My son's soccer team was down 3-1 at half time and it was looking bleak this weekend. As the coach, I had several minutes to turn around the morale and the momentum before the team hit the field again. Pep talks are critical for changing the course of games and business psychology. Using these ten pep talk tools for your child's team or for your business career will buck up the team and your company associates. These ten ideas will lead to success.
1)Acknowledge Reality--In the introduction line, be real. If you are down, call it like it is. Don't sugarcoat reality or everything else you say will not be trusted. Building tremendous credibility by calling it like it is means they will listen.
2)Be Specific--When you say, " we are losing" that is real (see #1 above) but not sufficient. Don't leave it at that. You must clearly define what are the two or three problem areas that have to be addressed. For example, "we need to move the halfbacks closer to defense so they can retrieve goal kicks."
3)Don't be Personal--We are a team. We are all in this together and we have to refine our strategy to win. Do not say "Tom, you stink as goalie." A better approach is to say, "Tom, we will have Charlie kick the ball on goal kicks from now on."
4)Call Out Star Performers--Several teammates go beyond the call and exert themselves in outstanding fashion. We are in awe of them. Make sure they get public praise because their efforts deserve glory. It will buck them up. The people not called out will aspire to be trumpeted in the next Pep Talk.
5)Rock Star Revelation--Do not just say to Star Performers that you are great and we are in awe of you (see #4 above). Instead be very specific, "Sam's corner kick bent the ball in mid air and arced into the goal without another soul touching it. Brilliant kick and all that practice you have done over the years is paying off--way to go." Imperative you also call out the people that have performed admirable despite negative outcomes like the goalie that let a mere three goals in despite over twenty shots on goal. Call out the indomitable spirit that is present. These outstanding performers are giving it their all to make this a success.
6)Keep it Simple - Do not outline every critique. You saw many issues as coach/manager. If you drill down on each element that could be improved the game would be over before you finish your speech. It is critical to refine the exhaustive list of issues down to the big two or three topics. People need quick insights and brevity. Hammer these few and critical topics.
7)Connect Refinements to Victory--Explain to the team that if we can make these modest changes (there were only three or less) of them, we will win. Assure the team that these modest changes to the plan will yield the win they are working so hard to embrace.
8)Eliminate Distractions--Don't let bystanders and spectators attend the meeting and voice their insights. In the business world, no emails/texts allowed during meetings. We are here to communicate in a vacuum so we have single-minded focus.
9)Be Passionate--Players and colleagues need to know you are in the moment. You are focused on their performance. Transmit your excitement.
10)Radiate Confidence--Talk with complete confidence. Your steady hand at the wheel plus their modest changes will lead to success. Boldly talk of how this game will be won by your team and you have complete confidence in your team and the eventual positive outcome.