The C in Collaboration

This week I had the great opportunity to be the MC at a spiritual conference in Minneapolis. Talk about awesome! My goal as MC was to weave the thread between speakers, video and creative arts and create a golden tapestry for the audience. I envisioned this image and worked towards it in the weeks leading up to the conference. I had about 5 minutes at the front end and a few minutes in between creative artists to tell a couple of stories and let the audience get to know me.

For the conference, they offered an MC coach to support the evening and help you hone your stories in advance. Being an MC can be a little tricky, you have to be able to break your story into bite size pieces, should the stage crew be ready before you are done and you need to say something like, “More on that when I come back.”

A highlight for me was collaborating with the coach. Like myself, she was a former actor, and so she had such great ideas from where to simplify a story, to a couple of ideas on where to add humor in a set up or segue moment. It was fun and helpful. It required some last minute adjustments on my part, but I loved that part too. We had developed an instant rapport and level of trust fueled by her prefacing a suggestion with, “Now this is entirely up to you, but you could also…”

The evening was amazing. Afterwards I profusely thanked my coach and the team behind me. She and the backstage crew were so supportive and helpful.

Here are some thoughts on what makes for great collaboration & please send us your tips too:

C (see) your collaborator.

Take them in, acknowledge their skills and experience, and offer up your skills and talents to step up to a new level of performance.

Establish a level of trust.

Give them room to expand the idea(s), give others a chance to share the responsibilities, and continue to offer information or expertise when your intuition guides you to.

Be grateful and courteous.

I could have done that MC job without help, but I was so much better with it! I did my best to share the light of success with my collaborators through call outs, thanks and that tried and true handwritten note. Because without them, I would have been fine, but I’m not sure I would have felt like the experience was truly amazing.

This to me is the secret of building a high performing team. It’s what makes for great new ideas and a polished product. It brings out the creative genius in you and I. In our shared vision of giving the best to our customers, we step up our game in unison and deliver excellence.

Here’s to more great collaborations! Wahoo! Now you say it!


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