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 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2KZ41EOd1Q

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 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orCK8svCXxg


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) atiq.ahmed@mlse.com

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: http://www.pantone.com/pages/index.aspx?pg=21131
at 03:02PM
Let the music play
September is Road Show month with travels across Canada.

Here are a few NEW things on the music scene that I discovered for you to check out in these cities


  • Hamilton has an amazing music community and fans that are both fiercely loyal and loyally fierce
    • Supercrawl, primarily located in the James Street North area of Hamilton is an annual music festival that in 5 short years has expanded its attendance to 50,000+. There are too many highlights to mention – check out the line-up for this weekend at this link:

      http://www.supercrawl.ca/supercrawl/music/


  • Legends like Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot headline Ottawa's Folk Festival - but also check out some new folk favourites like the Sheepdogs that won a slew of Juno Awards this year or one of Canada’s best up and coming bands, Hey Ocean!
at 10:01PM
Before the Summer Ends
The cooler air this morning was a chilling reminder that autumn is just around the corner.

Here are a few hot things to check out before the summer ends:


We will be back with more Free Ideas in September with a new look and forma - stay tuned for more...
at 11:16AM
Springtime Poaching Season Begins...
I briefly touched on this topic back in March and many of you asked for more details and measures you can take to resolve the poaching.

Poaching? A hotel poacher is a housing company that well basically STEALS your delegate, sponsor and exhibitor lists looking for ways to contact people that may be looking to book rooms for your conference or tradeshow. Watch out for these companies that go fishing for your attendees and take action!

Here is how:
  • You have every right to warn your attendees in your publications, websites, e-newsletters, exhibitor manuals, email blitz, twitter and Facebook (any vehicle you use to communicate with your attendees)
  • Be clear and concise in your messaging – here are a few I have seen on various association websites -
    • Beware of solicitation from unauthorized hotels and housing agencies...
    • We encourage you to book your accommodation through our sanctioned supplier...
    • We would like to make you aware of a situation that has been brought to our attention from several of our attendees. There are companies (xxxxHousingxxxx) who have been contacting our exhibitors to assist with hotel reservations...
  • Include the links to your housing company or department or hotel in every piece of material you send out so that all attendees can book directly and have the information handy all the time and name your accommodation partner – so everyone is familiar with their respectability.
  • Ask your attendees to be the watchdog and report on any unauthorized solicitation
  • You can ask some of the attendees you know better (sponsors committee members, board members) to forward any emails they receive from these fraud organizations so that you can investigate further
  • Warn them about possible cancellation penalties and credit card fraud and advise them to take precautionary measures

Not only can these scammers cause havoc on your bedroom pick-up that could result in attrition penalties, it can also damage your contractual obligations to your hotel and your own housing partner. Most importantly it can ruin the conference experience for your attendees and we all want our attendees happy and coming back year after year.

Beware and don’t be afraid to call them out and fight back!
at 01:50PM
Luck be a lady tonight...
Not to worry, this blog entry will not join the heated debate about the proposed casino in Toronto – not yet anyway – we will save that thorny topic for future examination.

Today is all about celebration. CanadianSpecialEvents.com applauds Canada’s event professionals each year at its Annual Awards Gala, which is being held this evening in Toronto.



aNd Logistix is proud to be nominated in the following 4 categories:


Best Conference

Mortgage Forum 2012 – 3 day conference held at the Vancouver Convention Centre for the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, featuring tradeshow, educational sessions, Hall of Fame Awards night, and Comedyfest.






Best Tradeshow 

Discovery 2012 - Hosted by the Ontario Centres of Excellence, this 2 day tradeshow showcased the hottest innovations and newest inventions from leading minds from Ontario. Our client attempted a Guinness World Record for World’s Largest Business Mentoring Event and achieved that title with over 320 participants! 





Best Fundraising

Shoppers Drug Mart Charity Classic – this annual golf tournament held at Angus Glen Golf Course, generated over $2 million in revenue through unique sponsorship opportunities for the Shoppers Drug Mart Life Foundation.






Outstanding Logistical Achievement

Cleantech Forum – held in San Francisco, this conference had an outdoor Eco tradeshow component with enormous exhibits including solar panels, wind mills and eco-friendly vehicles. Our team overcame logistical issues of load in, security, and rainy weather.

at 01:16PM
March Madness – the good, the bad and the ugly

The Good –

Rachel met with the team from the Québec Convention Centre last week and they had some great news to share. The Québec City Convention Centre is stepping into the lead as it becomes the first convention centre in Canada (and one of the only few in North America) to provide free, high-quality WiFi access to its clients.

http://convention.qc.ca/en/news/quebec-city-convention-centre-becomes-first-convention-centre-canada-offer-free-high-speed


The Bad –

There are a few travel companies who target large conferences and expos to pinch travel and hotel bookings away from you. Don’t fall victim to these vultures. They are relentless and if they get a hold of your database, will go after every one of your delegates. This can damage your relationship with your own travel suppliers and pilfer from your hotel room pick-up. You have every right to call them out on it. Notify your delegates, exhibitors, and sponsors that these companies are not endorsed by your organization, and to exercise caution when dealing with them. I would be more than happy to provide the names of the various companies I have encountered over the years – just send me an email.


The Ugly –

I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to find any St. Patrick’s Day décor that was - well let’s be honest – not ugly. Try some of these elements to make everyone green with envy:

Real Shamrocks - an oxalis plant


I love the simplicity of this cupcake from...yes Martha Stewart.com


This yummy concoction from CocktailTimes.com doesn't have a hint of green in it, just an abundance of Bailey’s Irish Cream


I Challenge all my décor colleagues to send me some “take away the ugly” ideas that I can post on a future blog.
at 12:16PM
Oscars really shine this year
It's all about sparkle at this year’s Oscars especially at the fête of all fêtes– the Governor’s Ball. This star studded event following the Academy Awards telecast will feature a 120-foot, six-tiered chandelier that was designed specifically for the occasion. The elliptical six-tiered chandelier has 18,000 LED points of light and is bigger than the largest chandelier in the book of Guinness World Records. It will change colors throughout the night. Here is the best photo I've been able find previewing the speculator design:


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oscars-2013-parties-at-academy-421712

Another party I always like to follow is the Elton John event that raises money for his AIDS foundation. The décor is often a trend setter for the season and this year’s colors including a bold mixing of pink, red and gold. Keep this palette in mind when choosing décor element for your upcoming event.
at 03:04PM
Music scene soars in Montreal
Snowed-in nights are no problem for Quebecers this winter. Guest Blogger Lyne Charbonneau, from our Montreal office, tells us all about it in this week’s Free Idea Friday. We have always been big supporters of home grown music and Lyne’s days at Sony Music helped us build our roster of up-and-coming performers. We had Carly Rae Jepsen on our roster years before her 2 Grammy nominations. Shows like this are a great resource. Check out my favorite at the very bottom. And for all of our readers in Quebec – pipe in with your favorites – we will post them on a future blog.

Over to Lyne...

THE VOICE has arrived in Quebec. Or rather, make that LA VOIX. LA VOIX, the Québécois version of the popular sing-off competition show THE VOICE is now airing on Quebec’s French language network TVA. Just like the American version, during the first few weeks, the four coaches will sit with their seats turned away from the performers to judge the singers based solely on their vocals and not their visuals.

LA VOIX drew 5,000 singers for auditions in Montreal and Quebec. Performers are allowed to sing in English, or any other language for that matter. However, much of the music will be in French and from reading various newspaper articles, 40% will be in English. LA VOIX will feature every style of music, from heavy metal to Top 40 to rock to opera.

The judges on LA VOIX are local singers Ariane Moffatt (the face of alternative music), Marie-Mai (the Queen of Quebec Rock – you may know her from Simple Plan), Jean-Pierre Ferland (one of Quebec’s great performer of all times) and Marc Dupré (multi-talented artist, comedian, imitator and singer-song-writer).

The talent and music scene in Québec is strong and well.

Watch LA VOIX on TVA on Sunday nights at 7:30pm or for those of you outside Quebec http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/lavoix

Some of my personal favourites:

SORRY THERE ARE COMMERCIALS BEFORE THE VIDEOCLIP TV PERFORMANCE

Valerie Amyot - at only 21 yrs old – a future star
http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/lavoix/personnages/candidat/valerie-amyot-675431/videos

Brian Tyler:
http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/lavoix/personnages/candidat/brian-tyler-675551/videos/video-brian-tyler-un-bluesman-la-voix-677296

Sabrina & Stephanie Barabe (my husband BENOIT's FAVOURITES… I wonder why?)
http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/lavoix/personnages/candidat/sabrina-et-stephanie-barabe-682246/videos

Jael Bird Joseph (Dana’s favorite – this guy can sing!)
http://tva.canoe.ca/emissions/lavoix/personnages/candidat/jael-bird-joseph-681431/videos
at 02:24PM
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