Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Bond with your Partners & Customers
You don’t need it... but it helps
You better have it!
(Speaking Topics for Corporate Events)
Dave was standing on this bus of students we had never met - with a microphone in one hand , exhorting them to sing and dance, as the bus’s stereo system cranked the 1973 Spinners song, “Been Working my Way Back to you Babe”…
Let me tell you about my buddy Dave Orlando. I’ve known him since we were in high school, and he is one of the most charismatic guys you will ever meet…
He’s that guy who lights up a room when he walks in…10 minutes later he has a crowd around him - and you can’t hear what they’re saying but they keep breaking out laughing hysterically every couple of minutes...
So back in high school I was in student council, and had the chance to get elected to the State Student Council representing Pennsylvania… We were all heading out to Arizona for the National Student Council Convention where Dave and I and were going to give a big-time presentation called “Making Your Presence Felt”.
We were meeting the bus filled with 46 other exuberantly motivated fellow high-schoolers and were look looking forward to both getting to know them & establishing ourselves as good leaders for a Pennsylvania delegation - since we were the State’s chosen presenters… How would we unite the group, and how much time would it take? Maybe a couple days into the cross-country trip, maybe longer since we didn’t know any of them yet? I had planned to meet Dave right at the bus where all 48 PA kids were saying goodbye to their parents for the two weeks, and I would discuss it with him onsite.
OK I thought, as I looked at my notes… I was starting to feel more confident about bringing this diverse team together…We would have a plan that could work just fine over the next several days.
After all it was natural it might take at least a few days to bring this team together… OK probably not by Ohio or Indiana, but by Missouri or Kansas I had hope! And then as I boarded the bus, the scene I saw in front of me made me crumple up my timeline and toss it…
Dave was standing at the head of the aisle - on this bus of students we had never met - with a microphone in one hand & the other hand waving & pumping in the air, exhorting them on to sing and dance, as the bus’s surprisingly decent stereo system cranked the 1973 Spinners song, “Been Working my Way Back to you Babe”… To my amazement, half of the bus was already up out of their seats in the aisles - Boogieing, Hustling, & Doin da Bump. They were as happy as imaginable to be part of this team spurred from Dave’s charisma.
Challenge solved! & before the bus driver had even put the stick shift into gear… He knew that those talented kids were just dying to unify – he just needed to be a guy to provide the spark.
Charisma goes a long way to bring a team together.
In my last job, I had the opportunity to unite the East & West Channel Sales teams together. Were they themselves or their customer requirements all different? Nah...
I remembered Dave grabbing the mic and making it happen. So I rolled out a fun initiative to get them all certified on the company’s training portal, offered prizes plus a little team competition, and those same talented kids who were dying to unify in the 80s, became a team.
Charisma continues to go a long way to bring teams together.
PS: a note on personal charisma:
Years later I would find myself 8000 miles away in the desert during Operation Desert Storm, and in 1990 there was not yet email or cell phones. (I know that sounds ridiculous even as I type it.) Dave had gotten his first great job out of college at GE, and I was deployed to Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia for the buildup of forces before the Desert Storm invasion. We were all alone out there - no Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or Facebook – not even landline phones to communicate with loved ones back in the world. Email itself had not yet been created. Dave found a way regardless to send me a computerized message via a newly-discovered platform known as Prodigy, transcibed by an army clerk at HQ, and thus sent me my very first letter of the war. Sigh, comfort, relief, love – this guy could figure out anything. The chill and charisma of the note mentally relaxed me and got me ready to deal out tough decisions that were forthcoming.
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