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What is a Team Talk Header
What is a Team Talk
Most Monday mornings start with the slow wind up: the 30 minute cup of coffee, yawning and archiving junk emails, thinking about the great weekend getaway you just had. Or perhaps your Monday barely begins and yet, somehow, you are already behind. At Laney LA, we respectfully reject both scenarios, and favor instead, what has become a beloved, office wide tradition: Team Talks.
Business Manager
Mebra Kisaka headshot


Started 5 years ago in the days of the garage studio, the first Team Talk began with Anthony sharing knowledge from the books he read, or podcasts he consumed.  Very quickly, however, the tradition evolved into dynamic presentations that continually elevated the standard of learning and the quality of delivery each week. Now a fixture of the Laney LA culture, our weekly Team Talks feature rotating, voluntary speakers who present on a variety of topics from Trips to Morocco, to the Study of Shingled Homes, to the History of Ping Pong, and the Art of Emailing.  At it’s core, it is about elevating the collective conscious and sparking creativity, and today, we want to share this with you in the hopes that it continues to inspire.


Garfield Comic Strip - Team Talks

We get it. Monday’s are hard. Everyone knows that. Rather than try to fake it though, we hack the Monday blues through these informal presentations. Sometimes it’s just the speaker and a piece of paper. Sometimes it is a speaker in front of a graphic, dynamic, 20 foot keynote. No matter the scale or scope of the talk, however, there are three things that are always consistent:

  1. There is an undeniable energy in the room when the team gathers around a table first thing in the morning. 

  2. There is an excitement in the air to learn something new or pool creative power in order to solve a design or a problem. 

  3. There is anticipation to come into the office and see what another team member has taken time to prepare. 


Beyond the hack this provides at the start of a day, the Team Talk is also a key tool for professional development. We believe in artful communication, and seek to foster those abilities in every staff member that joins our team. (For more on our thoughts about communication, check out the Soft Skills of Architecture). It’s true: not every individual possesses the charisma to capture an audience. But we believe in the growth that comes from stepping into a challenging situation and sharing a topic that is source of passion. Tailored topics and a supportive audience of teammates are factors that lower the risk to even the most nervous public speaker. For the naturals in our office, it provides a weekly forum to continue to sharpen natural communication, comedic, and elocution abilities. 


Wilbur Wright once said, “ The best dividends on the labor invested have invariably come from seeking more knowledge rather than power”. For Laney LA, Team Talks are our shared investment in the pursuit of knowledge, growth, and learning as a team. So far, the resulting dividends have been exciting to see!  Through these presentations, we have been exposed to mini clinics  on design principles, design philosophy, mentorship, time management, economic trends, global cultures, business principles/best practices, psychology, cutting edge technology, art, and more. In fact, to give you a taste of what we talk about, here’s a list of our best of Team Talks:

  • Peru

  • Courtyards

  • Iceland

  • How to Lead When You’re Not In Charge

  • The Architecture of Happiness

  • Morocco

  • Microtrends Squared

  • The Spirit of Inquiry

  • Power Couples of Architecture

  • Expectations vs Agreements

  • The Power of Moments

  • Homes on the Water

  • Hermosa Beach

  • The Art of Negotiation

  • Samoan Architecture

Team Talk - Image 1

Regardless of job title or years in the industries, every person has a unique perspective, subject matter expertise, and points of passions to share. The team talk provides a forum for the knowledge and information learned through experience, books, travels, or podcasts to be shared for the benefit of everyone. It is knowledge that is cross functional, dynamic, developmental, powerful, and it sticks. 

Today, even this blog stems from our philosophy of sharing knowledge and getting inspired. One day, we hope to share our talks with you directly. But in the meantime, we’d love to hear from you: if you could give or hear a team talk, what would you want to share or learn?

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The Soft Skills of Architecture

By Mebra Kisaka
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By Anthony Laney
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