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Category: Professional Development

If you organize corporate or collegiate events, chances are you’ve hired keynote speakers and understand their importance.

Keynote speakers typically kick off events and are vital in setting the tone. A competent keynote speaker will bring energy, enthusiasm, and entertainment. A great one delivers substance as well as storytelling and humor—bringing the steak, not just the sizzle.

The best keynote speakers take the time to research your industry, issues, audience, and the purpose of your event, then combine that with their own perspective and expertise to craft a unique and valuable presentation. By the time they wrap up their time on stage, the audience is saying, “Wow, that was valuable. I’m going to remember those key points.”

If you’ve been doing this for a while, chances are also that you’ve had hits and misses—speakers who have knocked it out of the park, and others who have fallen a bit flat. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to pick winners consistently? Here’s how to do that.

What (Exactly) is a Keynote Speaker?

As Will Rogers famously said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Choosing the right keynote speaker is crucial because that person creates the “first impression” for your event. In their hour or so onstage, that person needs to entertain, educate, and create a sense of excitement in the audience for what’s to come over the course of your gathering. Their presentation has to both stand on its own and connect to the content that will follow.

It helps to clarify what a keynote speaker is by understanding what that person is not. A keynote speaker is an experienced, engaging, professional communicator. Keynote speakers are not merely motivational speakers—though they do need to motivate, and often employ similar audio and visual tools.

Keynote speakers are different from industry experts (people who will often lead training sessions or breakout groups at events), though they will have some knowledge of your industry.

Keynote speakers are not entertainers, though their presentations do need to be fun and entertaining. A talented musician, comedian, or magician can provide entertainment—but not necessarily the kind of substance, insights, and valuable takeaways that a keynote speaker delivers.

Keynote Speakers Versus Trainers

Keynote speakers are distinct from trainers, though there is a fair amount of overlap. Professional trainers are rarely, if ever, also keynote speakers. But it’s not uncommon for keynote speakers to also do training.

A keynote presentation is generally broad and high-level (though it should include some specific, memorable points) while training is more direct and often hands-on. A keynote speaker is a standalone type of communicator, different from a trainer, workshop facilitator, or seminar leader. A great keynote doesn’t just impart information, but is inspirational, tone-setting, and reflects the theme of the event.

But again, there are keynote speakers who also do training. Their topics often revolve around leadership, negotiation skills, or (not surprisingly) how to be a more effective communicator.

What to Look For in a Keynote Speaker

Keynote speakers fall generally into two categories: celebrities and professional speakers.

Celebrities include well-known actors and actresses, politicians and government officials, former sports stars and professional coaches, journalists, authors, and other famous people. While some can be insightful, celebrities are generally hired more for entertainment value and their name recognition than deep substance.

The primary value of a celebrity speaker is to attract a crowd. And because these speakers command hefty fees, they are most often sought after for industry-wide events that professionals pay a significant ticket price to attend.

Industry associations and organizations often bring in comedians, ventriloquists, mentalists, magicians, or other entertainers as part of their events. These individuals are great for dinner shows; not so much for keynotes.

True keynote speakers, again, are professional communicators. They deliver entertainment with substance. Their job is to combine motivation, inspiration, and excitement with expertise and credibility. It’s fun and enthusiasm plus practical, actionable ideas.

Three key considerations when choosing a keynote speaker are:

Credentials: Professional keynote speakers can usually back up their expertise and credibility with advanced degrees and professional certifications. This is especially important when choosing a speaker for a gathering of professionals (e.g., doctors, lawyers, engineers, finance pros, executives) or an academic audience. People with credentials care about the credentials of the people they’ll consider listening to.

Experience: No one becomes a professional keynote speaker at 22. Everyone who’s qualified to do this has done other things first. When searching for a keynote speaker, look at what they’ve done professionally as well as through volunteer and professional organizations. Keynote speakers have to bring a combination of left-brained (analytical) and right-brained (creative) thinking to their presentations, so look for evidence of both. Often, the best keynote speakers have “unique” backgrounds, with some unexpected experiences.

Engagement: While this isn’t the most important factor, it is essential. Even the best content provides little value if the delivery is dull. A boring presentation with endless primarily text-based slides will have attendees mentally checking out and fiddling with their phones. A keynote speaker needs to be able to hook the audience with style, then keep their attention with substance.

As with any “purchasing” decision, third-party validation matters. Every qualified speaker will have a sizzle reel on YouTube and numerous client testimonials. These will rarely be a deciding factor, but they’re helpful to check out.

Why Select a Keynote Speaker from Best Corporate Events

Corporate conferences, all-company gatherings, and sales kickoff meetings are great opportunities to conduct team building and professional development programs. If you’re already working with us for that activity (not to brag, but we literally wrote the book on corporate team building), why not hire your keynote speaker through us as well?

While there are lots of places to find keynote speakers, there are three significant benefits of working with Best Corporate Events for your keynote speaker in addition to your team building / professional development activities.

Single, powerful management portal: BEST’s client portal enables event organizers to track all of the production aspects of your team building and professional development programs on a single page. See event details, information about your facilitator, shipping status, venue information, and more. If you also book your keynote speaker through us, all of those details can be tracked within the portal as well. We also offer a version of the portal with additional features for DMCs.

Package discount: If your organization purchases both a team building event or professional development workshop and a keynote speaker from BEST, you’ll get a 10% discount on the total engagement. Not only will you save money, you’ll also simplify the process since you don’t have to work with a separate agency or speakers’ bureau to bring in a keynote speaker.

More than a keynote: The keynote presentation can be a standalone event, or an initial touchpoint into a deeper dive into communications training. For example, BEST featured keynote speaker Tom Leu can deliver follow-up training workshops or seminars during the same conference, or at a later date. This training can be delivered in-person or virtually.

Tom is a member of the National Speakers Association, and a certified professional coach with a graduate degree in psychology, whose background includes both teaching and dean roles in the collegiate environment. But he also knows music (he’s been in rock bands for decades and currently composes music for films) and is a published professional photographer. He brings all of that background and more to his one-of-a-kind energetic, entertaining, and educational keynote presentations.

Your choice of a keynote speaker is crucial, as that speaker sets the tone for your corporate or collegiate event. The best keynote speakers combine enthusiasm and entertainment with substantive, actionable takeaways for your people. You’ve got lots of options for finding a standout keynote speaker, but Best Corporate Events should be on your list for consideration, particularly if you’re already working with us for team building.

When it comes to the performance of work teams, “our diversity is our strength” isn’t just a slogan. Dozens of research studies over time have shown that diverse teams are smarter, increase financial returns to the organization, and perform 30% better than homogeneous teams.

Diversity and inclusion are often thought of in racial or ethnic terms, but also include diversity of approaches and perspectives. When team members think about problems differently, the team is more likely to make better decisions because it will evaluate the situation from different angles.

As a very simple example, “drivers”—people who throw around phrases like “move fast and break things,” “get ‘er done,” and “just do it”—help keep teams moving forward. But team members who are detail-oriented “questioners” and “collaborators” prevent the group from moving too fast and overlooking important considerations. The most effective teams have a mix of these personality types.

The key to unlocking the high-performance potential of diverse teams is skilled management. Without the right tools in place for managers to understand and address the different personalities, perspectives, and work styles of team members, there are significant risks of dissatisfaction, dysfunction, and eventually employee turnover.

Here are several tools, processes, and programs that can help managers optimize the collaboration, cohesion, and performance of diverse work teams. But first, a quick look at the risks of getting it wrong.

Risks of Mismanaging Diverse Teams

Improper management can lead to dissension and disagreement within the team, as well as disengagement and even departure of skilled employees. So how does a manager know there are problems that need to be addressed?

It’s a combination of verbal and non-verbal cues. Is there conflict? Is there frustration? Are people unhappy? You, as the team leader, can probably see by their body language or their tone of voice that something is bothering them.

Getting the team back on track requires digging in to determine what’s really going wrong beneath the surface. Too often, when one team member is seen as “holding the team back,” the temptation is to steamroll forward and let that individual work it out and catch up.

Talented employees start off in new roles with enthusiasm, with the desire to be empowered and to make a difference. But if they aren’t given time to think things through, if they don’t feel their concerns are being listened to or addressed, they will begin to disengage.

Leaders are generally skilled at managing employees at the tactical level: “Do you have enough resources? Enough training? How are you doing on your goals? How’s your task list going on our timeline?”

But they also need the “soft skills” to understand how each of their employees processes information. Do they need more details? Just the big picture? Do they need to collaborate and check in with others? When managers don’t get this and accommodate different work styles, they too often end up surprised when talented employees walk out the door.

How to Optimize Performance Teams with Diverse Personality Types

Effectively managing team members with diverse personalities starts with a behavioral assessment. You need a tool that will provide a roadmap for these discussions, because optimizing team cohesion isn’t tactical; there isn’t a simple list of items you can check off.

The tactical side of team management is about metrics you can hit when thinking about SMART goals. Did we complete all of our tasks? Did we meet our timelines? Did we stay within budget? Those are checklist goals.

But when you think about team cohesion, culture, and managing a mix of personalities, you have to take a different tack. It’s all about building a culture.

A behavioral assessment is ground zero for this effort because it provides insights about “what makes people tick” in ways you usually can’t get from observation, even if you’ve worked with an individual for years. Suppose that person doesn’t say much in meetings—is it because they are processing the information, or because they are thinking three steps ahead?

As an example, a salesperson and an accountant may both be very good with numbers, but the accountant values structure and detail while the salesperson prefers more operational latitude and the freedom to move quickly.

It’s up to you as the leader to figure out who on your team needs details, who wants to “figure out as we go,” and who wants to discuss the issues with a wider range of people.

Tools to Help Manage Teams with Different Personalities and Work Styles

Building team cohesion across diverse personalities is like driving without GPS (or even a map) if you aren’t using some type of assessment tool. You’re making decisions based on gut instinct instead of science. Here are three tools that can provide the basis for more effective management of diverse personality types.

DiSC: DiSC is an acronym that stands for the four main personality profiles described in the DiSC model: (D)ominance, (i)nfluence, (S)teadiness and (C)onscientiousness. Depending on which personality type an individual best fits, that person will place relatively more or less emphasis on factors like getting results, influencing others, collaborating, or digging into details.

Understanding the different personality types on a team helps managers more effectively communicate with and motivate each individual. It improves understanding, leading to improved cohesion and reduced conflict.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): This assessment can help dramatically improve team dynamics by clearly identifying the strengths and benefits associated with specific personality traits. It provides terminology that can be used in the workplace to handle disagreements respectfully and productively.

The MBTI assessment helps managers understand the personality composition of their team so they can communicate more effectively, improving performance while minimizing unproductive and corrosive conflict.

Predictive Index: This provides managers and leaders with the tools to have better conversations with team members, helping them understand each person’s drivers using a simple placard.

For example, consider this team with five members: Josh, Catherine, Julie, Ian, and Michael. Each has a different pattern.

Looking at these placards you can see, for example, Josh and Ian like to collaborate. Julie’s is “Let me drive,” while Catherine and Michael are situational: sometimes they’ll take a lead and want to drive, and sometimes they’ll collaborate.

That information alone allows you to better understand why Julie is always the most talkative in every meeting. But Josh and Ian prefer to test the waters with other people it will affect. Julie, who likes to drive, just trusts the process, so she doesn’t need to collaborate on many decisions.

Julie, Josh, and Michael are all “Let me think it through” types as well, while Catherine and Ian like to talk it out. So, again, when you’re in meetings and talking about launching a new product or project, understanding how your different team members address the problem helps you facilitate that conversation because you can see that Catherine and Ian want to talk it out, while you may need to prompt the other team members to tell you what they are thinking or what pieces of the puzzle you may be missing.

Using any of these behavioral assessment tools is more effective than simply asking questions, because most people aren’t able to articulate what these assessments reveal. The results are as enlightening to the individuals themselves as to their managers.

As a leader, these assessments will help you understand, for example, whether a team member needs more details in order to make a decision; prefers to collaborate with others first; or simply needs to think it all through. From a team cohesion standpoint, you need to understand these workplace drivers because they don’t fit neatly into management checklists. The key is behavioral assessments.

Team Building and Professional Development Programs to Help Manage Diverse Personalities

Best Corporate Events offers a number of team building and professional development programs that can help your managers better understand teams with diverse personality types while helping team members to better understand themselves and each other. The result is more cohesive, higher-performing teams.

Among these programs are:

Developing Emerging Leaders: Over a series of five virtual group sessions, this program utilizes the Predictive Index to assist in developing high-potential individual contributors into your organization’s next generation of leaders.

It addresses the four workplace drivers at several levels, starting with identifying who you are and understanding where you are. The program then progresses into communication; dealing with conflict; managing up and across the organization; and finally, managing and developing others.

DiSC Profile Workshop: This program introduces your team to the DiSC Model, a behavior assessment tool that helps professionals understand their own styles of behavior and communication, as well as those of their colleagues. Learning how to manage these styles and identify areas in need of improvement can help participants eliminate bad habits, minimize conflict, and improve overall team success.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) Training: An emotionally intelligent organization is one in which each member understands their Emotional Quotient (EQ) and how best to tap into it for professional growth. Applying EI within an organization helps to build trust and encourage open communication. This compelling, informative workshop covers case studies on EI, its six major components, and how one can apply their own EQ in the workplace.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Training: This eye-opening program introduces your group to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. This tool can dramatically improve team dynamics by identifying personality types and demonstrating how the knowledge of these types can be applied to improve group communication, cohesion, and performance. Participants will also gain a comprehensive understanding of their specific personality traits, what strengths they bring to the table, and how they can improve.

Conclusion

Research consistently shows that teams comprised of diverse personality types outperform and make better decisions than more homogenous groups. But managing such diverse teams to optimize cohesion and performance is challenging.

Behavior assessments are the key to unleashing team performance and preventing unproductive conflict. The results of these assessments help managers understand how to most effectively communicate with each team member, while providing team members with insights that help them better understand their own drivers and characteristics, and how to collaborate productively with each other.

There are several different assessment tools available to help managers and teams, including the DiSC profile, MBTI, and Predictive Index. Each provides a distinctive output format and terminology to help manage group dynamics. Predictive Index uses placards that describe individuals across four personality dimensions.

Professional development training programs help leaders and team members best use the output of these assessment tools. Programs range from in-person workshops to multi-session virtual training exercises. The end result is happier, higher-functioning teams that are more cohesive and less plagued by unproductive conflict.

Our virtual professional development workshops are ideal for bringing together teams across regions or in hybrid work environments to enhance conflict resolution and team management skills. These workshops combine professional facilitation, the latest remote work technologies, and an engaging, dynamic approach to leadership development.

Pressed for time? Our virtual training programs offer the core learning and growth opportunities of a full professional development workshop in a more compact time frame.

The end result is happier, higher-functioning teams that are more cohesive and less plagued by unproductive conflict.

Passive-aggressive behavior is poisonous to workplace cohesion and productivity. Fortunately, team building programs can supply the antidote.

One of the most insidious characteristics of passive-aggressive behavior is that it’s rarely an event. There’s no app managers can download that will send them an alert when this crops up. Instead, it tends to build over time, its corrosive effects gradually damaging team collaboration.

That means managers need to be alert to early warning signs, ready to take action.

Signs of a Passive-Aggressive Problem

Typically, when teams are first formed or expanded, everyone is excited. Team members are fully engaged, on their best behavior, and want to be part of the process.

But, over time, people can become less engaged, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps their ideas were rejected. Or they don’t agree with the direction the team is taking. Or they feel that their opinions aren’t valued.

The path of least resistance is to just go along. There’s no “big bang” confrontation. There is just a slow erosion of effort, engagement, and input. There may be some grumbling, but much of the frustration remains beneath the surface.

Managers and team leaders need to be attuned to these types of changes, which may be manifested in missed deadlines, apathy, and less discussion during team meetings.

How Team Building Helps

If you Google “benefits of team building,” you’ll get a long list. The positive impacts are widespread. Here are five ways that organized team building exercises directly help to eliminate passive-aggressive behavior at work.

Improved morale: Team building activities are fun, engaging, and a break from the normal routine. Employees enjoy the exercises and appreciate the investment the company is making in improving their collaboration and communication skills.

Enhanced creativity: Many of these activities present participants with a new and completely unfamiliar problem to solve, whether it’s completing a scavenger hunt, figuring out an escape room challenge, or assembling bicycles, wheelchairs, or guitars. Team members need to work together and often “think outside the box” to solve the challenge. You’ve empowered them to think differently.

Improved relationships: There’s a feel-good aspect to working together on solving a fun, non-work problem. But beyond that, there’s an openness to see coworkers in a different way. People who may be reluctant to ask questions or acknowledge any professional shortcomings in the workplace aren’t afraid to admit when they don’t know how to do something in a team building activity. They’re more authentic and open, because the puzzle isn’t work-related and is therefore less intimidating.

Increased trust: Team events often include time limits and competition that compel participants to rely on each other. They are more willing to offer and ask for help. That process builds trust which gets taken back into the workplace.

Productive fun: Almost all team building experiences produce laughter. That makes endorphins go up and walls come down. Team members lower their mental and psychological barriers. Working together to accomplish the team building goal positively impacts professional relationships; it improves peoples’ demeanor and perspective in ways that carry through to the workplace.

Combined, all of these effects of team building combat passive-aggressive behavior by shifting the mindset of employees. The result is improved trust, collaboration, and engagement.

Here are four specific ways organizations can use team building programs to improve morale and productivity by reducing passive-aggressive behavior.

Reframe the Situation

A common manifestation of this problem is that people are afraid to speak out. Even if they are very unhappy or frustrated about an issue, they aren’t comfortable being direct, saying what they are really thinking and feeling. They may worry about hurting a coworker’s feelings or making that person angry, or about having their ideas rejected.

Team building literally puts everyone in a different place. They are in a different environment, solving a fun non-work problem, relaxed and laughing. This puts people in a different frame of mind. Conversations are easier because the participants are in a non-intimidating, non-confrontational environment.

Build Trust

Leaders need to establish the trust of their team. That trust has to be earned all the time, in different scenarios. They need trust that they are going to hold everyone on the team accountable to the same criteria. That they will provide honest feedback, and not let poor performance just slide.

Ignoring poor performance doesn’t help the employee who is not receiving an honest appraisal, and it doesn’t help the team. There needs to be two-way dialogue, but from the leader’s perspective, there is no single way to do that because every employee is different.

Team building improves communication and team cohesiveness by taking the team out of the office to solve a fun challenge. Earning trust and establishing a dialogue in another environment carries over into the workplace.

Break Down Barriers

We’ve seen even some rather cynical, jaded employees lower their guard and open up after a feel-good team building experience. During the socializing that follows, it’s not unusual to hear an employee conversing with a coworker along the lines of, “That was really great. I wish we could talk like this at the office.”

By attacking obstacles to team cohesiveness from different vantage points, team building helps lower or eliminate barriers to effective collaboration.

In addition to breaking down barriers, it helps participants to better understand the communication styles and preferences of their colleagues. Co-workers seem more approachable, opening the door to better and more productive discussions at work.

Make It a Habit

While team building programs are clearly helpful for combating passive-aggressive behavior, they aren’t a one-and-done solution. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and team performance isn’t optimized overnight.

That’s why top-performing organizations make team building a regular event, often running programs several times each year.

The goal of one event may be dealing with passive-aggressive behavioral issues. At the next event, the focus may be on team cohesiveness, improving communication skills, conflict resolution, or managing a significant organizational change.

Team building activities, especially if done two or more times per year, help build social trust. Frustrations, disappointments, and misunderstandings aren’t allowed to fester to the point where they cause operational or performance problems.

A regular cadence of team building exercises helps develop a culture of high performance. Over time, those exercises become less about resolving problems and more about taking organization performance to successively higher levels, going from good to better, better to great, great to amazing, and from amazing to extraordinary.

The Best Team Building Programs for Combating Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Many different team building programs can be helpful in dealing with this issue, but among the best are Build-a-Raft Competition; Catapult (where teams utilize their creative brainpower to build a working catapult, and then compete on distance on accuracy using their creations), Crack the Case! (where teams solve clues and puzzles together to break into a series of locked boxes) Pipeline (where teams design and assemble a delivery system for marbles using PVC pipe, bamboo, rope, and other materials); and Team Olympics.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, such as Build-a-Wheelchair® and Bike Build Donation®, are also effective, and create powerful emotional experiences.

And for situations where it’s not practical to gather everyone together in one physical location, virtual escape rooms and game shows are an excellent alternative.

Wrapping Up

Passive-aggressive behavior in the workplace is anything but “just fine.” It’s damaging to team cohesion, morale, and productivity.

Fortunately, team building can help in several ways, from breaking down barriers and increasing trust to improving relationships, communication, and collaboration.

One event will produce positive results, but to really help people change and be more open with their coworkers, it’s important to run organized team building exercises on a regular basis.

High-performing cultures aren’t created by one team building experience. They’re built over time with consistency, cultivating an environment where people are motivated. And that leads to higher employee retention, morale, and productivity.

If you’re looking to build a best-in-class team or organization, you can do it over time with a little effort and a lot of fun by making regular team building activities part of your operational planning.

Leadership training isn’t just for leaders. If your organization is thinking about leadership training too narrowly, you could be missing out on big opportunities to improve communication, collaboration, and productivity across your enterprise.

Companies often view leadership training as something that’s helpful for new managers, as well as junior managers looking to advance within the organization. But it can actually be helpful for just about everyone in your organization.

That’s because leadership is more than just a title; it’s about how you act and react to people and situations. It’s about improving “people skills” as opposed to technical skills, answering questions such as: How do I communicate more effectively? How do I resolve unproductive conflict? How do I build relationships to help get things done?

Here are several reasons to look at leadership training more broadly.

Today’s Uncertain Labor Market

With record levels of employees voluntarily leaving companies as well as workers taking early retirement, companies are recognizing the need to improve their “bench strength” at every level.

It’s not only about preparing senior director-level talent to move into a VP or CxO role, but also about backfilling director spots, training managers to move into director roles, and preparing talented, ambitious individual contributors to make the move into management.

Leadership training can also help with retention. When employees see that their company is making an investment in them and helping prepare them to advance in their careers, it increases satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.

The “Superstar” Problem

Quite often, the people who get promoted into management positions are those who are strong performers as individual contributors, whether in finance, marketing, operations, or another function.

This is particularly true of salespeople. The hope of management is that by promoting their top-performing sales person into a sales leadership role, they can replicate that strong performance.

But for many people, making the leap from being a strong individual performer to becoming an effective leader is challenging. That individual became very good at accounting, or sales, or whatever their role may have been, by honing their technical skills over many years. Leading others, however, requires a very different skillset.

The problem is that many companies don’t have the structure or training process in place to mentor the new mentor. So, new leaders are left on their own. That’s where leadership training comes in; pulling them out of the office gives them an opportunity to stop and think.

It starts with a behavioral assessment, asking the new leader to look in the mirror first, to be able to say, “This is what drives me in the workplace. This is how I communicate. This is how I interact with people.”

Then we ask them to flip the mirror and say, “Okay, these are the people whom I now work with. How do they behave in the workplace? How do they communicate? How do I interact with them?” Leading becomes less about the leader and more about the team they manage.

It’s Not About You

In making the move from individual contributor to leader, the employee needs to shift their focus from doing a task well to increasing the skills of others. It can be tempting for new leaders to keep “doing the work,” which leads to lack of focus, resentment from the team, and even burn out.

It’s challenging to go from managing one’s own to-do list to leading a team of people, each with their own task lists. An individual who may have been comfortable as an individual contributor in sales or accounting is now being pulled into more meetings, called upon to resolve conflicts, and asked to coach others.

They may know that having regular one-on-one meetings with their team members is part of their role, but they may not understand how to get the most out of these. Those individual conversations are more than just a status check—that can be done with email. They are opportunities to coach, to make sure employees are engaged, and to help them improve their direct or indirect job skills.

Leadership training helps managers to not only do the right things, but to do those things consistently well.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Any work team may include one person who is eager to get promoted; another who loves their role and never wants to get promoted; another who has young children at home and whose focus is therefore on work-life balance; and others, each with their own priorities.

Managing each of those people requires a somewhat different skillset or approach. Being an effective leader requires learning how to recognize and adjust to those different perspectives.

Individuals often under-perform or limit themselves because of obstacles they’ve unconsciously placed in their own way. It may be an attitude, a belief, or a shortcoming they are unaware of.

Leadership training helps managers help employees to recognize the limitations or hurdles they’ve placed in their own way, so they work to change those things. The employee often can’t articulate why they’re not performing; they can’t figure it out. Leaders need to understand different approaches they can try to help the employee see the answers that are right in front of them.

Managing Up, Down, and Across

It’s clear why new leaders and even experienced managers can benefit from leadership training, but what about that employee who loves being an individual contributor and isn’t interested in a promotion to management—how can leadership training benefit them?

First, it helps them learn to “manage up” more proficiently; to influence their boss so they can get what they need in order to be more productive in their job. The basis of leadership training is empathy and communication, which can improve outcomes when an employee is talking to their boss just as much as when the boss is coaching that employee.

Second, it helps people to “manage across” more effectively. A great deal of work today is done collaboratively. Employees rely on others, in their own department or other parts of the business, in order to accomplish goals. The ability to influence others is just as important when working with a peer who is not a direct report as it is when managing and coaching subordinates.

Third, it helps employees to better understand how their manager thinks, and why they do or say certain things. Developing the ability to understand that perspective helps employees to ask better questions when meeting with their manager, and to improve that working relationship.

Finally, most employees value increasing their skills, and appreciate their employer investing in them. This may mean direct skills like sales training or classes with CPE credits. It may mean learning indirectly helpful knowledge like presentation skills. Or it may mean enhancing their interpersonal relationship skills through leadership training.

Wrapping It Up – the Best Leadership Training Programs

Leadership training can benefit virtually every employee in an organization in some way. And it’s a wise investment for companies to make: it helps increase retention, develop bench strength, assist employees with the transition from being strong individual contributors to effective leaders, and help non-management employees better communicate up and across the organization.

Among the key skills employees develop through leadership training are communicating more effectively; resolving conflicts; coaching and developing others; goal setting and time management; strategic thinking; and relationship building.

Leadership and professional development programs offered by Best Corporate Events include:

Conflict Resolution Training

Managing conflict effectively can make the difference between a simple “bump in the road” or lost productivity and long-term animosity in the workplace. Participants learn strategies to engender a workplace culture better equipped to handle conflict.

DiSC Profile Workshop

Participants are introduced to the DiSC Model, a behavior assessment tool that helps professionals understand their own styles of behavior and communication, as well as those of their colleagues.

Learning how to manage these styles can help participants eliminate bad habits, minimize conflict, and improve the overall success of their team.

Manager’s Guide to Business Coaching

Constructive guidance and consistent coaching are critical responsibilities of all managers, but the best managers utilize proven coaching practices that can strengthen relationships, bolster trust, and reap the benefits of open and positive communication.

Emotional Intelligence Training

An Emotionally Intelligent company is one in which each member understands their Emotional Quotient (E.Q.) and how best to tap into it for professional growth. Applying E.I. within an organization can build trust and encourage open communication.

In short, as noted in the opening, leadership training isn’t just for leaders. Employees at all levels can benefit from learning how to productively influence others. These training programs are ultimately about helping your team members better understand each other by first learning more about themselves.

As technology automates more and more simple, linear tasks, more of the work that people do involves collaboration. Put another way, professionals today spend less time on individual, solo tasks than in the past and more time working as part of a team.

New products are designed by teams. New software is developed by teams. Sales are often closed by teams. New system procurement decisions are made by teams. Even this blog post was created by a team (a writer, a facilitator/subject matter expert, an editor/coordinator, and a webmaster).

Our last post, How Team Building Makes New Employees More Productive, Faster, detailed four ways that team building programs help get new (or new-to-the-role) employees up to speed more quickly by helping them get to know, understand, and connect with their coworkers.

Team building also helps teams to be more effective and productive. Regardless of how long each individual member of a team has been employed in the organization, any time a new team is formed there are phases it will pass through before reaching full productivity.

Team building can help accelerate that formation process, helping teams become more productive more quickly. In his classic book on group and team communications, author Donald B. Egolf, Ph.D., defines four stages of team development: forming, storming, norming, and performing.

Forming

The forming stage is the “playing nicely together in the sandbox” phase. Everyone is polite, deferential, and on their best behavior. There’s an almost artificial niceness as everyone is feeling things out. This generally lasts only for a relatively brief period of time before teams go into the next stage, storming.

Storming

The storming stage is where conflicts begin to arise. There are behavioral differences that come up. There are certain irritations and annoyances that are surfaced. There are differences of opinion about what’s going to happen, or how to proceed.

Norming

Effective teams work through those issues and move into the norming stage, as they start to figure out how to work together. They ask, “How are we going to operate?” They come up with team agreements. They understand and accept each others’ differences. They define when and how they will communicate, and how they will work together.

Performing

If the team does a good job getting through that norming process, it reaches the performing stage, becoming a high-performing team.

How Team Building Helps

In a typical work environment, teams can languish in those early stages of the forming and storming for a long time as they’re feeling each other out. This is even more of a danger when people are working remotely, as their interactions with each other are much more limited.

Team building activities can accelerate this process; you can get through the forming stage pretty quickly and get into some storming. Storming within groups—having some challenges in a team-building activity—isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually helpful.

It’s not that you want groups constantly struggling at a team-building activity, of course. But having a few frustrations and needing to work things out among team members can be a great thing, because it gives members the tools and knowledge to better understand each other and begin creating some norms.

If they can go through the process of forming, storming, and then creating some norms during their orientation stage when solving an inconsequential team building problem (such as a Crack the Case mystery activity or an Amazing Chase SmartHunt®, as opposed to a real-world business problem), it will help them move through those stages much faster when they’re back in the workplace, and hopefully, reach a high-performing level more quickly.

What if you could recruit a high-performing team of professionals to improve your business and boost your daily operations? Even better, what if you could do so without having to increase your rent costs, hiring a recruiter, or investing in benefits packages and other incentives? The fact is, you can hire an expert remote team to ensure business success, and it’s simpler than you might expect.

Where to Start

You know you want to hire remote team members, but where should you go to find these sought-after professionals? The good news is that tons of experts turn to online job platforms and postings to secure freelance gigs. In fact, Gig Economy Data says that more than a quarter of all workers look for work in the gig economy. That means more qualified candidates at affordable rates — independent contractors are often cheaper to hire than full-time staff members. Of course, the beauty of fleshing out a remote team is that you can hire both types of staff to suit your needs.

Choosing the Best

So you’ve found some trustworthy sites where freelancers hang out. What next? Establishing clear parameters for the job or project you’re hiring for is a must. Outline the tasks that each role is required to perform, then list the skills or certifications needed for each duty, suggests the Society for Human Resource Management. Many online platforms offer you search tools to filter professionals by skillset or amount of experience. For specific tasks, you might seek candidates with specialties rather than those who may be generalists. After all, choosing the best candidate means selecting someone with the right expertise for your project or task, whether that’s a generalist or a candidate with niche know-how.

Onboarding and Training

Setting up a clear onboarding and training process can help your new hires master the company culture and get started working efficiently. Rather than tossing new workers head-first into projects, consider easing them in by collaborating on tasks, creating training videos and resources to walk them through their daily work, and even partnering up more experienced team members so that your new hires have someone to turn to for role-specific questions. Plus, virtual training can bring the entire crew together to meet common goals.

Teams and Collaboration

A cohesive team is a successful team, so keeping everyone in close contact is crucial. Even with a global team, you can check in and collaborate with a host of online tools. You’ll want a communication platform where your team members can check in, send messages quickly, and get the answers they need on high-priority projects and decisions. Try tools like Slack, Skype, and Zoom to chat, schedule meetings, and keep in touch throughout the workweek. Don’t overdo it, though — tech burnout can happen to any team, but remote teams are particularly susceptible.

Who Should You Hire?

Hiring needs vary widely based on the industry, niche, and specific project types or scope. But itemizing your business requirements can help highlight where you need the most expert contributions. For example, maybe your business has a long list of subscribers, but you’re having a hard time convincing them to become customers. Hiring an email marketing professional could be just the ticket for turning those leads into paying clients. Just make sure to check on their delivery timeframes, job platform reviews, and overall costs.

Developing a successful remote team is a must in today’s professional world. On the plus side, it’s also easier than ever to recruit a high-performing group of experts, no matter what niche you’re working in or how fast you need a project-driven to completion. Then, make sure to check out Best Corporate Events and Team Building’s programs and activities to foster teamwork and collaboration in your remote teams. Contact us today for a quote.

Tina Martin is a guest writer for Best. Tina stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance. She started ideaspired.com as a side project to reach as many people as possible, and encourage them to put their dreams first

When the live events industry vanished in an instant because of COVID-19, we turned our attention to what our clients need now: Virtual Events. Virtual events are at the forefront of today’s Corporate Team Building activities, where fun and interactive events like Virtual Game Shows are prevalent. Our Virtual programs range from Virtual Game Shows, to Virtual Team Building and Entertainment, to Virtual Professional Development Training and Workshops, to Keynote Speakers. No matter what your team needs right now to feel connected in their remote workspace, you can find a program to suit your needs in our Virtual line up. We are continually adding new programs as well, and we are more than happy to work with you to design something new that’s perfect for your group!

When the Going got tough…We got Virtual.

We were in our groove, delivering nearly 1,000 events in 2019, all across America, while maintaining our #1 ranked Customer TrustScore of 4.9/5.0.

Then, the Live Events Industry collapsed and vanished in an instant.

The calm actually allowed us to reflect. We’d been so busy for so long delivering In-Person events that we didn’t have time for much else. We started developing new programs, streamlining production, and talking with our Corporate Clients, Planners, and DMCs to see how they were doing and how we could help them.

Their answer was Virtual.

Our facilitators have been delivering Virtual events since 2014, so we expanded our lineup and now have 26 virtual events to choose from – and we have studios across the country with the latest technology, video, and audio equipment to run virtual, interactive events and training for your team.

Virtual events are at the forefront of today’s Corporate Team Building activities, where fun and interactive events like Virtual Game Shows are prevalent. Our Virtual programs range from Virtual Game Shows to Virtual Team Building and Entertainment, to Virtual Professional Development Training and Workshops, to Keynote Speakers.

No matter what your team needs right now to feel connected in their remote workspace, you can find a program to suit your needs in our Virtual line up. We are continually adding new programs as well, and we are more than happy to work with you to design something new that’s perfect for your group!

Virtual Game Shows

Survey Says Orientation Game Show Name that Tune Trivia Blast

Hooray for Hollywood Awesome 80s Price it Right Speed Networking Jeoparody

Using various existing meeting platforms like Zoom, and delivered live by experienced professional Virtual Game Show MCs, these competitive games give participants a chance to enjoy each other’s company, compete for prizes, and take a break from the traditional meeting atmosphere.

During this challenging time around the world, non-profit organizations are struggling, and need financial support to continue their essential roles in their communities. That’s why the grand finale of any of our Virtual Game Show programs can include a monetary donation in any amount to the charity of your choice.

One of our most popular Virtual Game Shows is Virtual Trivia Blast, which has fun general trivia questions for individuals to compete with, but also can allow for some customized company trivia questions as well!
The Virtual Price it Right competition allows participants to guess the price of everyday household or company-related products, play games to earn gifts, and then take part in household “scavenger hunts” for additional prizes.
Virtual Survey Says has remote teams competing based on the survey results of 100 people. This event can even be delivered bracket style with the top two teams competing for the championship!

We offer 9 Virtual Game Shows in total, featuring Virtual Hooray For Hollywood, Virtual Jeoparody, Virtual Name That Tune, Virtual Orientation Game Show, Virtual Speed Networking, and Virtually Awesome ’80s. Your group is bound to find a format and theme that they can’t wait to try.

Virtual Interactive Entertainment

Mind Games

Delivered on a meeting platform like Zoom with the use of our proprietary SmartHunt apps, our Virtual Interactive Entertainment programs can be a fun addition to an extended day of virtual meetings, or an entertaining stand-alone activity for your group to connect and bond. These programs include Virtual Interactive Magic Show, Virtual Mind Games, and Virtual Scavenger Games SmartHunt®.

Virtual Training

Presentation Tune Up Meeting Tune Up Were All at Home Launching Virtual Teams

Work From Home Understanding Virtual Teams DiSC Profile

Virtual Corporate Training options are also relevant and in demand. Moving from the in-person office to the virtual office comes with some changes and adaptations that many take for granted. Lots of people don’t have a full day to dedicate to training their teams on how to optimize their remote work experience – which is why we designed our “60 minutes to success” line of training workshops that hit the core knowledge your team needs in just about an hour.

Programs like Launching Your Virtual Team and Understanding Your Virtual Team teach leaders the fine details for getting their remote teams up and running successfully, and continuing to manage them effectively from a remote environment going forward.

For your employees themselves, the challenge of continually adapting to the changes to their daily workflow that comes with working remotely can be aided by workshops like We’re All Virtual – Now What?, and WFH – Work From Home!

With most business and meetings now conducted by video call, Virtual Meetings Tune-Up is a great way to make the most out of running virtual meetings, and Virtual Presentations Tune-Up can help you to optimize your Zoom presentation skills.

And no matter your work environment, every team can benefit from Virtual DiSC Assessment, to better understand each other and communicate effectively on virtual platforms.

Virtual Professional Development

Building Your Virtual Team Conducting Virtual Meetings Leading Virtual Teams

Virtual Keynote Talk Virtual Coaching and Feedback Virtual Presentations Managing Your Time at Home

 

Our Virtual Professional Development series ensures that your team is taking full advantage of the opportunities that come with working from a remote office. With our combination of professional facilitation and dynamic virtual environments that utilize high tech features, these workshops will enable you to enhance employees’ results and create workplace inspiration while remote.

These offerings can be modified to fit your timeline or be combined with other programs for a full day of blended professional development and team building opportunities. Our great virtual professional development programs include Building Your Virtual TeamConducting Virtual Meetings, Leading Virtual Teams, Managing Your Time at Home, Seeing Things: Virtual Interactive Keynote, Virtual Coaching and Feedback, and Virtual Presentations Workshop.

Teamwork is defined as the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient. It’s an individual’s commitment to a group effort that makes a team work.  A company’s success is often determined by how well the team performs together.

If each individual does not work well together, your team will not succeed.  At BEST we know the importance of teamwork.  We offer activities that build just that.

There are several ways to inspire and motivate your team.  This is the job of many leaders, including sports coaches, department managers, and mentors. Communication and encouragement are key to motivating an individual or an entire team.  Many leaders have given such motivation speeches in the past, that parts of their speech have been repeated and remembered for years to follow.

For example, you may have heard of the infamous line like “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.  This was a quote by Wayne Gretzky, former Canadian hockey player, and head coach. A successful leader is one who can spark his or her team members to work well together toward a common vision and goals.

We’ve compiled a page on our website dedicated to teamwork quotes.  These might be useful to encourage employees to strive to work better as a team. These quotes about team building and teamwork will inspire your employees. Scan through and maybe one of these will help you with your team! Team building quotes are a great way to start or end a team meeting.  Visit our page here!

Corporate meeting planners often ask us if we offer Keynote Speakers. We know the importance of kicking off the day with an inspiring speech. It was important to us to not only add keynote speakers to our lineup but to program full day events that entertain, motivate and inspire your group.

Keynotes are critical

We introduce Full Day events, a series of 3 events in one day for your group. Each program relates and connects to the next. Start the day with a 60-minute inspirational keynote, designed to set the tone and encourage maximum participant impact. We’ve partnered with Tom Leu, a dynamic keynote speaker, and corporate trainer. Tom offers unique proprietary content with one-of-a-kind “edutainment” you can’t get anywhere else.

Tom Leu’s Corporate Kick-Off Keynotes will be customized to your event and your companies goals.  BEST offers a keynote to kick off every team building program.  Strategic communication affecting improved productivity is not only valuable but also necessary for next-level professionals in today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected world. Tom’s keynotes can also be done as a stand-alone.

Introducing Full Day Events

With the addition of Kick-off keynotes, BEST facilitates fun and meaningful full-day events for your group based on their needs and desired outcomes. So instead of a two-hour window to pack everything in, start with a Kick-off Keynote, followed by an inspiring Interactive Program and then end with a rewarding Team Building Event to wrap up the day!

Whether in the conference room, boardroom, ballroom or convention center, BEST will facilitate three programs that all relate to one another and share common vantage points and strategies for success.

Are you in the planning stages of your upcoming conference? Is your company looking to add a day to its agenda that includes a motivational kickoff, an interactive activity, and a group team building activity? Then Full Day Events with BEST are for you!

Oprah Winfrey once said, “Great communication begins with connection. What makes us different from one another is so much less important than what makes us alike—we all long for acceptance and significance. When we recognize those needs in ourselves, we can better understand them in others, and that’s when we can set aside our judgments and just hear.” Communication amongst teams is successful in organizations not necessarily when everyone agrees on every topic, but when the dialogue continues in spite of disagreements. The team members must recognize they are working toward a common goal and that everyone should have the opportunity to be heard. Teams can be successful and have disagreements so long as communication continues. It’s when the communication breaks down and stops that even the smallest of issues can bring down a team. Below are some common team communication struggles and how Best Corporate Events can help.

Getting Defensive

Sharing your ideas with your team is a vulnerable thing to do, that is hard for people to do. It comes with the inherent risk that our ideas will be rejected or looked down upon. Even so, teamwork and communication are all about creating an environment where everyone’s ideas and opinions are valued and heard. Like Oprah said in the quote above, “all of us long for acceptance and significance.” When people feel they are not accepted and that their contribution is not significant or valued, they will get defensive and shut down. They will lash out trying to force their opinion by silencing others, or they silence themselves and refuse to communicate to avoid judgment by others.

Best Corporate Events’ “Total Recall” team building communication activity helps teams improve their skills in communication by setting clear role expectations. In this activity, teams of 5 attempt to recreate a small structure that only one of them can see by using clear, concise communication. Each team member has a defined role and must communicate clearly, asking clarifying questions of one another to complete the structure. This activity can significantly increase a team’s ability to communicate clearly and work through defensiveness.

Not Communicating Confidently

With communication and teamwork, it’s often not what you say, but how you say it that matters. A solid, sincere idea can be discounted if it’s communicated without confidence. An idea doesn’t necessarily have to be fully formed nor does the presenter have to have all of the information before he or she can communicate that idea confidently. The one expressing the idea does, however, need to feel confident that the team accepts he or she and that his or her contribution is valuable.

Teams who are struggling to present their ideas clearly and confidently or just want to improve their presentation skills should consider taking Best Corporate Events’ “Presentation Skills Training.” This training will enable team members with the skills to present their ideas clearly and powerfully.

Personality Differences

Diverse teams can provide for greater innovation and perspective, but they can also provide for greater conflict as different personalities collide. Members of a team don’t have to be best friends, but they do need to be able to get along and work together. While different personalities can cause individuals to struggle to understand others’ points of view, they can also be a great asset to a team as each personality type comes with its strengths and inherent talents. All personality types can work together if they have a common goal and strive to understand each others’ point of view.

Knowing what type of personality each team member has can help the team better understand each others’ tendencies and strengths and thus work together better. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test can be a great way of doing this. Doing the MBTI test with your team though without the help of a professional who understands the meanings of the results can result in team members profiling one another or feeling like they’ve being given a label. A professional from Best Corporate Events will guide your team through the test and help each team member see the strengths that he or she brings to the team and realize the increased understanding that can come to a team as they understand each others’ personality preferences.

Conclusion

Communication and teamwork ultimately come down to recognizing that everyone is united in wanting the team to be successful. The willingness to communicate is all that is needed for successful team communication. After that, developing greater communication skills will increase the speed at which that successful communication happens. Communicating clearly, listening without getting defensive, speaking with confidence, and understanding the strengths and characteristics of all personality types can help a team reach its potential and achieve the synergy that’s only possible in a true team.

Welcome to the BEST blog, a collection of team building articles, industry insights and news about our large collection of programs and events offered in locations across North America.

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We have been working on improving our website. If you experience any difficulties with our forms, please let us know at sales@bestcorporateevents.com.

If you have immediate questions, please contact us at:

    If you have immediate questions, please contact us at:

    Phone: 800.849.8326
    Email: Sales@BestCorporateEvents.com

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    Programs can be delivered anywhere in North America.

    We have been working on improving our website. If you experience any difficulties with our forms, please let us know at sales@bestcorporateevents.com.

      If you have immediate questions, please contact us at:

      Phone: 800.849.8326
      Email: Sales@BestCorporateEvents.com

      What is a Keynote Speaker?

      Keynote Speaker is an often-misunderstood term associated with simply a motivational speaker, breakout speaker, industry expert, etc. Most professional speakers are not actual trained Keynote Speakers, who are specialists, therefore in much lower supply, and in higher demand.

      Keynote Speakers are experienced, professional communicators who engage an audience, capturing the essence of a client’s meeting. They are able to highlight it to their audience while simultaneously delivering their own key concepts and proprietary content in an entertaining and impactful way. Most companies understand that this specialization is very much worth the time (around an hour) and the investment.

      In order to capture the perfect essence, a Keynote Speaker spends the necessary time researching a client’s industry, their issues, and their audience to craft a customized presentation into a unique and distinctive moment specifically for the client’s event.

      As a top Keynote Speaker, Tom Leu strategically uses compelling storytelling, humor, powerful visuals, audio and video clips, and audience participation elements to weave an impactful message into your event in a fun and memorable way. Tom can also pair his Keynote with Best Corporate Events programming, laying a foundation and setting a tone that best prepares participants for maximum engagement in the forthcoming team events that day.