Free Idea Fridays!

Thawing out from the polar vortex
It's cold out there and while temperatures are plummeting, I thought I would share some ideas on how to thaw the ice and get your own office staff or meeting attendees to warm up to each other.

From time to time clients and colleagues have asked me for suggestions for games to refresh attendees, get them energized, ready to work and into a collaborative mind set.

Here is a list of easy Ice Breakers and team activities that I have collected over the years that may work for your next meeting:

The common pursuit of trivial knowledge

This one is very simple and works well for drop in hospitality rooms or casual settings where attendees are arriving at different times. Put out the playing cards of a Trivial Pursuit game where guests will easily see them. People will automatically start reading the questions to one another instantly and naturally engage in conversations with one another.

Who am I?

Tape a piece of paper with the name of a person, place or thing on the back of each participant, but don't let them know what the paper says. Have attendees mingle around asking each other questions about the word on their back. They can’t directly ask what the word is – they can only ask for hints. This is a great game to refresh people and get them talking to each other.

Penny for your thoughts

Break people into small groups at a volunteer meeting or first gathering of a volunteer board and give each person a penny. Ask them to introduce themselves to the group and talk about what they were doing during the year on their coin.

Pick Pocket

This activity is a mini scavenger hunt which doesn’t require a great deal of space or preparation. Participants hunt through their pockets, purses, wallets and briefcases.

Organize attendees into groups of five to ten.
  • Give each participant a Pick Pocket List of 10 items (items listed should be things that are normally found in a wallet or handbag like a nickel, a points card, photograph of children, a mobile device, mints or gum)
  • Tell groups they have 2 minutes to come up with as many items from the list as they can. Tell them that each item is worth
    2-5 points.
  • Explain that they may make a reasonable substitution, but if they do, that item will be worth less. For example, someone may have an Aeroplan card rather than an Air Miles card.
  • After 2 minutes, ask groups to count their points.
  • Ask groups to share what items they got from the list and which substitutions they made.

Cocktails and Dreams

A la Tom Cruise, teams mix up their own cocktails, collaborating to win the tastiest and most attractive concoction from a range of identical ingredients. (Think reality shows like the Cocktail Chronicles or Battle Mixology). Make fruity virgin versions for meetings where alcohol may not set the right tone.
at 04:00PM
Do the Hustle…
If this week’s Golden Globe nod and Oscar nomination are any indication of success then it looks like AMERICAN HUSTLE is the movie to watch and transform into your next great event.

As you know I find it irresistible to use movies as an inspiration for event themes, décor and music ideas.

AMERICAN HUSTLE is an enhanced return to a popular 70’s theme event. From the fashion to the furniture to the funky music the movie offers some bright ideas for event elements.
Here are a few concepts to help you create the ultimate throwback to the 1970s:
  • For lounge furniture – white, white and more white but try paten white – this glossy option adds a fresh twist.
  • Embellish your table settings with a luminescent glow using golden-threaded organza linens then add sequins, chrome lamps, embossed menus and even faux fur.
  • The 70’s may evoke images of harvest gold and chocolate brown but strong vibrant colours like turquoise also play into the mix. Be brash; be bold, and over-the-top!
  • For music options, start the reception with classic rock cuts from ELO, Elton John and Chicago then elevate the energy at the after party with some Donna Summer dance classics at a Studio 54 re-enactment.
  • Food inspiration - any Italian menu would connect to the plot of this crime drama set in New Jersey and for a little fun don’t forget to add a simulated pill popping candy bar for dessert.

Looking for other movies that offer creative themes? Look at the films that are nominated for best cinematography or animation. These stunning motion pictures offer plenty of substance for creating out-of-this-world environments.

GRAVITY - an AV manager's greatest fantasy creating a 360-degree outer space atmosphere. You can go starry-night elegant or retro sci-fi. Plus an icy luge of Russian Vodka is the perfect feature for your Bar.

Check out this YouTube clip of Lighticles an audio visual animation using particle effects HD -

Don’t want to commit to an entire theme then try using it as a conference opener to grab the audience’s attention – check out this visual eye opener -

FROZEN - a fantasy landscape of sparkling ice, shimmery fabrics and glittery lights. Crystals, icy blue fabrics, and snowflake patterned gobos are just some of the templates that can be used to create this FROZEN theme event. Use these elements to layer the look as much as you can. And if you don’t want to commit yourself to the whole theme try just a frozen dessert station featuring liquid nitrogen frozen drinks and ice cream bars.

This weekend – watch a few movies!

at 01:30PM
2014 - Game On

My husband and I started off the New Year braving the cold and snow at the NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor. Huddled in the trenches of the Big House with 105,000 frosty hockey fans, we had no regrets on our decision because it was truly a once in a life time experience.

Though I have always promoted sporting events as a team builder, my day at the Winter Classic really made me understood what it meant to bond with the crowd (even though they were strangers) we quickly connected on several levels because of our shared experience. And we all know that it is the “experience” that provides that biggest ROI.

Now if it’s something big you had in mind (think Super Bowl or perhaps the Indy 500 or the Masters) for your highest producers and most important clients, the event will guarantee your award recipient will enjoy a sports experience they won’t soon forget and if you go as a group - expect to grow closer to the people you go with.

Many of these iconic events have well deserved reputations earned over the years because of the magnitude, exclusivity (limited availability) and tradition that goes with the event. Take our Winter Classic experience; the enormity of the event and everything associated with it from the pre-game activities like tailgating, the kids playing hockey on the back pond during intermissions to all of the dancing in the stands to keep warm and the high fives with total strangers when the Leafs scored made it an experience that you just have to be a part of and most importantly, will be envied by everyone who watched it on TV.

On a smaller scale, finding the perfect sporting event to motivate your employees or say thank you to your clients locally isn’t difficult; especially here in southern Ontario where the sports franchises are abundant (regardless of the fans being loyal or fickle).

You don't necessarily need the comfy confines of stadium/arena suites or private boxes for a sports event to be memorable. And it doesn’t have to be a group activity either. Sitting in the thick of things with everyday fans, enjoying a hotdog with a beer and box of popcorn with friends/colleagues, can be just as much fun. Make sure to include an extra ticket or two so a friend, family member, or significant other to make the experience more enjoyable. Most people don’t want to watch the game alone. Programs, souvenirs and autographed memorabilia are a great way to enhance the experience.

My "go to" sports guy is Atiq Ahmed from Maple Leaf Sports +Entertainment. Atiq keeps me in the know on what is happening on all things sports including soccer. He tells me that we’ll start to hear much more about Toronto FC in the news – they are doing big things for this upcoming soccer season.

Feel free to reach out to him for special access to hard to get tickets and discounted tickets (when possible)

BTW – I am using the new Pantone Colour of the year - RADIANT ORCHID. The hue which is a perfectly blended mix of purple and pink is so versatile. Pantone suggests using an RGB of 200/107/168 but I went a little lusher using 162/60/128. And don’t be surprised to see this colour (or shades of it) easily paired with many other colours and patterns for décor options this year – think rich browns, radiant blues, animal prints, metallics and even red. You can’t help but feel happy setting your eyes on this fantastic colour...even on this dull and dreary January day it will make you smile.

Try it out or check out more shades:
at 03:02PM