Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Principles of Effective Teamwork

Teamwork is an important factor that determines the success of any entity. So much has been written about teamwork that sometimes individuals know the theory, but fail to put it into practice. If you have been associated with the task of recruiting candidates for your organization, you would have seen applicants enlisting 'an ability to work in a team' or 'teamwork' as one of their attributes in their resume. But, the fact is that teamwork as a quality has been used so languidly over the years that in some cases, it has ceased to be what it stands for and has rather become a cliché. So, it is important to remember for everyone that rattling off the theory would do no good unless and until it is put into practice. We will give you a primer on the principles that lay the foundation of building a strong team with the hope that you will try to inculcate these principles to achieve the desired results.

Teamwork Principles

  • One of the first principles of an effective teamwork is that while a team is formed, there should be a clarity as to what the team wants to achieve. It is important that you view the team as an entity and have clearly articulated goals in place. In the absence of an objective, the team members may not be able to understand their responsibilities, which can cause ambiguity.
  • The team members should be willing to learn from each other. There may be some members who may be excellent with the process, while some may require some time and guidance, so it is essential that there is a willingness to teach and learn new ideas. Team members should not be hesitant in seeking help from the senior members of the team and the senior members, should in turn step forward to help the new members.
  • There should be a two-way communication among team members about the roles that they are assigned,

4 Simple Ideas to grab and keep your Audience's Attention during your Presentation

1. Make it interesting!

Well, this is an obvious one, but did you know, that the attention span of the audience goes down after about 10 minutes? In order to keep the audience listening to you, it might be a good idea to add something fresh, new and/or eye-opening every 10-15 minutes to your presentation. Try to have this in the back of your head while preparing the presentation and plan accordingly. You might want to add a short video clip, a shocking statistic or an emotional image or see point 2.

2. Make it interactive!

Creating interaction with the audience will make the audience part of the presentation experience and it makes them more active. Asking simple questions in the beginning loosens up the audience members a bit. Asking simple questions in the beginning can also give you the chance to assess your audience. Maybe you wanted to explain to them how to use Twitter and when asking "Who here uses Twitter?", 90% of the people raise their hands and 2 of them shout "We just relased an iPhone Twitter app!" then you still have a slight chance to avert disaster (though you should avoid this sort of mis-understanding when possible!!)

3. Make it suspenseful!

Suspense is awesome. Steve Jobs is a genius in this area. I'm always excited when he does a talk. Granted, it's partially because of the cool products, but he knows how to build up the presentation and keep people's attention. He would usually start with background information of the company and its products' success in the past and slowly build-up the talk towards the highlight (which is usually a new product or a new version of a product). Once he gets to the product, he doesn't just say what it is, but would first let the audience know about the need for a product such as this. He would explain that something like this has been missing. He might even compare other products first, stating that they still have their flaws. And once the audience is "hungry", only then would he show the product. Awesome!

4. Tell me something I don't already know!

3 Strategies For Managing Public Speaking Anxiety

Mark Twain once said, “There are two kinds of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.” In other words, no matter how seasoned or “under-seasoned” you are when it comes to making presentations, there is going to be some particular audience, some particular topic, some particularly poor timing or something else in particular that is going to give you some sleepless nights and a queasy stomach in the morning.

I know this firsthand. I've been a professional speaker and communications coach for over 20 years, so when a client of mine offered me the incredible opportunity to present a keynote address on customer service to more than 2,000 financial-service professionals, nobody was more surprised than I was to hear these words leak out of my mouth, “Uh, no thanks.”

Was it the topic? Nope--I know customer service in my sleep. Was it the audience? No, I had plenty of experience working with financial service professionals. Was it the prep time? Hardly. I had six months' advance notice.

What was it? It was the fact that I was used to speaking to groups of a few dozen to a few hundred people, and the idea of speaking to thousands felt overwhelming. Impossible. Nauseating.

Of course, I ended up accepting the assignment (“I was just joking with you,” I lied). And the feedback was excellent (she added, humbly). But the most important takeaway I got from that experience is that Mark Twain had it right: Everyone has his or her own special source of stress when it comes to speaking in public.

It doesn’t matter if you’re presenting to two people or to 2,000 people: When presentation anxiety strikes, you need some strategies to get you out of your own head and on to the stage with confidence, polish, and professionalism. And I don’t know about you, but the old adage “picture them in their underwear” doesn’t cut it for me. In fact, I can’t think of too many things that would make me more nervous than imagining the human resources director crashing our “underwear only” meeting.

In James L. Brooks’ Oscar-nominated film Broadcast News, Albert Brooks’s neurotic newscaster (who suffered from a drenching case of on-air flop sweat) asked, "Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive?”

Until that happens, here are three better strategies for managing your anxiety when it’s time for you to take the stage:

1. Exercise that morning

[VIDEO] Tips for Public speaking and Presentation skills

Want to motivate your team? Here are 20 things to start doing now

For as long as I can remember, the idea of abandoning permanent employment and striking out on one’s own has been a popular topic in water cooler conversations among the technology folks. Typically following the “they don’t get it” or “I’m working for a moron” kind of an assertion, the daydreams of not giving a proverbial rodent’s derriere (I never understood this saying… who’d want it?) and the alluring but exaggerated virtues of tax advantages have driven more than one IT staffer to salivate on the job.

Some moved past daydreaming and became contractors. These folks make a good living and are used to moving on to another gig every few months. Others have left their full-time job and built a viable business - a consultancy, a development shop or just something altogether different.

The economic tribulations and the shrinking pool of employment opportunities of the past three years have led to a couple of different phenomena. There is the forced entrepreneurship by the people who were pushed out of permanent employment and couldn’t find a job. Out comes the Nana’s recipe book and yet another cake shop on the street. Or another “social media expert.”

Then, there’s the opposite. With the economy in the shape it is today, people stay on despite being miserable in their current job; putting bread on the table usually beats “I can’t stand it” hands down. According to recently published research by Mercer: “Nearly one in three (32%) U.S. workers is seriously considering leaving his or her organization at the present time, up sharply from 23% in 2005. Meanwhile, another 21% are not looking to leave but view their employers unfavorably and have rock-bottom scores on key measures of engagement, a term that describes a combination of an employee’s loyalty, commitment and motivation.”

If you’re a leader in charge of people, project these results onto your own group, department or company, and reflect. If you haven’t cringed, you yourself have probably checked out. Clearly, it’s impossible to conduct business successfully in these circumstances.

Is there anything you could do to fix it?

It turns out that you can. I’ll show you how to create a dynamic, exciting, motivating environment in an otherwise unexciting, underperforming or stodgy organization. Think of it as of a lush oasis in the dustiest of deserts.
What motivates?

The study of the forces behind human motivation has occupied the minds of great many thinkers. From the original work of Maslow, McGregor and Herzberg to the recent not-so-original but popular interpretations, the subject hasn’t neglected.

Motivation is intrinsic. It varies from individual to individual and what motivates one person would not move another. There are some commonalities, though:

  •     Money is never a motivator. However, lack of money is a demotivator.
  •     People are motivated by applying their abilities to the fullest. Underutilization is a demotivator.
  •     Most are motivated by work that creates tangible results, especially if those results are born out of innovation, a new approach or a great idea.
  •     Being engaged in decision making, especially around the choices of how to do work, is a great motivator. Being told how to do it, which is far too common, will at best yield mere compliance.
  •     People are motivated by doing work that aligns with their values and beliefs.
  •     Too much stress petrifies. Too little stress leads to sloth, procrastination and the sense of entitlement.

Necessary conditions

Team Communication Strategies

What is a team without coordination... and how can team members coordinate without a team leader? A team leader is a person who leads the team while giving each and every team member the right to be a leader in themselves. He not only possesses good leadership and guidance skills, but is also a good communicator. In the words of James Humes, "The art of communication is the language of leadership." If the team has an effective leader who can communicate the goals and objectives of the team, in synchronization with the goals and objectives of the individual members through effective two way communication, then there is nothing that can stop the team from succeeding. So, what are some effective strategies for fostering good team communication? The next section discusses all this and more...

Why Does a Team Require Effective Communication Strategies?

You would know the answer to this question if you have been a part of a team where there were no effective communication strategies! I was a part of such a team, and let me tell you what it was, to be in that team. The team leader was busy taking care of other "important things". We were told what is expected of us, but I don't remember anyone coming to us team members and asking what we expected of them. There was hardly any "recognition" for your efforts, but if you have not met your targets, there will be a "noticeable discussion" to make you feel that it is because of "you" that the team couldn't win!!!

It is very important to understand that when you are working in a team, as a team leader, there are others who take you as their mentor. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make sure that your "lack of effective communication" shouldn't be the cause of unmet targets and delayed goal completion. From the example I gave you in the previous paragraph, do you think that a team like that would ever prove to be a happy and productive one? Most definitely NOT! Which is why we need effective team communication strategies to channelize all the individual efforts in a team, towards the overall team efficiency and productivity. This will help in the following ways.


[VIDEO] Best motivational video ever for creative people and startups..

7 Tips for Stress-Free, Spectacular Speaking in 2013!

For many people, public speaking is super scary, intimidating, or stressful.

But Forbes recently reported that excellent public speaking is the 

#1 communication skill that will get you promoted and boost professional success.

So add public speaking to your list of goals or resolutions for 2013, and get started today with these 7 helpful tips!

Tip #1: Decide What You Want the Audience to Do

How many presentations have you attended that left you wondering… “Why did I sit through that?” or “What was the point?” To avoid this all-too-common reaction a speaker has to clearly define a purpose for the speech or presentation.

What do you want the audience to think, feel, or act on when you finish speaking?

I know that may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many of my clients can’t answer the question when they first come to me.

Your purpose should be simple and achievable in the limited time you’ve been given to speak. Keep it in mind the entire time you are preparing. If a story or point doesn’t support your purpose, leave it on the cutting room floor.

Tip #2: Figure Out What Will Persuade the Audience to Do It

To convince people to take action, you have to provide reasons that persuade them. The reasons that motivate your audience may or may not be the same things that motivate you. So … Who are they? What do they need to know? What do they need to be convinced of? And, if you convince them, what information will they need to know to answer your call to action?

Any speaker that clearly communicates what the audience should do, and how they should do it will be off to a strong start.

But to convince an audience, you have to connect with them.

Tip #3: Care About the Audience

Top 10 Qualities That Make A Great Leader

Having a great idea, and assembling a team to bring that concept to life is the first step in creating a successful business venture. While finding a new and unique idea is rare enough; the ability to successfully execute this idea is what separates the dreamers from the entrepreneurs. However you see yourself, whatever your age may be, as soon as you make that exciting first hire, you have taken the first steps in becoming a powerful leader. When money is tight, stress levels are high, and the visions of instant success don’t happen like you thought, it’s easy to let those emotions get to you, and thereby your team. Take a breath, calm yourself down, and remind yourself of the leader you are and would like to become. Here are some key qualities that every good leader should possess, and learn to emphasize.


Whatever ethical plane you hold yourself to, when you are responsible for a team of people, its important to raise the bar even higher. Your business and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow suit.

As we do at RockThePost, the crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses I co-founded, try to make a list of values and core beliefs that both you and your brand represent, and post this in your office. Promote a healthy interoffice lifestyle, and encourage your team to live up to these standards. By emphasizing these standards, and displaying them yourself, you will hopefully influence the office environment into a friendly and helpful workspace.

Ability to Delegate

Finessing your brand vision is essential to creating an organized and efficient business, but if you don’t learn to trust your team with that vision, you might never progress to the next stage. Its important to remember that trusting your team with your idea is a sign of strength, not weakness. Delegating tasks to the appropriate departments is one of the most important skills you can develop as your business grows. The emails and tasks will begin to pile up, and the more you stretch yourself thin, the lower the quality of your work will become, and the less you will produce.