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Cheer Leadership Tip 52 - Short Talk Strong Side

The stadium is packed with fans of the short talk format! A short talk is a speech given on one particular topic where the person shares their unique point of view. The maximum time frame for short talks is 18 minutes or less. Typically, the presenter focuses the communication of their idea to fit a targeted time frame of 18, 15, 8 or 5 minutes. The focus is very narrow which challenges the listener to think differently about the subject and hopefully take action. As an example, you can view my TEDx talk “What Football Taught Me about the Power of Words” at

Your team members have a wealth of knowledge, ideas and innovative ways to look at existing processes and challenges. Be sure to rotate team members so everyone gets a chance. You could choose a 5, 10, 15 or 18 minute format for your squad to share their ideas. Surely winning plays will come just from giving players an opportunity to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions that will improve the work environment.

Did you know that exposing workers to different skills and know-how from their peers can help them want more from themselves and push them to become better at what they do, while driving them at the same time to contribute to the team with their own insights?

We all have our strengths, talents, and gifts. If we keep these to ourselves in the workplace (even if they don’t directly correlate to our actual job), it ends up being a disservice to ourselves, our team, and the organization. Imagine if Yusef never shared his knowledge on how to be a greener organization with the team or if Brielle keep her amazing artistic abilities to herself? Sure, work would still get done, but an opportunity to create not just a culture of encouragement, but also a culture of dialogue would have been missed!

One way you can help foster an environment of dialogue is by giving your team the opportunity to share their thoughts via TED-style talks. Encourage your team to bring their interests to work (in an appropriate manner with an appropriate topic or area of interest, of course) by sharing their thoughts, ideas, and insights. Doing so will stimulate innovation and problem solving to help your team and organization succeed!

This week, I challenge you to go to the TED website and explore the bounty of talks available. You can search by various interests such as collaboration, communication, or community. Or you can check out one of the editor’s picks or what’s trending. Watch a few videos to get a feel for the spirit of TED and then organize your own mini TED conference at work with your team! Invite other departments and encourage them to participate, as well!

FUN FACT: The story of TED starts in 1984. It began as a conference in Monterrey, California, organized by architect and iconoclast Richard Saul Wurman. Wurman's original vision for TED was to create the "anti-conference" — no boring PowerPoint slides and one-hour lectures. At TED, groups of brilliant people took the stage and talked about the things that fascinated them.


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