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Motivate Your Employees Or Team Members In 10 Easy Ways

Motivate Your Employees Or Team Members In 10 Easy Ways

When it comes to motivating employees, many employers think the only way to do it is by offering more money. Fortunately for your bank balance, that is rarely the case. In fact, according to a recent survey by BNET, now a part of CBSMoneywatch, when asked the question: “What motivates you at work?” Most people responded with something other than money.

“The results showed that doing something meaningful is more important than money or recognition to your employees. Twenty nine percent of respondents said that doing something meaningful was the most motivating thing about work. Money motivated 25 percent, and recognition 17 percent.”

So how can you motivate employees to work better? Try these ideas:

1. Career Path Exploration

You chose your employees because they are great at what they do, but maybe they don’t want to do that forever. Helping your employees grow and expand their responsibilities through additional training opportunities can be very motivating. Let your employees explore their options and find their own path. Maybe they really enjoy their job but want to be better at it — or maybe they’d like to try something different. Job shadow opportunities and classes can be very motivational and help your employees think they’re “getting somewhere.”

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2. Honor Their Personal Lives

Maybe you don’t want to know about your employees’ personal lives but honor the fact that they have one. If you know a mother has a child to pick up from school at the same time everyday and it’s not critical that she sit at her desk during that time, respect that and give her the chance to be there for her child too. If you know she’s a good employee and loves her job, she’ll love it even more if you let her come in early or work from home in the evenings so that she can do the things she needs to do for her children in the afternoon. Doing this will make her a loyal employee who values the work she does for you because you value how she divides her time.

3. Do Unto Others

This is the basic Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” How were you treated when you were an employee and not the president of the company or the owner? Was it bad? Do you wish it had been better? Was it good? Treat your employees as you wish to be treated and you will see the respect flow both ways.

4. Say Thank You

Whether you want to throw an employee recognition party or just pull someone into your office to express your gratitude, saying “thank you” is the single most important and motivating thing you can do for any employee. Write a quick note or an email. Let them know you are paying attention and appreciate the work they do. It takes less than 5 minutes and it can truly make someone’s day.

5. Hold Social Gatherings

Beyond the standard holiday party, try and hold social events for your employees. While everyone has a life outside the office, let’s face it, when you spend eight or 10 hours a day with the same people, you get to know them pretty well. It’s only natural that employees would want to hang out with each other after work. Have a volleyball tournament. Host a cookout. Go to the lake and have a campfire. Invite families. Make your work life a part of an overall “family-like” structure at work.

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6. Give Time Off

Nothing is less motivating than hearing “you don’t have days left in your schedule” when you need a day off. No matter what it’s for, allow your employees to make the call when it comes to taking a day off. According to Bloomberg Businessweek:

“Highly educated employees given autonomy over their own schedules end up working harder because they want to prove who can put in the most time at the office, University of Pennsylvania professor Alexandra Michel found (PDF) after spending 12 years studying the work habits of young executives at two large investment banks. Bankers, software engineers, and lawyers—so-called knowledge-based workers—often work more than 100 hours per week to the detriment of their health, even when nothing urgent demands their attention, she says.

“When employees feel they are required to work more, it motivates them to work less. When given more power to set their own pace, young bankers choose to work longer hours, take less vacation time, and sacrifice personal needs, Michel said in a study published in the summer issue of The Sociological Quarterly. Quoting one of her study subjects, Michel wrote: “When someone left before midnight, you’d hear comments like ‘half a day today?’”

7. Face Time

Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour, says, “When we had fewer than 25 employees, I brought the entire team together at least once a week. We’d talk about a lot of things, including major decisions that were on the table. I listened to everyone’s opinions, and, without fail, they’d bring up things I hadn’t thought of. More important, my team members knew that they were part of the process and that their voices mattered. Employees are more motivated when they feel needed, appreciated, and valued.”

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Bring employees into the room. Ask their opinions. Implement their ideas. It’s motivating to think you have some say in what goes on in your business.

8. Research and Development

Foster creativity and innovation by asking your employees to spend a percentage of each workweek exploring new things and brainstorming new ideas. Some days this might be just surfing the Internet, exploring a half-baked idea but other days could see an employee building a scale model of a new design for the whozit that might be the “next big thing.” Some days this kind of exploration might not go anywhere but other days it could mean the start of something big.

9. Don’t Micromanage

Chances are, unless they’re new to the job, your employee knows how to do the work your asking them to do. Nothing is less motivating than being supervised every step of the way — especially if it’s a task you’ve done a thousand times before. Let go. Let your employees do their work. If a mistake happens, allow your employee to take responsibility and fix it if they can. Think how much time this will free up for you too!

10. Hire “Engines.”

Kevin Plank likes to hire leaders. He calls them engines and they motivate other employees.

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“At Under Armour, I call them engines, and I place them strategically around the organization. Look for people who aren’t afraid to make the big, tough, decisions — people who want pressure and responsibility. They are innately passionate and inspired, and they make other people want to work hard for them. When you find people with these characteristics, use them wisely. They’ll certainly make your job easier, especially when it comes to keeping the rest of your team motivated.”

It’s important, especially in a large organization, to have those people who can help make things work. Motivate these people by letting them know how valuable they are.

Featured photo credit: NBC via i.huffpost.com

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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