
Team Communication. There are thousands of topics on communication. So be specific. Do you want your speaker to teach your team interpersonal communication, collaborative communication, or assertive communication?
Do you want them to have more confidence in communicating with clients, with bosses, with suppliers, or with each other?
Team Customer Service. Most customer service training programs focused on individuals serving customers. Training teams how to serve customers is ten times better.
The mindset is different and the standards are higher. This is more in the private sector than in government agencies.
There can be hundred more topics that I can include here. Each one addresses specific team issues, problems, or challenges.
You can talk about team excellence, team execution, team problem-solving, team respect, team agility, team change, team flexibility, team performance, team innovation and others.
Among Filipinos, one powerful topics are excellence and malasakit. I usually put these two together.
Filipinos are emotional people and I think that is very positive. Emotion is energy in motion. Emotions, not logic or statistics or arguments, move people. And Filipinos with malasakit are team players.
You say: “Thank you Jef for sharing all these ideas. We have more concern and we know you can help us.”
I say: “Shoot your question and I will see if I have something significant to say”.
How Often Should We Invite a Team Building Speaker —
Yearly, Twice A Year, Or Every Month?
Whenever you need them.
Not whenever you have an event.
Your need should be the only reason why you must invite a team building speaker. Remember, I told you that your team leaders can do better if you will train them in team leadership.
Do you need a speaker every month? I think some companies find it practical to invite a team building speaker every month. These companies have already mapped out the solutions they want from the speaker. They have already explored other options and they find that inviting a team building speaker is the most practical and the fastest way to improve their teams.
However, 99.9 percent of teams out there are clueless. To invite a clueless motivational speaker to motivate your clueless people is a waste of time and opportunity — and that is the surest way to demotivate your people.
When You Really Need A Team Building Speaker,
You Must Make Him Speak During the Most Appropriate Event
Let me tell you where I think I have the better opportunity to speak about teamwork and all the other components of team development.
I can speak in Flag Ceremonies. Most organizations have weekly flag ceremonies. Others invite a speaker every month. You can give a speaker like me 15 to 30 minutes. If your company is in the Laguna area, contact me a week or two before your event. Tell me everything I need to know. Get someone to fetch me and to bring me back to my cave afterwards.
You can make your team building speaker share ideas before your crises management seminars. Inspire team spirit because crises management is a team effort.
Make him speak before you conduct your strategic or business planning. Most of these sessions are on numbers. It is more effective to remind them that you are planning and strategizing not just for profits but for people. And your people are the makers of your success.
Make him speak during your anniversaries. Excellent teamwork speakers know precisely how to recognize the efforts given by everyone to make things happen. Of course, he is not there to replace the inspirational speech of the CEO or the Chairman of the Board.
A talk on personal excellence is good. A talk on team excellence is always better. Make the most of every event to address your teamwork goals.
Having said that. Let your award giving be more on team performance than individual performance.
You can invite your team building speaker to your team meetings. I know of managers who meet for at least two hours almost every day. On some days, bring together your employees to listen to a speaker.
I can share with you more speaking occasions but I have to stop here. I am sure you got my point. Our imagination is our limit.