Motivating your team is key to the success of any event marketing endeavor. Your team puts in long hours, spends countless nights away from home and plays a major role in ensuring the event goes off without a hitch.
The best managers know how to keep their team going when the going gets tough, when the end seems nowhere in sight and energy starts to wane. They spark their creativity, encourage bravery and reward their efforts. They make it all worthwhile.
When Jane Culcheth-Beard, head of tier 1 events at HP and one of Event Marketer’s 2017 B-to-B Dream Team members, last year was charged with organizing the company’s first global conference for HP’s printer, PC and 3D printing businesses after a 2015 split from its parent company, she infused the project with the spirit of teamwork. “This was not going to succeed as a project unless everybody, all of the team along with the internal extended team and our vendors, worked together and were there for each other, supporting each other and going out of their way to spot if anyone needed help,” she says.
Culcheth-Beard motivated the team by encouraging risk-taking and giving them permission to fail. “We all fail,” she says. “It’s important to be able to not be perfect. So, the first thing is to be supportive of risk-taking and to be brave and not fall back on things you know will work.”
Great advice. Following are additional tips from the Dream Team that you may find useful in motivating your teams. Spoiler alert: Not one of them mentioned financial rewards, time off or donuts as motivators.
1. Don’t Pigeonhole People
Culcheth-Beard encourages team members to take on roles outside of their comfort zones. “Push them,” she says. They’ll appreciate the chance to try new things beyond their usual skill set.
2. Support Risk-Taking
Sean Zielinski, communications director at Harley-Davidson, says the best way to motivate a team is to bring them into new ideas right from the start. “You should be trying something new in every event, taking risks, big and small” he says. The important thing, he adds, is to make sure team members understand what is at stake and what success looks like, then give everyone a part in making the new idea happen.
3. Hear Them Out
Jennifer Heaton, senior manager-trade shows and events at Adobe, believes that there are no bad ideas. She may not use all of them, but encourages members of her team to voice their ideas. “I just try to be inclusive, supportive and get everyone involved, but also to be their safety net, in a way,” she says.
Dream Team captain Helen Stoddard, head of global events at Twitter, agrees with the power of listening when it comes to motivating people. “It’s a simple thing, but a lot of people forget it. I listen and respond to what they are asking for,” she says. “Great dialogue is a key motivator to keep folks going and keep that dynamic strong.”
4. Foster New Experiences
Victoria Lieffring, associate creative director-visual display at Kohler, sends her team to events, fashion shows and trade shows for inspiration and awareness beyond the bath industry, which is another great motivator. “You’re never going to think of new ideas if you’re not experiencing and staying abreast of the trends in the world. We want them to get outside and see different cultures to inspire them and their design ability,” she says.
5. Understand Their Individuality
Charlie Eder, director-global events and client experiences at AOL, searches for that spark that makes each team member unique. “I try to carry that through so they feel that I can motivate them individually in a number of ways,” he says.
Michael Trovalli, vp-experiential marketing at Sage, draws on his understanding of psychology and the human side of the event business to motivate teamwork. He turns to two books as sources for principles in creating meaningful events and motivating his team: “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz and “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.
“Understanding your audience helps drive an event strategy. Understanding your team, as human beings, helps bring that strategy to life,” Trovalli says.