Bringing Your Team Together for the Holidays

w/ David Goldstein, Alexandra Pett, and, Sharon Fisher

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Transcript - Bringing Your Team Together for the Holidays

Rich: On this episode of team building saves the world. One of the more popular virtual events that we have to offer getting

Alex: drunk.

David: That’s where we’ve had the heads, the headstart, because we already do that. It’s just a matter of translating that to virtual. And I think we’ve all done that really well.

Rich: But how?

Alex: It’s what we do. David was mentioning is what we’ve done and what we’ve done for years and what we do best.

David: No, I know Alex, you know, sent out mixology kids.

We sent out, we sent out ginger, bread houses

Alex: I still have nightmares about the ginger bakers,

Rich: if it is so up and down, if it is such a, I don’t know what next week is bringing, how were you guys able to maintain it?

Sharon: We’re pretending we’re Canadians and drinking.

Rich: Hello team. It’s me. Your old friend. Rich Rininsland host of team building saves the world. The show where I speak to the leaders and innovators of the team, building industry from all across the globe, trying to find out what about that industry is so important, especially in the world of today. And today we’re looking into the not too distant future and seeing what the holidays have to bring with the sales director, Eventology Vancouver British Columbia, Alexandra Pett the CEO and chief idea sparker for Play with a Purpose, Sharon Fisher, and COO and creator of opportunities for TeamBonding, Mr. David Goldstein. But first I need to share some love with my supporters at team bonding. If your team is ready to experience teamwork through the power of play, then visit team bonding.com to learn more.

But now team I’m really looking forward to continuing this conversation. And welcoming catalyst north America, Alex, Pett Sharon Fisher, and longtime friend of the show. David Goldstein. Give him some love everybody.

David already knows this ladies, but that’s just a small collection of people. I keep trapped under my desk just to applaud you. Welcome. Thank you so much for coming to the show, everyone.

Sharon: Thanks for having us reminisce.

Rich: So just to share a little personal thing with you. This morning after dropping my daughter off at her job, I went grocery shopping. And while I was there, there was already Halloween treats set up on these candy aisles or as I like to call it home away. So already people are looking forward to the holidays. The weather is starting to turn a little cooler, especially I assume in BC, but nowhere like it in Florida, right. Sharon yet mean you still gotta be

Sharon: Exactly right.

Alex: I’m not sure about that. We’re a solid thrity four degree heat today.

Rich: That’s is that Fahrenheit? You gotta remember we’re American. We know nothing,

but people’s eyes. People’s eyes are starting to look toward the holidays. So what kinds of things do we have to do?

David: I think the first thing to that is for us to decide and for our clients to decide whether they’re going to be virtual or in person for the whole works.

Rich: Yeah.

David: That’s where it starts.

Rich: Okay.

Alex: Yeah. It’s interesting actually, because just in one, this last one week I’ve had inquiries for both. So people really don’t know. I don’t think where we can be. And that’s the, that’s the interesting thing about it. I’ve had orchestrate in one call and then I’ve had quizzes in another virtual quizzes in another. So it’s going to be really interesting to see how it goes,

Rich: Alex, where is Canada standing right now? As far as the pandemic?

Alex: Um, we’ve actually just recently started to see some of the in-person events actually start to cancel again, um, for the fall. Um, so we’re still, I would say. 25% of our inquiries are in person right now.

75% is still virtual. Yeah. And some of the ones that have that we’re going ahead for September, started to fall off again, as our numbers start to climb

Rich: and Sharon play with it. This is all over the U S but you yourself are based out of Florida. What are you seeing?

Sharon: Yeah, we’re seeing the exact same thing as Alex.

We lost six events this week, six live events this week because folks are starting to get to starting to get a little bit nervous again. So I feel for all those people on that planning side, that we’re so excited and so thrilled. And so like wanting to get back to live . Well on that road and now bam. Now they’re having to be right back in the turmoil that we were in exactly one year ago, when we were trying to make decisions on which way we’re going to go, was it going to be safe?

Wasn’t it going to be safe? So I would suspect that they’re probably getting tired of trying to make those decisions and that will we’ll see a lot more virtual. Fall in the holiday season, simply because they don’t want to plan twice for a third or fifth or 10th time this year so that’s what I, that’s what I’m predicting we’ll see.

Rich: So what kind of offerings are we do we have for everybody? I mean, what’s, what’s like one of the more popular virtual events that we have to offer.

Alex: Canadians always like getting drunk. Mixology is always going to be popular out of the holiday season, to be honest, it’s been popular throughout the whole year. So we’re busy switching our, um, switch, switching the menu back to being a more winter menu again, because yeah, it was one of our biggest sellers, uh, last, last Christmas, for sure.

David: Yeah. And one of the things we’re doing, and I’m sure I’m going to share it with the other catalyst partners. So we’re going to kind of do. A guarantee, you know, book a virtual event, we will switch it over to in-person, but an in-person event, we’ll switch over to virtual, whatever you want to make them feel comfortable that once they’ve decided they want to work with us, we can work with them in person or virtually or wherever.

Rich: Is that getting a lot of traction?

David: We’re working on it in marketing now, but it’s, we’re developing, we’re calling it the TB promise. Just to give them an idea of this is kind of what you can expect. If you choose a. Mixology event and you want it virtually. We can do that. If you want an in person, we can do that.

So just try to, because everything changes and it’s been changing so fast. I mean, just yesterday, I think was it the governor that made a new decision where now we, um, in the Americas, the U S can. Now they’re suggesting that we can get booster shots and they’re suggesting booster shots where yesterday they did no today.

All of a sudden we’re good for booster shots. So it changes so fast. And I think we have to be adaptive. To our market, to our clients and to our, to our staff,

Rich: unless you’re talking about parents whose kids still even haven’t been able to get the first shot, because God forbid a parent gets something that, and if they’re either, even if it’s lower symptomology for them or no symptomology of all, they can still pass on to them. So the threat is still very much there. Right?

David: It feels like it’s going that way for quite, uh, know for a little bit longer. We’re hoping by now, but the question we just want to make it we’ll have both sets. So last year had in-person and virtual this year, at least we have virtual to go back to if they don’t want to do it in person.

Rich: Okay. Well, Sharon let’s look back to last year, like you said, you were at this point struggling with coming up with the plans with the, in laying them into effect. For, especially for the, for the client’s welfare, what did you wind up doing? How did you wind up pivoting so quickly last year to make it work for you?

Sharon: Well, I think like all of us, we very quickly said, you know, we can either follow everybody and close up like the majority of the world, or we can figure it out. Um, you know, we’re fortunate to be part of this awesome network where we can share ideas and bring new thoughts and concepts and would have a w if we can’t figure something out, we call somebody and say, Hey, I need help trying to figure this out.

How do we make this work? So, um, so obviously a lot of the products came from, you know, partners and all of that sharing, and we built some of our own products, but it was, it did literally go 100%, you know, I don’t think we should. David, I think you did some, but we didn’t do a single live event. You know, once, you know, once August hit, we were pretty much done four and it was all virtual at that point in time.

Rich: So what about that? David’s when was the last time team bonding had to actually close its doors, at least two live.

David: Well, we were, I mean, we were doing very, very few. I think at that time we had a chili cook-off in, uh, in Las Vegas in November, but we didn’t have, I mean, everything else was pretty much virtual.

And then the, the main thing about last year, People had all, you know, that you have your regular things you do for the holidays. You know, we go to this restaurant, we do this event, but none of those things were available to anybody. So all of a sudden virtual became the thing. So I know all of us, we probably had our busiest months ever, because if we built up to the point where people had no choice, virtual was that let’s figure out what we can do best for our team, wherever they are virtually.

And what can we say? No. I know Alex, you know, sent out mixology kits. We sent out, we sent out gingerbread houses.

Alex: I still have nightmares about the gingerbread

David: floating around somewhere. There’s going to be someone that we’re going to gingerbread house from last year.

Rich: Well, we can get it even get into Christmas.

We’ve got to get through October. I know last year for me, just with team bonding that the, the Halloween build was huge. Uh, especially the week leading up to the actual date. I don’t think there was a day I wasn’t doing at least two to four events. What kind of things can we look forward to for Halloween this year?

Anyway?

David: I mean, they’ll still do the same things. We’ll do murder mysteries. We’ll do pumpkin carving. We’ll do CSI’s. We’ll do certain things like that, but Halloween is become at least in the U S you know, one of the most, if not the most popular holiday. And I think what we’ve all seen is that clients like that. Pick holidays to build their events around

Rich: Alex. What about Canada? What kind of thing?

Alex: It’s not as busy here as it is in the state. So, I mean, when I compare it to what I had growing up in England, It’s it’s 110% bigger than that in Canada, but in comparison to America and the states. Yeah, no, not even, I don’t think it’s as close in terms of clients wanting to celebrate it and do events.

Um, you know, we’ve already got a few haunted, like the escape room, haunted house, the Catalyst do on the books. Ready to go. But, um, yeah, I think I’ve mentioned a few times the pumpkin carving kits going out and things like that. The Canadians it’ll be interesting to see. If there’s interest there, Sharon, do you do the pumpkin carving?

Sharon: You know, we, we have chosen to stay out of the kit business. Um, we, yeah, we basically just focused on events that we can do without sending people, things, and our have been focused there and, and we really don’t do a ton of holiday. Because that’s really not what our core businesses, that’s what clients come to us for.

So, um, so we play on the periphery of holiday events, but, you know, we don’t really focus on that extended mostly like, you know, like some of our partners do

Rich: What kind of things. Would you be seeing, coming into the bottom half of the year then? Even if we’re not focusing on the particular holidays,

Sharon: Yeah, I, I think what we’re, what we’re going to start seeing is really more, I’m going to call them morale builders.

They may or may not have a holiday theme. Um, but folks are looking at the holidays to pump up their staff, to get people excited, to, you know, create some new year’s resolutions in a fun and interesting way to, to really just paying and be together. And if sometimes it has a holiday theme sometimes. Most times for us, it doesn’t, it’s really just more about a celebration and patting each other on the back and being together and sharing some time with family.

Rich: So, David, do you, when you’re look, when you’re getting to this time of year, do you start looking for a particularly holiday themed or do you think, how can we take what we have and make it holiday?

David: I think, you know, right now we’re kind of. It knee deep in development mode. You know, what, what do we have that can be turned into something that the clients would like for the holiday?

What can we find? What did we talk about last year that we didn’t do what worked, what didn’t work? You know, like one of the things we did for Christmas, we did ice sculpting as a demo. Okay. It’s a great event in person. It didn’t work so well as a demo

Rich: Hard to ship I would imagine.

David: well, we would probably try that. It’s like, how can we ship ice

is can we ship? I used to ice cube trays is there anything we can do with it? What else can you carve by? So we’re looking at things that, that did work last year. Things that didn’t work last year, and just trying to get a, an array of interesting, worthwhile fun activities,

Rich: Alex, last year. Did you have anything that worked so well, you’re looking forward to doing it.

Alex: Yeah to me. So we get a big mix of people, the larger groups, we feel that are really, really good at the events where the activities, but you’re splitting people up because they’re so big having them all in one room together, which people want to do because that’s what they’re missing.

Right. It just doesn’t work in the virtual world because there’s just too much feedback. There’s too many people trying to talk at once. And it just, you end up feeling like. As, as, as somebody who’s part of those events, you feel like you’re this tiny little speck on a screen and it’s not very engaging.

In fact, I think sometimes it has the opposite effect. So we found with the larger groups, it was really, really good to do the games, the escape rooms, the, the trivia, the race around the worlds. Um, and those kinds of activities were another in their smaller groups when you’ve got the group sizes of over 120, but the smaller group sizes, you know, like they’re sort of like 30 to 80, which are a really, really common group.

Keeping everybody in one room we found was getting the most social interaction and getting the best feedback. So we’re really excited about doing those and being able to offer those again, you know, and they are the kits and classes. They are the sort of like the game time that we have, which is one of our events, ecology programs is Canadian games night.

And that’s, you know, we’re just transforming that to its moment. We’re running it with a summer edition, then we’re going to be having the winter edition, which will be, um, which we’re working on right now for the content. But it’s the ones where you get the group. Being able to have that banter, you know, as a whole group and not just being sat with five to six people throughout.

So that’s what we really, really get. Everybody gets excited about when we can, um, deliver those and develop those. So, yeah. So bringing those back with a slightly different twist. So if people do want to repeat the same thing again, they can do something slightly different. Of course. Yeah.

Sharon: I think the thing that’s missing in the virtual events is that I’m going to call it the cocktail party chatter, you know, it’s the being able to just sit and have a drink and talk with folks.

So, and you’re exactly right, Alex, it’s really hard and really large groups. So I think, you know, one thing that will be key this year to figure out is how do we, how do we give people free will to move around and talk to the people that they want to talk to and to, and to have those conversations, but in a semi organized semi planned way so that they truly get what they’re expecting out of it.

And they’re not like popping into a zoom room and no one’s there, or, you know, so I think trying to figure out how to, how to orchestrate it so that they actually can move around, talk to people, have that, have that free conversation then. Um, and then be guaranteed that they’re going to have, you know, that it’s going to be really worthwhile for them.

We’ll be, we’ll be part of the key for this year. One of the things we’re trying to figure out,

Alex: it was interesting. Some of the, um, some of the policies we had last year, especially after like the Mixology we had groups of people that were on there seven hours or. So he leaves the zoom rooms open for people.

And, you know, at one point it was two o’clock in the morning and I came down and, um, cause we’d had we hand over the host facilities to the client and we don’t obviously sit there listening in. Right. But you know, I’d, I’d, uh, I’d put my kids to bed. We’d all dumped dinner. I’d had a few drinks myself and I come back downstairs and there’s still at least 10 people on the screen at two o’clock in the morning.

I’m like, all right. All right. It’s like kinda, I think it’s probably time to shut it down kind of thing. So. It’s really interesting, cause that happens over and over and over again. Um, and it’s really, really good to seek us out. So I think what people really need as Sharon said in the holidays is that connection, you know, you know, where you go and pick people up from those at the table where they’ve been drinking from the night before at the Christmas parties in the hotel.

That I feel like is the bit for people are really, really missing. So you can still get that in your virtual world.

Sharon: We see you’re saying, getting people drunk.

Alex: Well kind of, yeah, the precision may of course, but, um, yeah, no, and I feel that, that we actually did. Achieve that last year, because I thought that that’s what was really going to be missing because normally December for us, when it’s live in-person events, it’s actually one of the quietest times of year because people don’t normally do team building activities in Canada.

They normally just go to a hotel book, a table, but. You know, like really they they’re all in their sweets. They have some drinks, they have just foods, some entertainment, a live band. They’re not wanting us to go in there with, uh, formula one cars and build them third party. It’s not what they do here in Canada.

They literally just have a festive holiday party at a hotel with a dance floor. So, you know, being able to. Replace that last year was really special because it was people needed it more than ever. And we were able to do something for them, which gave them, gave them that back in a way. So it was really, really lovely.

David: I think one of the things we miss last year was the charitable component. Prior to this year, you know, we did a lot of events that gave back to the community, whether we’re giving kids bikes or giving, um, Thanks to the military, doing something that gave it back to the community, but because of the pandemic, people have been so concerned with themselves and their families.

They just don’t have, they haven’t had the same capacity to give to others. Right. We’re starting to see that a little bit come back. And there’s a new virtual program through catalyst called impact that offers that type of. Opportunity for clients to give back to others. So I’m looking forward to seeing some more of that come back as the pandemic kind of wanes down and as the holiday season ramps up.

Rich: Fantastic. Listen, guys, let me take a step away just for a real quick second and tell all my team out there about the catalyst team building network and association of team building providers. With representatives in over 90 countries speaking more than 20 languages, the catalyst network is why they’re regarded as the voice of the team.

Building industry network members share resources, best practices and business opportunities. Catalyst partners are learning from each other and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in team building catalyst network members share a common goal of creating highly. Socially responsible, good value experiences for their clients.

So for more information, please visit catalyst global.com. The catalyst team building network, the world’s largest network of team building providers. And we’re back with Alex Sharon and David. Okay. We were talking about how people really love the getting together, but we’re getting to the point again, unfortunately, where that seems to be less likely to.

What can we offer them to make them still feel like that there was a lot last year of the needing to have something because it felt like everybody was so few and far between and their conversations. Just as you guys were saying, just limited to little screens on a box, what can we give them that, that makes them feel like, especially as they’re moving into the holidays with one another, that they’re going to be getting more?

David: Well, that’s a lot of where the kits came in because the clients, you know, their employees, their staff, their crew got something in the mail that connected them to zoom, or they got chocolate tasting of whether they got drinks or whether they got gingerbread or, or pumpkin carving kits. They got some. So it connected them to, it felt like the planner or the client could give something to their employees and then connect them all with the virtual.

Well, I imagine more things like that would be on our radar.

Rich: Sharon, what about you since you don’t offer the packages?

Sharon: Yeah, I was going to say is, if you think back to like neuroscience, you know, the number one way we can be engaged as a person. At, uh, uh, at any kind of function or in our, in our daily worlds is through conversation.

We want to talk and we want to be heard and, you know, so we want kind of both that thing. So, so I think the more we focus on events that create and stir up conversation, you know, like Alex was talking about, maybe we just hang up and out after we’ve done whatever we’re doing, or maybe we just create hangout parties, you know, and we just come in and we find interesting and fun ways to spark conversations.

And, um, and that’s what the party’s all about because. Is the number one way that we engage, you know, I find it interesting that, you know, through this time we’ve all sat on hundreds of webinars that talk about how to create virtual engagement. And I would say 99.87 of them say that the way to create engagement is to have higher quality production value.

Well, higher quality for production, values. Great for making me um, being able to see it better and it’s clearer and it, and it gives you a sense of a higher end production or a higher end meeting, but it doesn’t connect me anymore. It doesn’t give me the ability to have a conversation and it doesn’t let me participate in any way.

So. I think that’s the missing thing that we think about when we’re thinking about how do we produce engaging events, whether they’re holiday parties or meetings or whatever it is is how do we allow people to participate and have a conversation? Because that is the number one way, according to research that we actually connect and we actually.

Feel like we are engaged and that’s how we define engagement.

Rich: So what’s the answer. How do we do it?

David: I think Sharon’s got a good point with this Rich the idea that the people that are producing these webinars are people that are, you know, have higher production value, their platforms, their various things like that.

But the advantage that Alex Sharon and I have is we are in the engagement business. All we’ve got to do now. And basically our job is to bring people together, to get them talking, to get them, having fun, to get, you know, get them participating in playing together. That’s where we’ve had the heads, the headstart, because we already do that.

It’s just a matter of translating that to virtual. And I think we’ve all done

Rich: that, but how, how did you do it? Well, like, give me an example of an event that you guys are proud of that does that for the audience,

David: Alex, somebody escaped the blizzard or escaped the mob, both of those.

Alex: Yeah, well, I mean, escape, the place it came off the back or the fact that we did escape the mob.

So we’ll take an example. Escape. The mob was one of the most popular in it during the live event times and in-person event times, it was one of the most popular escape room, GPS, scavenger hunts that we did here in Canada. Um, and I think actually it was really popular across the world and it’s a catalyst product.

And then. You know, when, when obviously everything turned last at the end of last year, beginning of March, we sort of sat there and we were like, what are we going to do? Yeah. Yeah. And you either sit back, you do nothing and you go down or you get a, get on the back on the horse and get on it. And within, you know, I would say literally, um, our team, I was very fortunate to be working with Dennis at the time.

Who’d had quite a big part in the original escape, the mob. And I said, you know, what can we do really quickly to get back out there? Yeah. It’s not just a case of coming up with an escape. It’s what we do, David was mentioning is what we’ve done and what we’ve done for years. And what we do best is it’s not just coming up with an activity to give people, to do.

It’s coming up with a way of getting people to communicate on different levels with each other. So you’ve got to make sure that every single person within that team, you’re writing a game for different players. So where you’ve got an introvert in the real world, when you’re in a hotel room, the introverts, that kind of thing.

Forced into it because people are watching them and they feel that people are watching them, but in the virtual world, they can just switch their cameras off and they don’t actually have to take part and they can sit back and you get the, a type personalities, like, yeah, pick me, pick me, pick me. I’m going to answer everything.

I’m going to make us win. But so. It wasn’t just coming up with an activity and a game that people could play, you know, like downloading free games off of Google, which I’m seeing lots of, it’s not that it was a case of giving it a little bit more thought in terms of how do we engage every person with all the different personality types.

Some people like breaking clues, some people like singing on camera. Some people are really good at this. You know, you have to make sure that you incorporate all those different personality types and different engagement levels across the entire team. So when you’ve got a team of four people. Everyone gets to do something and they actually have to do something.

So that’s what we did with escape and mob is we, we broke it down into players. And so, and again, because it was so successful, every, all our clients kept coming back to us and we want more of that. We want more of that. There’s everyone was engaged, even if it was just a level. What question have you got Sid kind of thing, you know, but like that, at least they had to ask what the question was.

They might not have been able to help with the answer cause their brain type, the personality type wasn’t going to do that. But at least they had to give them the question. So there was something for them to do. And I feel that, that the way that we wrote the games and tackled everything and cat everyone and all the partners within catalyst have been so good at that.

And that’s. David said we’re the experts in engagement level. So yeah, writing the games and making sure that they fit for everybody to be able to actually participate and have a level of engagement. I feel that it was really, really, really important in the virtual one has been lost. Many other people out there.

So it’s something that we’ve held on to strong that we now, right? Most of our games, whether it’s race around the world, escape, the places we said, same thing. It’s got the four you choose, whether you play 1, 2, 3, or four and your team, and you all get different parts of the puzzle when you get to go and play it.

So that was really key for us. When we were turning into the virtual world was making sure that we have a different role on an individual level within your team.

Rich: How did it work? How did it work when you win? Because you said it was GPS driven. So for my audience who has never taken part in any of them.

Alex: Oh, right. So, I mean, you, normally you turn up in a venue and in fact, we ran one just last week in Toronto back live again. So we, and we’ve got another one. We’ve got another one going on Friday. So what happens is, and that one’s hybrid. So we’re sending out backpacks to everybody’s offices and then they’re opening their boxes again, the team packs and off they go around they’re locals, local city.

But so what, what you do is, yeah, you’ve normally got a backpack that’s full of them. All these really cool things like puzzles to fit in. You’ve got to do some algorithms. You’ve got some, sorry, I won’t give you the answer in case anybody ever plays it. Some roses to smell. For example, you’ve got to, you know, there’s actual real things and tangible things that turn up in your backpack and you’re running around a city visiting the local tattoo shop and the local Italian.

And you’re actually going to these places in person, as a team. There’s no defined team role within that when you’re doing it. That’s the difference. You’re just working as a team. One person has got the tablet in their hand, one person’s, you know, looking up to make sure that nobody with the tablet in the hand is going to walk off into the middle of the road without realizing they’re not looking where they’re going, that kind of thing, you know, and it’s no defined roles, but in the virtual world we fell and we really realized that people need.

Given a role almost unless it’s going in the social situation. Anyway, I think once you start going off into the training situation and you’re looking to actually build some business, tangible business objectives into it, then sometimes leaving them to their own devices to create their own roles is actually really good.

Rich: Sharon, David, are you guys seeing the same thing? I mean, are people finding these as positive even though they’re stuck, virtually doing them?

Sharon: For the most part I say yes, most people. They might roll their eyes at the beginning, but they do that with like events too. They show up and they’re like another team building.

You know, rolling their eyes, but then three seconds later, once you’ve kicked it off and got them engaged, then they’re in it for whatever the story is. And for whatever that mission is, whatever the goal you’re trying to accomplish. And I think the same thing happens in virtual. You know, they may or may not want to do it, but when they actually show up at the end, they’re going, yeah, I’m really glad I came.

That was fun. So, um, so, so I think that, you know, the challenge as always is if it’s an optional event, how do we get people to actually, you know, actually say, I think I’m going to give that a whirl. I think I’m going to go see what that’s all about. And, um, obviously with drinking, it’s a little easier, but, um, but yeah.

Yeah. That’s, that’s always the key, no matter, no matter what, if it’s an optional kind of an activity

Rich: it’s always good to know, especially after what I’ve seen personally, doing events virtually over the past year, that people at home always remember, they can drink. This has not been something that has slipped their minds at all during any events.

But let’s let’s, let’s lean a little bit more back towards the holidays. David, give me, give me something. That’s one of your favorites for like Christmas coming up.

David: Oh God. For Christmas coming up. No murder. Mystery is I’ve really enjoyed. The idea of the murder. Mystery is turning into something that’s virtual.

I wasn’t sure that it was going to work, but I think people, you know, they’re able to eat and they’re able to drink and they’re able to play a part and they’re able to choose a character and they’re able to somewhat simulate what they felt like when they were going to these types of things. In person, those types of things.

I like the entertainment things, our virtual holiday party, where they can choose their path. So, you know, 30 people can go into a game, show, 30 people go into the races. 30 people can go into, uh, you know, another type of event and then they can switch, you know, we’re, we’re working, you know, to do more options for you.

Nice. So I like the idea that there’s movement, where they, people can move. So instead of the rooms moving to them, they can move from room to room. So we’re trying to take the technology and then take the offerings and options and trying to give them as many options. As they can for things that they haven’t done.

I think it kept back tracking back to what Sharon was saying. I think people are surprised how much fun these virtual events really are. I think initially they were very skeptical as far as, oh, you know, you’re going to put me in front of a zoom and you’re going to do this for how long, but I don’t think any of us have seen zoom fatigue.

I think their events are engaging enough and enjoyable. That I think they actually do look forward to cause you know, last year I think they had no idea what to expect this year. They’ll have a better idea of what is possible and they’ll be able to choose based on their past experience.

Rich: I don’t know what things look like.

Especially as far as COVID is concerned in Canada, Alex, but what would hybrid look like? Because right here in this, in the states, nobody has really in the government started talking about pulling the trigger about separating us back out. Even though we have the Delta variant. Now that is raging strongly through a lot of the central and Southern states.

And Lambda is apparently now on the rise here.

David: It isn’t that isn’t that from animal house. Isn’t that the one of those fraternities from me?

Rich: Yes, yes. Yes. That’s Greek David. That’s how Greek works.

But Alex, what would hybrid look like for you up there in

Alex: Canada? So, I mean, to be honest with you, I think hybrid is actually going to become a thing of the future. Anyway, cause I mean, people were starting to just done as an environmental factor in Canada and the states as well were such huge. That you know, it was starting to become not very sustainable to fly people 4,000 kilometers from coast to coast to just have a night where they were going to booze up in a hotel, play it.

It was actually becoming a little bit unpopular and not really the right thing to do in today’s climate. So I actually feel that the hybrid probably would’ve come about eventually. Without this whole COVID situation anyway. Um, and I think it’s here to stay. Um, and I’ve had so many, it’s interesting, cause we’ve done a couple of hybrid events already.

And as I said, sometimes it’s sending kits out to different offices and we have a live virtual. host Who, so he’s up on the screen. He still doesn’t have to travel, which is great for him. And our team are like, yes, you know, we still can just do this from our bedrooms. It’s brilliant. And then everybody’s, in-person in the different locations.

So that’s what we’re seeing happening mostly at the moment is that we’re sending out a team bag with instructions, um, on you know, how to ship it back to us. Wherever we’re going to see it again. We’ll find out some of those new, there’s such a new thing still that we still haven’t had any of those bags back yet, but we’ll find out about that.

So, yeah, basically we’re finding that our hosts are still in a virtual world where our client wants team people like our event staff to turn up, we can just send in event hosts and facilitators that are local to that specific one. And people are doing that. So, um, we’ve had it where we’ve had a client in Toronto, they’ve got a team in Montreal, a team in Vancouver.

They all want to do the same activity. So we literally just have a main host on the screen. Um, and then a couple of own staff turn up to that location to make sure the events set up and pack down. It’s done.

Rich: I had a lovely moment with one of David’s murder mysteries, where we were doing it hybrid, whereas myself and the characters who were involved were all on screen.

And we were doing this to a college out in the Midwest where they were all in one. When we had to break them into teams. So they already had their own separate rooms, but the hilarious portion of it going to hybrid, I’m used to the fact that when we in zoom, we’ll send teams off into breakout rooms. I’m kind of done for half an hour until the time to bring them back, to see how well they are.

We all did. But the funniest part is on the hybrid as the detective. I’m the only one on the screen. And they’re looking at their notes and they’re going over all the paperwork that we’ve sent them, that they printed out for themselves, or we sent to them. And then I had to remember that as part of the plot of it, I have to have had a conversation with people from the crime lab.

So I had to then act like, oh, let me get on my phone and get away from my mic and have that conversation with the crime lab, because people are looking at their notes and then looking up it. And then looking down the notes and looking back up at me, it makes for a very interesting experience.

Alex: Yeah. Our facilitators feel exactly the same way.

They’re all a bit baffled by the whole situation, but then very pleased that we’re not shipping them off here, there, and everywhere. As long as the audience is entertained for hours in a vehicle, just to run a two hour event and then come back again, you know, it’s a, it’s, it’s the better.

Rich: Uh, David, let’s talk about financial viability of this, which is easier financially to do, or which lead let’s say is more cost efficient.

David: I think if you ask the three of us, I’m just betting that all of us would prefer to stay in the virtual world. I mean, even, even you, as a facilitator would prefer this to you. You can do more work, make more money and travel less places in the virtual world. I think the experience honestly is better in person.

Face-to-face. I think people need that, want that, and we’ll have that. But I think other than the, you know, the, the, the health consequences to COVID I don’t think business wise, any of us are disappointed to be, to stay in virtual for a few more.

Rich: Agreed. Sharon, what about you? Yeah.

Sharon: The interesting thing is in probably April or may.

We were saying, man, if COVID could just, you know, if, if virtual could just not, COVID stick around, if virtual would just stick around till the end of this year, that would be a, that could be a really interesting. Um, look at, you know, at not only how we do financially, but also at what the possibilities could be.

As technology continues to evolve, people continue to put money into it and keep going. And then we, and then June came and then the phone started ringing off the hook, right? 75 to 80% of our calls were live events. We’re going back live in September. We’re going back, live in August. And so we were like, oh, wow.

So much for so much for the brunch as a primary business source, right. So much for that sticking around for very long. And now here we go back to the start of August and it’s like, cancel, cancel, cancel. So virtual’s back. So, so as much as it’s been a roller coaster ride in a Rocky road for planners, Same thing on our side of trying to really be awesomely, great partners for them and helping to give good advice and helping them to make decisions on what they do.

And you know, like David, we’re doing the same thing. No matter what you do, we are, we are there by your side and we’re going to work with you. So any cancellation policy things we have are pretty much out the door. You know, we work with people in whatever way, shape or form they need to be worked with.

Right. So I, I just think it’s interesting from, from that perspective, how things are just like, woo. Oh,

Rich: wow.

Sharon: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

Rich: How is it? How are you guys maintaining them? Uh, if it is so up and down, if it is such a, I don’t know what next week is bringing, how were you guys able to maintain yourselves?

Sharon: We’re pretending we’re Canadians and drinking a lot.

Rich: Yeah. You’re still in Florida. Sharon, you can say you’re drinking there.

David: She drinks a lot there. Then she thinks she’s in Canada.

Rich: It works.

Sharon: It works.

Rich: Alex. What about you? How are you, how is it that your, that your company, like, what’s the, what’s the thing that is making this industry so viable, still

Alex: the clients, the repeat clients, they know at some point to me, uh, you know, they’re going to book you regardless and we find. It’s not obviously the same amount of money coming in, but then the overheads are so much less when it’s a virtual world than an in-person world.

So you’re actually still making on a percentage level and profit level. You’re still actually making the same amount of money, even though it’s a lower figure. It’s, it’s interesting. I honestly think that, yeah, everything’s still going to be here. Um, and we’re now, you know, we’re doing, people are doing the virtual events and live events for the same time.

At the same time, that’s what we’re seeing a lot of. And I think that’s going to stick around. Like I was just saying before, you know, on a sustainable level, we had a company last week, they did their national conference with, you know, international conference online and had us come in for that. And then the very next week they had three or four different smaller teams that were all local with our teams out there in person.

So, yeah. I see that actually going on until there’s a complete lockdown happening. I think that’s going to continue and that’s going to keep going on. Um, but in terms of our staff and they’re all just ready, you know, they’re all just ready. That is having staff that are adaptable. Having a team around you that are adaptable.

You know, it’s not just about us and everything else being adaptable. It’s actually the people around you and them. Standing of what’s going out there and them sticking with you and going through it with you, if it wasn’t for our team, it would be hooped basically. So yeah, I’m just really, really, um, humble to have, you know, um, uh, such a great team around us to support us through it already.

David: I mean, I think it’s also a shorter term decisions, you know, we can’t make decisions in advance. Like we used to right. You make it, you know, you you’re like a quarter at a time. Okay. What’s coming up next month. What’s coming up the month after that next June have no idea what it’s going to be. So your planning changes then your staffing changes and then your expectations change.

I mean, you know, rich with us. I mean, we used to have warehouse people. We were just about to have warehouse people again, you don’t have warehouse people, so you have to, you can’t make these giant leaps, right? Yeah, I have to do a little bit more calculated risk as a business, and you have to try to figure out how to get to almost like a game board.

You know, you’re trying to get from here to there.

Sharon: Sure. You’re not trying to get all the way yeah. How to grow and be prepared without getting caught with your pants down. Right. You, when do you bring people in, when do you not bring people in? How do you, how do you flux your staff for the ever-changing needs that are, you know, that are kind of happening in the marketplace? So, Hmm. Yeah. I think one of the jokes that I say it’s when we were starting to do, to do the more in-person events. Yeah. Almost, it’s almost like we have secret agents living all around the country. We’ve had to

David: reactivate them, but they haven’t, we haven’t seen it.

We used to have someone in LA, you know, is that persons in LA still available?

What are they doing now? Just have to be

Rich: adoptable. Yeah. Now, before. Find out what hooped means. I want to ask you guys one last question. Well, I actually, don’t

Alex: thinking about, I’m thinking about the north American version. Don’t do that. Okay. Then I need to edit that bit out. Having a think back on American

Rich: terms.

Yes. David wants me to edit something new today. Yup. Yup. Yup. I will look it up, but um, I do want to ask, I want to ask each of you. If we look to the future, cause I wanna, I wanna end this on a bright note. So let’s look to the future. Let’s look to the holidays. What are you most looking forward to David?

Let’s start with you.

David: Oh gosh. Uh, December was so crazy last year, but it was kind of, it was crazy in a way that was unexpected. So I’m looking forward to going into the holiday season with expectations of what could be. Okay. I don’t know if that’ll change anything at all, but I think we, at the end of December, I think we all just like wiped our browse and go, oh my God, what a ride?

It was just, it was the craziest,

Rich: because there’s really only a month I believe was our big, is our big response that

David: you remember this day, when you going 125 events any one day, that was more than we’ve had ever before in a month. Yep. All on one day. And it was because just, it was just insane. So I’m looking forward to going with the eyes open.

Yeah. And saying, you know how we can do excellent.

Sharon, what about you?

Sharon: I’m looking forward to exploring and playing with some new ideas. Like David, I’m excited for the possibilities of lots and lots of events. You know, every single client we love every single client’s a little different, even if we’re doing the same program over and over and over again, they’re the ones that.

Special. They are the ones that make it fun. They’re the ones that really, really bring it alive. So I think that’s most of what we’re looking forward to. Is it just being another busy season with, you know, really the opportunity to have fun with some folks that really need some fun in their lives

Rich: and Alex, they took two great answers.

Alex: Let’s see.

I know mine is, mine is just reconnect to be, you’re having an opportunity to reconnect people that really, really need it out there. There’s a lot of companies out there that will only get even in a virtual world. You know, they’re only getting their people together like once or twice a year.

And whilst they’re not seeing everybody in the office every day, they don’t see anybody. There’s people out there that don’t see. Body at all, you know, other than their work colleagues when they’re going to the office. So it’s being able to have the opportunity to get that connection, that human connection going, um, and creating, you know, the relationships between people and being able to keep that going.

Is it within the human race? Almost. I feel there is a really, really important thing for us going forward as the next generation and, um, yeah. Being able to help where we can. With that I think is brilliant. I’m also really looking forward to David getting on the phone to Guinness world records and getting David to see if he can make that official this year, because I reckon it probably would have won something like that.

David: Oh, I don’t know the Guinness program cause I got a good lung story for it. And I think Sharon has the same story with the, as

Sharon: you stories about them, but we won’t go there.

Alex: Oh, interesting. Because they’re my old work colleagues from England. So I would love to hear all about my best friend. Yeah.

Rich: That sounds like a completely different podcast though.

Alex: That sounds like a great conversation.

Sharon: Camera.

Rich: Yeah. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to keep this in, but I hope I can. Hey guys, thanks so much for coming on board today, Alex, there’s anybody else out there who is looking as you know, in the Canadian area and looking for even technology, where can they.

What do you mean? Just on nine? Yeah. Yeah. W what’s the address? Where, where can they go? Pretty sure. I’ll also that’s the, after the, after that’s, after the show, David that’s also off camera. So it eventology.com

Alex: dot caeven told I, you don’t see our catalyst team building.ca.

Rich: Fantastic Sharon,

Sharon: uh, play with the purpose.com

Rich: and of course, David in bonding.com fan tastic guys.

This was a great conversation, a lot of fun. Thank you so much for coming on team. Give them some love. One more time. The three Musketeers of north America, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you guys have enjoyed being here as much as I’ve enjoyed having you. And now I want to do you guys will get this because each and every one of you, as Sharon was saying earlier, no about that feeling you get, when you tell somebody you’re getting them together for a team building event.

And the first thing they have to do is roll their eyes like, oh, it’s time for another one. I kind of built this part of the show to be revenge for those people. Cause it’s time for my speed rounds.

I’ve added cheese.

Now David is familiar with this. Having been on the show last season basically is a 60 seconds of questions. There’s going to be music playing the last for 60 seconds in that time. I’m going to ask you a series of completely innocuous off the cuff questions. Your objective is try to answer as many as you can, as fast as you can.

The number to beat. If you guys are feeling competitive at all is 13. Now, if I ask you specifically by name, you have to be the one to answer. If I don’t ask anyone specifically by name it’s, whoever answers first is answering for the team, you guys got it. Got it fantastic. Once the music begins. So with the questions, good luck to you all.

Here we go. Sharon, who would you like to see play you in a movie?

Sharon: Sally Field

Rich: David? Who’s the funniest person, you know,

David: You are Rich

Rich: Alex, which TV family is most like your own?

Alex: Brains, from England

Rich: Sharon, when you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?

Sharon: Go for a walk.

Rich: You think he’s the greatest invention of all time?

David: The iPhone?

Rich: Hey, uh, David, what’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done in your life?

David: Putting a blank,

Rich: drawing a blank is it is, uh,

Alex, do you have any pets?

Alex: Dead ones.

Rich: Sharon, do you have any kids? Don’t give the same answer. Please do not give the

same answer as Alex just did. Oh, my

friends, you did eight. Eight altogether. Well done

at one more time. Thank you, Alex. Thank you, Sharon. Thank you, David. And thank you team that once again, wraps up another episode of Team building saves the world. One more time for those of you out there who have been a longtime fan of the podcast, or if you’re brand new to the podcast, just like what you’ve heard today, please be sure to share this amongst your friends, amongst your colleagues, amongst everyone, you know, tell them they can find team building saves the world, wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

I play Google. Spotify everywhere in the world. There are podcasts. You will find us there. You can also find best in all of our episodes@teambonding.com forward slash podcast. And please look at, look forward to look at all of those and enjoy them. You can find even David’s podcast from last year. Still in top 10 of all the episodes we have ever done in both seasons.

So congratulations to you on that, David. And can I also say congratulations on the 47th anniversary of your bar mitzvah, David Goldstein, you have been a man now for over 47

years.

That’s new and as always my friends, before we say our final farewells, please always remember no matter where you are out there in the world, whether it’s camp.

Southern U S U S wherever, if you are now within the sound of my voice, you are going to be on my team and I am forever going to be on yours. So as you go forward in your lives, please always remember us. Thank you for coming and enjoy the rest of your day. Goodbye, everybody.

It’s been said that you learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. So why not put your coworkers to play with the help of the team at team bonding team bonding was founded over 20 years ago with one simple question. How can employees have a great time while fostering strong,

authentic bonds

between people who work together?

Their catalog of innovative events include scavenger hunt, jeopardy, and much more each activity, whether it. Virtual or hybrid maximizes the impact of team building with an accent on fun. Visit team bonding.com to schedule your event now, team bonding. When you want seriously fun results.

With the Holiday’s coming up quickly, our friends from the Catalyst Global Network talk about what they can offer your team. Looking for an in-person event? No problem! Looking for a virtual event? They can do that! Looking for a combination of the two? They have you covered. Listen to our partners from North America, Alexandra Pett, Sharon Fisher, & David Goldstein, speak about the importance of connecting your team through the upcoming holidays.

David Goldstein – David launched TeamBonding in 1988 as a natural extension of the work he had done in the corporate entertainment industry. His early creations included scavenger hunts, customized murder mysteries, game shows, and many other unique group activities that clients started to request as team building.

Now his company boasts a catalog of innovative events using the power of play as a learning tool and tapping into the correlation of work and play.  He says he is guided by Plato’s credo: “You learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

David is quick to move with the times, consistently bringing new and innovative ideas into the team building industry. In 2020 alone, TeamBonding released this Team Building Around the World Podcast, a Webinar Series, and was among the first to originally have virtual events even before the global need for it arose. No matter where your location is, TeamBonding has a proven solution to build your team.

Alex Pett – Alexandra has been motivating and educating teams with focused, fun, and engaging team building activities for almost 20 years. Having worked across a vast array of industries and companies she has a unique and comprehensive understanding of the challenges involved in developing and implementing effective team building, leadership
training and development programs.

Sharon Fisher – Enthusiastic. Relevant. Creative. Sharon Fisher is the CEO & Chief IdeaSparker of Play with a Purpose, an experiential strategy firm devoted to sparking more innovative, participatory, connected, and fun events. She believes in fusing content with the conversation, education with participation, hands-on with know-how … and making all that fun! They custom design play-based experiences to help organizations solve challenges in an innovative and compelling way. Sharon’s crazy obsession with play started in college. When all her friends were getting “real degrees”, she chose to major in “whistleblowing” as her father called her BSED degree in Recreation. Since then, she’s created with clients including Disney Imagineering & Disney Publishing, Chevrolet, Camp Jeep, BBDO, Novartis, American Express, Frito Lay, CarMax, IBM, McDonald’s, and the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. The winner of numerous awards, her most prized includes being named one of Orlando’s Best Places to Work and setting two Guinness World Records.

 

" Our job is to bring people together, to get them talking, to get them having fun, to get them participating in playing together. That's where we've had the headstart because we already do that. It's just a matter of translating that to virtual"
- David

September 7, 2021

Do you have questions or a story idea? Email us or call the podcast hotline at 617.426.1999.

Join Rich Rininsland, host of Team Building Around the World, for Season 2 Team Building SAVES the world! Taking you on an in-depth journey behind the scenes of the increasingly important, team building industry sharing ideas, inspiration, and best practices from the leaders of the industry as well as discussing changes brought on by world events. By interpreting the correlation of work and play, Season 2 will look into how and why the concepts of team building are essential in today’s world.

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