Last week I attended TEDxLincolnSquare: Risk Takers and Change Makers. The theater was intimate and cozy, and the messages were big and bold. You could sense the emotion and passion as each of the diverse presenters spoke.
I also had the privilege of meeting up with the organizers, Jamie Broderick and Tricia Brouk. It was easy to see that the two of them encompassed the strength, tenacity, courage, humor, and joy that I experienced throughout the event.
Organizing a TEDx event is challenging, but organizing one for the first time and selling out in three months is extraordinary.
After being introduced by mutual friend Petra Kolber, they told me, they met for lunch. There was no specific agenda, but by the end of meal Tricia had hired Jamie, a visibility strategist and connector, to help launch The Big Talk, Tricia's public speaking company. And now they were collaborating to produce this ambitious event.
Like that first lunch, their collaboration is both open-ended and highly productive. By bringing together their respective worlds of business and entertainment, they have created a unique perspective that expands on the thought-provoking format of TEDx talks with Broadway performances, state-of-the-art technology, and a sense of community and deep connection with the audience. It's a great example of how trusted partnerships can expand the scope of success.
Here are their five best tips for effective collaboration:
1. Set expectations. From deadlines to the division of tasks to the timing of communication, make sure expectations are clear and detailed. Tricia and Jamie were able to produce amazing results in record time because they held everyone involved with the event accountable and ensured commitments were kept.
2. Respect each partner's area of expertise. Tricia and Jamie's complementary skills provided the power behind their success. They made major decisions together, like the selection of speakers, dividing the rest of the work according to what each does best: Tricia wrote the script, rehearsed the performances, and ensured that the sound and lights were perfectly executed, while Jamie filled the seats, built the buzz, and managed the social media and ticket sites. Empowering each partner to make decisions where they excel eliminated the tedious review of details that can create tension and bottlenecks.
3. Build a strong community of support. Jamie and Tricia used their connections to recruit a team of volunteers, hire a talented production crew and attract top speakers from across the country. They raised sponsorship support and sold out the event with targeted recruitment of sponsors and audience members via Facebook groups. And they engaged their audience ahead of time by providing a group video chat, requesting photos to be used in one of the presentations, and encouraging attendees to identify themselves as a risk taker or change maker on their name tag. Actions like this create community, build excitement and improve the overall experience.
4. Communicate constantly. Jamie and Tricia connected almost daily, encouraging each other and sharing ideas and updates. Keeping information flowing within your team is essential, but it's also important to keep your community updated. Send announcements and reminders, and have a plan for responding to questions and issues. Creating a conversation that involves everyone is a great way to build commitment.
5. Share your gratitude and keep it fun. Tricia and Jamie celebrated every time something amazing happened, such as having a mind-blowing rehearsal, landing a cast member from Hamilton or being featured in Inc. Acknowledging team members' contributions and celebrating wins in public helps spread excitement, and an environment of gratitude attracts positive energy and exerts a good influence on everyone involved.
No matter how much or how little the work you do has in common with staging a major event, no matter how large or small your team, these principles will serve you well. Any partnership will benefit from an enthusiastic commitment to building trust, communication, community, and excitement.