Team Bonding and Team Building: Creative Thinking with a Melody

A week ago: shortly after my TEDx Talk officially dropped on YouTube, I was booked and delivered a songwriting team building workshop for a coaching mastermind group in Chesapeake Beach, MD.

It was a two and a half hour workshop, where each member met me with a little trepidation, and nervousness about what songwriting might look like for them. The results, however, were powerful.

Unlike most team building activities that often come to mind for people [think typical corporate team building activities like a murder mystery, a game show, trivia questions, and 30 minutes- / 60 minutes- / 90 minutes- small teams challenge activities such as scavenger hunts, a trivia game, or an escape room - or online team building exercises in the post-pandemic virtual space]: this particular mastermind group found that writing their own lyrics not only gave them an opportunity to

  • connect with their team members

  • remember and tap into their why as to what drives their business [shout out to Simon Sinek for his TED Talk on why that is important]

  • recognize the power of their voice in a unique way

  • and, of course, have fun.

BUT the lyrics they ended up writing turned out to be contenders for their own entrepreneurial company theme song. Not a jingle, like most companies, but an actual song [companies such as Starbucks, Apple, Facebook and PWC all have theme songs - you can check them out here].

Who would have thought that lyric writing could not only be beneficial for team building, but also for the health and wealth of a company?

First, let me give you a little backstory:

I moved to Washington DC in 2015 with the quirky idea of approaching a career in music completely differently to most. I wanted to busk [street perform], play shows around the country, and... connect with people on a soul level. As we all know, music is a language unlike any other: bridging gaps between economic status, gender identities, races and languages. Starting my music career in the States as a street performer was unconventional, but I used to joke that it was a different kind of marketing that didn't just show people who I was, but it helped the public - my audience - to weirdly connect with each other as they would stop to watch and listen.

It was through busking that I met and became friends with Dr Angela Lauria of the Author Incubator: a coaching program that helps wannabe authors to write and publish their own books. It was through busking that I ended up playing shows with people like Dave Chapelle, and performing for people like Marianne Williamson... but despite the people I was meeting, and the experiences I was being blessed with: one thing became abundantly clear: the sense of comradery, community and connection that people were finding as a result of my lyrics, music and performances.

What might have begun as strangers enjoying a show ended up being an exercise in -team bonding, -communication, and -boosted morale, even amidst stressful political and social climates across the country.

Music simply helped people to remember that we aren't alone.

together_we_rise by theamat - Emma G

In 2018, Dr Angela Lauria commissioned me to write my first company song: Together We Rise... a song that was specifically written to remind her team and her authors about the importance of teamwork, team bonding, communication skills, cooperation, and basically everything that comes with being part of a team. Together We Rise was written after countless conversations with the authors about their fears, their hopes and dreams, and - of course - how they were each supporting each other to overcome and thrive.

As a team.

The song ended up being the theme song for the company: to boost morale, behave as the fun backdrop of team building activities and team building events, and behave as the soundtrack for positive memories associated with the company.

It worked a dream.

In 2020: I had the opportunity to write a theme song for another inspiring woman: 4x best selling author Marianne Williamson. You may recognize her most famously, however, for the following quote:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

How does one write a song for such an iconic human? Well, it happened as a spiritual download whilst in the carpark of a grocery store in McLean, Virginia. This is what happened:

But while commissioned theme songs can be an effective and powerful tool for boosting inner-workplace communication, connection, and collaboration; there is simply no better activity to engage team members, coaching clients or even students than through the art of a songwriting workshop.

How does a songwriting workshop benefit a team?

  • Songwriting workshops can be catered for either individuals as they work autonomously to both recognize their inner power, as well as the impact of the team when it comes to their own personal development, growth, learning and business/

  • Songwriting workshops can be directed more specifically for smaller teams of 2-4 individuals to emphasize the power and importance of collaboration, communication skills, teamwork and strategy [yes, strategy is an important part of the songwriting process!]

  • Songwriting workshops can also focus on honoring the strengths, vulnerabilities, visions and missions of each individual, which can have a powerful affect on the rest of the group: increasing the sense of comradery, work ethic, and teamwork.

Of course, with clear and appropriate instructions and the right songwriting activity facilitator: a songwriting workshop doesn't need to take hours... they can be quick and easy, hammer home all team building objectives, and - of course - be so much fun.

Here's an example of one of the lyric sheets that one person from last week produced:

"You are powerful - I want you to know - The world is listening - Now's the time to grow"

Just imagine what kind of affect lyrics like these could have on the rest of your team, clients or workspace? Corporate team building activities don't have to simply focus on trust falls, scavenger hunts, and problem solving... especially in year 2022.

  • Songwriting workshops do focus on trust - through emotional vulnerability.

  • Songwriting workshops do focus on problem solving - through brainstorming ways to effectively communicate one's ideas, thoughts and solution in a creative way.

  • Songwriting workshops do focus on fun - after all: who doesn't enjoy music?

  • Songwriting workshops do focus on creative thinking - and creative solutions: which is imperative when it comes to problem solving for companies and organizations.

  • Most importantly, though, songwriting focuses on holding space for, honoring and celebrating each and every team member, client and student. After all: when your team members, clients and students feel recognized and valued: it's incredible how much more productive and positive they can become - especially when it comes to building team morale.

So... what does a songwriting workshop look like?

There are many ways to conduct an effective team building songwriting workshop, especially when it comes to fitting your businesses/classrooms specific objectives. The main benefits of songwriting, however can include:
  • Learning techniques on minimizing overwhelm through a technique I call "word vomit"

  • Developing alternative methodologies of communication to facilitate interpersonal relationships within the workplace/coaching space/classroom [music and lyric writing tap into a part of our conscious brains that typical conversation doesn't always allow].

  • Problem solving through song structure, lyrical structure, and adding melody

  • Creative thinking: imperative for problem solving for both big businesses, and small group settings.

  • A sense of personal achievement for team members.

  • Learning creative tools to develop a strong sense of connection, teamwork and collaboration.

Best of all: at the end of a songwriting workshop: each team member will have a tangible product that they have created themselves [either individually or as a team] that they can each use for their business, workspace or clients and students.

Each lyrical creation will serve as an inspiring, motivating and powerful theme song that relates back to you and your business, as well as their journey.

If you are curious about how a songwriting workshop might contribute to the development and culture of your business, workspace or classroom, I'd love to tell you more about how I can help!

Click here to book a call with me to go over your upcoming event, the objectives of the event, and how songwriting can contribute to your team building events and activities.

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