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Motivational Speech to Small Team

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 23 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
Motivational Speech Speech Motivational

Making a motivational speech to a small team is a very different affair to standing up in a large room and talking to hundreds of people. For a motivational speech to work well with a small team it should be something that appears casual, with little fuss.

Dynamics of Being a Manager of a Small Team

As a manager of a small team you may not be aware that every time you speak you influence the team, whether it is conscious or not. So you don't have to arrange a room for a motivational speech, the setting can be the closing remarks to a team meeting or even a lunch or a drink in the pub, as long as all the members of the team are present and you have their attention.

What you say will depend on the situation that has arisen and why a motivational speech is in order. It could be that someone has resigned or been made redundant, or the company's situation is uncertain. It could equally be that things are fine but there needs to be some improvement, a raising of the game.

Introducing a Motivational Speech

The introduction for a speech to a small team is very different to addressing a larger audience, particularly if you are going for the casual approach. If you have bad news to impart or there is an aspect of the team's performance that needs improvement, then you need to top and tail that negative message between two positive points.

This is known as the 'feedback sandwich' or 'motivational sandwich' technique. Start by delivering a positive message then make the switch towards the tricky bit by opening up about the problem or situation.

  • Pick a moment when the whole team is present
  • Start when you have everyone's attention or can get it easily
  • Move into the speech without the team realising that what you're saying had been prepared
  • Use casual language, not an oratory style
  • Say something positive before moving toward the sticky part

Example: While we're here I've been thinking about how we're doing and I can tell you that the MD was really pleased with our performance this quarter / the last project we completed. Everyone's concerned with the strength of the company going into the economic downturn / coping now that Jim is no longer here.

A motivational speech to a small team is one where you should absolutely use 'we' rather than 'I' or 'you'; unless you are actually tasking someone or yourself with something. Also avoid words like 'but' and 'however' and replace them with 'and' as well. It's all part of making a positive motivational speech rather than a lecture.

The Meat of a Motivational Speech

Now we enter the tricky bit. You need to recognise whatever the problem or situation is (after all if everything was fantastic, a motivational speech wouldn't be necessary) and lay it out without being judgmental or negative.

  • State the situation or problem in a neutral manner
  • Avoid blaming anyone, either inside or outside the team
  • If appropriate ask the team to some up with solutions, this puts control in their hands
  • Otherwise outline any changes to be made.
Example: We're not stupid, everyone knows that we will have more on our plate now that our numbers are down. We need to look at everything we do and make sure that it's actually doing something to help make money or lower costs. I'd like you all to review your days and think about dropping some tasks or changing them. If they are tasks that other departments need you to do, discuss them with me and I'll see if we can make them easier in conjunction with those departments.

Finish the Feedback Sandwich

End on an upbeat note so that the team goes away invigorated and make sure that everyone is clear about what they are doing.
  • Smile and sit or stand upright
  • Talk about the positive things happening in and around the team at the moment.
  • Make sure everyone knows what they are doing
  • Finish with a surge of energy
Example: Fantastic, I'm really pleased that we are able to tackle problems in such a collaborative way. That's agreed then; Liz and John will look at the interaction with marketing and see if it can be streamlined, Gerry will check with IT to see if we can simplify some of our reporting requirement. Thank you all, if you need help let me know and otherwise we'll get together again next week to see how it's going.

Avoid 'Gung-Ho' Motivational Clich├ęs

Note that in a UK-based company 'gung-ho' language of the 'yo team' nature isn't likely to go down too well, unless it's something that's already worked its way into the culture of the company.

So keep it restrained but make sure that your team are aware that you are pleased with the way things are going.

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