Holiday Party Planning 101

w/The TeamBonding Dream Team

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Transcript - Holiday Party Planning 101

Rich: On this episode of Team Building Saves the World.

Jayne: The key to it is your people coming together and celebrating

CJ: when you let go and allow yourself to be in that element, you learn things about yourself and how you interact with the people you work with.

Stephanie: It becomes like, Wait, you also collect vintage comic books?

And I didn’t know. I do the same.

Rich: I’m feeling a little called out by Stephanie now, but .

Kevin: They come in unless Jane is shaped like an open bar, sometimes people,

Rich: Hello team. It’s me. Your old friend, Rich Rininsland host of team buildings saves the world, the show where I speak to the leaders and innovators in employee wellness and corporate culture on how it reflects in the world of today. And today, it’s home for the holidays. We’ll be discussing preparations for the upcoming holiday season with my fellow facilitators at Team Bonding, CJ Urciuoli Stephanie Windland and returning friends of the show, Kevin Pertusiello and Jayne Hannah.

But first, I need to share some love with the rest of my supporters at Team Bonding. If your team is ready to experience team. The power of play to visit team to learn more now, team, join me in welcoming my dear friends and coworkers, CJ Urciuoli Stephanie Windland, Kevin Pertusiello and new director of corporate training and virtual events for team bonding.

Jayne Hannah,

You know what I love? It’s that every time I get to do this podcast, I tell all the people out there about how I have this group of people chained up under my desk and their whole job is to applaud. Now they get to meet you,

Kevin: you know? Yeah. They’re just, they’re those soft chains that have like the feathers around them and I just, Rich, the love that you give to us just for what we can clap.

We could always thank you for it.

Stephanie: Well, you know, we appreciate the snacks.

CJ: I’d like to thank them.

Rich: So we are talking the holidays. Janie, of course. Let’s start off with you. First off, congratulations on the new title. It’s been a couple years since you’ve been on the podcast, but that’s huge. Congratulations, and, and thank you for all that you continue to do for the company.

Jayne: Thank you for saying that. My privilege.

Rich: But let’s talk about the holidays themselves, because I’m, a lot of people are going to be hearing this in September and they’re gonna be wondering, it’s, It’s like walking into Walmart in October and seeing Christmas decorations everywhere. Why are we talking the holidays? So why are we talking the holidays this early?

Jayne: We are those people who put it out so early, but, we already have in person 10 holiday bookings for, uh, December and about 20 virtual holiday bookings already. So one does it early because real live people facilitating, which makes our program so energetic and key to the interaction. We don’t hire everyone, so we are gonna run out of people.

So as we do every year. So we recommend, you know, make that decision, commit to that, book yourself in, then you know, you know, you’ve got your space, you know you’ve got your virtual space, your time, and you know which program you’re going to do. Get it, Commit to it. Look forward to it. So do it early.

Rich: Well, let me, let me, let’s stick with you for a second here, Jayne cuz uh, Before we get to the fun of us just reminiscing and talking about why it is we do that we what we do.

If I am somebody who wants to get their corporate family together for the holidays, um, what kind of things should I be keeping in mind right now?

Jayne: Great question. Think about carefully. Do you want to do this virtually? Do you want to be together? Do you wanna do hybrid? Cause we have options for all of that.

And discuss that with your account manager. Look at the benefits of that. If you have a thousand people, uh, globally, Chances are virtual is a really good option for you. If you have 20 people, you know that your, you, your mom owns a restaurant, you can have the private room in Connecticut in the restaurant.

That might be a good option to do in person. Um, think about your budget. We have things for all sorts of budgets, so. In person, hybrid and virtual. Think about that first, and then talk to the account manager and look at all the different options that we’ve got. And remember, nothing is in stone. So, um, it is in snow.

So we can change it, we can make things adaptable. We, we are very flexible and highly creative. We will occasionally say, No, that’s not gonna work, and here’s why. But how about we do this. So again, the earlier that one locks those things in, um, think about your different people. So if you are global, think virtually, think about your different time zones that you’re looking at, right?

Um, think about your age group. Um, I am of the older, So I want a two and a half hour program. Apparently younger people don’t. So let’s look at shorter times, but more dynamic in energy. What else do you wanna do? Do you wanna do food? Do you wanna do if you’re in person, do you want them eating virtually?

Do you wanna do speeches? Think about all of those things to lock in or do around the program that you’re doing.

Rich: Now Stephanie, as our resident younger person, uh, shorter. Is that what do you prefer? Shorter ?

Stephanie: No, it, it really depends. Jayne said it said it Well, I think that our attention spans are not as great, so we love short, but I also know that we’ve done a bunch of events where maybe it’s a short game or let’s say an hour,

hour and a half event that we are running, but then they get this really cool happy hour after and they can all talk to each other. And so I kind of like a combination. I’m gonna go with whatever includes food. That’s, That’s really me. .

Rich: So you’re hoping that indeed the grandmother’s restaurant and somewhere in Connecticut that we can all go to

Stephanie: If, if your event is, is five hours, but you’re feeding me, I’m there .

Kevin: Hey, uh, hey cj, do you remember that beautiful ceremony when we both handed over the title of resident young person to Stephanie? Wasn’t that beautiful?

CJ: It was, it was magnificent. See, I’m, So you

Stephanie: had to, I had to rip out that trophy from your name.

You remember?

Rich: I’m so closer to Jane’s age. I wasn’t even invited to.

Kevin: Oh, it was past your bedtime.

Rich: I know. .So what about you guys? Let’s, let’s talk in general, whoever wants to answer first, please feel free to jump in. Why is it important that we even do this? That we offer this? What do, what have you seen in your prolific careers as facilitators, Each and every one of us that makes the holidays important to our customer?

CJ: Well, I’ll chime in. Go and say that. One thing that I know is really important, especially to, uh, businesses and companies is that we have a lot of programs where there’s a, a charitable element to it. Mm. And around the holidays, people are always, Looking for ways to give back and to support all the wonderful causes.

And especially after the pandemic and the horrendous two years that we’ve been through, or three years now. People need that more than ever, and I think businesses and companies realize the height and weight of that. So it’s even more important during the holidays when people. Expect to have a, a happy holiday or a, a way of making the most of whatever situation they’re in.

Rich: Let me ask you, cj, what is your favorite holiday event you have ever led and why is it a show I’ve written.

CJ: Well, it, it probably is to be honest with you, .

Rich: Hahaha

CJ: but I will tell you that, uh, there are a lot of holidays. I mean, I think most people think about Christmas and Halloween as the big ones, but I, I’ll tell you, uh, a holiday that.

Is, I think it’s just fresh in my head because I, I just did one of these events, but we do tools for schools and kids going back to school right now. I mean, they’re all going back to school and I just did one and it meant the world to the people that that were filling these backpacks with school supplies and it was to support a group that their cause was women and children and families affected by domestic violence.

So I mean, that is some heavy stuff. And to just be able to have fun, create these bags that then are gonna create a happy moment for these kids that are just, you know, beside themself with everything else going on in their life. It just means so much. So I would say for right now, back to school.

Rich: Well, you, you are a father.

How old’s your son now?

CJ: He’s 15 years old.

Rich: He’s 15 years old, and he considers going back to school a holiday.

CJ: He does not.

Rich: I was about to say he, does he normally get beaten up? Is

CJ: he’s, He just thinks it’s another day. No. Yeah.

Rich: speaking of someone who would beat up CJ’s nervous son Kevin, what about you?

Uh, let’s, let’s think more toward the holiday planning itself. What kind of shows are you looking forward to, to leading?

Kevin: Oh my goodness. Um, the ultimate holiday party once that came around. And it is so, what’s so great about is that it’s so customizable. Like it’s really almost anything that you can think of until Jayne tells you, No, that’s not what we do.

But as a whole, like the fact that you can have a large group of people, um, typically virtually though I have heard that we also have a live version of this mm-hmm. , um, that you can have people that are part of your team, that are part of your company, being able to do many different activities all at the same time.

Having a host, starting everything off, getting things rolling, and then using breakout rooms and other facilitators to be able to have so many different kinds of activities from reindeer racing to bingo to trivia, anything that you could think of. And then they end up rotating. So they have a chance to actually participate and play in all of these activities through a full, full party.

One of the things that I just love seeing with the holidays is that not only are companies trying to, to piggyback off CJ to give back, right? But also to give back to their employees and just show that kind of appreciation all. For just for the entire year. I mean, obviously with the past three years, like at the point of every year, we’re just like coming into the finish line, and how could these companies give back to all the people that have been working so hard all year?

So I know that the challenge has always been how do we make this special? How do we make this unique, whether it be virtual or in person. One of my complete favorites, uh, that we did, I think at the end of 2020. This was about 300 employees. And you know, they have this budget. They have this budget for an end of the year party.

And at that time, of course, we were not getting together in person. We were doing this all virtually. They still had that same budget as if they were going to rent out a hall, as if they were going to have, you know, open bar and food and whatnot. We still had this budget. What do we do with it? So they came to us at Team Bonding and they’re like, Let’s figure this.

And what they ended up doing was having an ultimate holiday party. They had a couple of different events going on throughout the day, and then they took the remainder of the budget and they did an entire hour long raffle of items for everybody. So we had an entire virtual wheel going, and we spun that every time a name came up.

There was a new prize and there was a range. We went from cappuccino machines all the way to outdoor grills and brand new curve television sets. It was just an awesome way, and people are cheering. Kids are there on Zoom and they are losing their minds. It’s, it’s just trying to find what is gonna be the best, just like Jayne said, what is gonna be the best fit for your team and how can you give back?

Giving them a unique time.

Rich: So, Jayne, let’s look back when you were first on it on the podcast, I’d say early days of the pandemic still where we were pivoting madly. We, I don’t even think when you were first on that, we’d even started talking about the holidays yet. Yeah. Cause that was like June or July of, Of 2020.

Yeah. Well, what did that first holiday year look like? ,

Jayne: we pushed so hard on the pedal for the virtual programming. We were doing about 2% of virtual programming before covid, and it was mainly our serious training programs. Well, we pushed so hard, we went 100% virtual, and from Halloween through to the beginning of January.

I don’t know the numbers, but

Rich: That’s okay. ,

Jayne: we were, we were doing, oh my gosh. Um, I know last year my world record was 330 events that I planned for three weeks. Nice. In December. And that was me alone. We really did well. I think one day we had like, 200 happening that first year in December, just back to back to back.

Um, we learned a lot and we learned it fast. And now we got this, like last year was tremendously busy, but it felt easier for us because we knew what we were doing. Um, the biggest thing is to take advice from us, we know what works. I always say simplify, don’t overdo things. The key to it is your people coming together and celebrating, and that’s the same in person or virtual.

There’s no difference. Just, just remember that we are human beings and if you pack out your day and your agenda too much, or you expect minute by minute to minute, I guarantee it’s not gonna work because George will be late, or Henrietta will wanna take a call, whatever. So we have to be flexible. But remember that celebration is is key.

So yeah, that’s what we focused on for the last, you know, Yeah. Two, three years of this time of being together.

Rich: Speaking of being a flexible gang, hold on for me for one second because I do need to tell everybody out there about a company. We are also proud to be a part of 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?

They’ve created a catalog of innovative events using the power of play as a learning tool and tapping into the correlation of work and play from scavenger hunts to jeopardy and so much more the team bonding of activities be they live virtual or hybrid maximizes the impact of team building with an accent on fun.

So visit team to schedule your event now. Team bonding. When you want, seriously. Fun results. And we are back with cj, Stephanie, Jayne, Kevin and myself. We’re talking about the holidays, uh, Stephanie, the power of play. What does that mean to you?

Stephanie: Oh my goodness, Rich, so. I think as we grow up and we, I just got very excited about this question.

We lose a big part of ourselves when we were kids that just did things for pure joy of it. I mean, I literally have butterfly clips in my hair because I was cleaning my room and I found them and I thought, What am I not gonna wear these? So I think, you know, as we’re growing up and we, we take these jobs that are very important, of course, for so many reasons, and hopefully we do love what we do, right.

We start to lose that part of ourselves just very naturally that that remembers that doing silly things is actually very beneficial to our mental health and just to to life. Like remembering what life is all about. You know, you wanna enjoy it. And so I think the power of play, it’s so unbelievably important because it brings you back to that it’s, it should be for no other reason than to have a good time.

And to remember that part of yourself that was able to let go and be free in that way. And also part of your individuality. Remember what it is that you like to do. That’s just for yourself.

Rich: You. Guys, anybody else? The power of play, what are we thinking?

CJ: Well, I would say to kind of piggyback on what Stephanie said, uh, that, that the power of play, you know, and that, that uninhibited childlike force, that energy that comes out of you.

What happens though, is when you let go and allow yourself to be in that element, you learn things about yourself and how you interact with the people you work with in a way that you could never figure out just through the work that you’re doing. It’s that whole like emotional intelligence thing where it’s just taking yourself and who you truly are at the core of you and, and allowing yourself to be in another space.

To have another way of coming together and interacting and communicating. I think that’s really key in the power of

Rich: play. What’s the quote on the power of play? Jayne? Kevin? Stephanie, do you know it?

Stephanie: No. Well, I was gonna add but

Rich: go, go, go. Yeah, go ahead.

Stephanie: I was gonna say too, when we’re talking about team bonding mm-hmm.

uh, everything that CJ said, it also allows you to connect to people because you start to realize you have things in common that is far deeper than where you live, where your kids go to school, where you know, it becomes like, Wait, you also collect vintage comic books, and I didn’t know. I do the same. And some of my favorite moments at these events are hearing two people who have worked together for three years find out something that they had in common.

They had no idea, and they’re like, Oh, John, I’m texting you about this later. And it’s so delightful to watch.

Rich: I’m feeling a little called out by Stephanie now, but , .

Kevin: You know how there are sometimes that say you’re walking into a new situation? Sure. Or trying something new and doing it alone seems very scary.

But all of a sudden, when you are in a scenario, you’re in a situation in which everyone has collectively said, Yes, I’m gonna do. Thing would, no matter how we end up, whether it be something cooking related, experiential mm-hmm. , all of a sudden you’re giving yourself permission to try something with other people who also don’t know.

And it’s like we are either gonna succeed together or fail together. Like so many, many of our, you know, business goals. But this, we get to have fun doing it and all of a sudden we get to walk away from something, whether it be a party and experience a learning challenge. and we now have that shared experience and we have just a more richer set of qualities as we come out of it.

It’s, it’s such a great thing. And the power of play is very real.

Rich: I do love those richer qualities. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But Janie, do you remember the cool, what I was going on about earlier?

Jayne: No, .

Rich: Okay, great. I’ll just throw it out there then. And it, it’s an old, I believe it’s an old Greek expression. You can learn more.

Uh, while playing with someone for 30 minutes, you can learn more about that person than you can in a lifetime of communication. Yeah. Because when you play, you actually get to see who the person really is. And let’s go back in our memory banks gang. I wanna find out what are some of the, uh, especially around the holidays, what are some of the most real things we have seen clients do?

Not naming names, but basically any, any lovely embarrassing stories that we might be willing to. From

Jayne: I’ve got one.

Rich: Go Jane. Go. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Start this off.

Jayne: Um, we had a, a wonderful group doing, uh, the mural and they did a holiday mural, and a small group. So when I first walk in, they’re very like, No, I don’t wanna do anything.

Who is this woman? Go away. Okay, fine. Then we have some fun and they’re doing, doing it. And I thought, well, they’re doing this really quickly and they’ve got too long, I’m gonna throw them a curve ball. So I ask them all to kind of switch and move around, Move around away from their mural and go to another panel.

Mm. The same person who’s like, go away where I don’t wanna do anything is what, what? You’re kidding me? Because they had grown so like attached to that, that throwing in this curve ball. So I loved it to say to this person half an hour ago, You didn’t like me , and you didn’t wanna do it now you don’t wanna let go of that.

Like, it was an interesting, um, move, but it was so much fun because then everyone else is, is having a good time going. Yeah, I know what you mean. Yes.

Rich: How could they not like you, Jayne? You are literally Mary Poppins.

Kevin: They come in unless Jayne is shaped like an open bar. Sometimes people like judge, sometimes people judge. They’re like, Well, this isn’t the shape I expected. And then all of a sudden they have to learn. They have to learn the hard way,

Rich: which that actually brings up. Uh, one of my favorite memories, it was again, a holiday party, but it was a virtual back when we were still in the middle of lockdown and I had a bunch of people on getting ready for an at the races for, for a horse racing game,

and it, it’s one of those moments when you have 30, 40 people array on your Zoom screen, and you’re not always sure who’s saying what or who is muted and who’s not. But I very clearly got to hear this one man say. No honey, daddy can’t play with you right now. I’m doing another stupid team building thing.

Kevin: Yes.

Rich: To which I was like, and we might wanna remember whether we’re on a live mic or not when we say things like that, but that, that joke, that story hit me so strong. It is now something that I say it almost all of my live events, when I tell ’em how grateful I am that I’m, that I’m back in front of people.

Kevin: That was great. I would’ve had everyone cheer for that. I would’ve been for being part of a team bonding event!!

Rich: Oh, they were all laughing. Trust me, they were all, I should taken a screen capture cuz I’d never seen that many people on Zoom happy

Stephanie: Come to one of my events. Then Rich,

Rich: Oh yeah. Go Steph go.

Stephanie: No, no, I was just making a joke.

Rich: Okay. Uh, so Jayne, what are we looking at balance wise? Uh, like you said, two years ago, we were all virtual cuz that’s all we could be. What was last year like comparative.

Jayne: Um, last year too. A lot of virtual, mainly virtual this year, definitely in person.

I’m predicting that virtual is still gonna be busy. Okay. Just simply because of the timing and the cost and getting people together and travel, and that people are really getting the point that we need to come together and communicate and celebrate, Right? More than ever in the team building history that I’ve ever known, like 25 years of doing it.

So that’s really exciting. So I think it’s gonna be both. And I think the in persons are gonna be, we’re seeing people do, you know, 30 people and groups up to 500. It doesn’t matter. They’re looking at that, they’re inquiring now, they’re looking at all sorts of different options. So, um, I’m seeing it as being.

Really busy. Maybe more in person than virtual, but just as busy, if that makes sense.

Rich: Guys, let’s hear a group consensus. What do we prefer Virtual live.

Kevin: What are you gonna Sophie’s choice that thing?

I love, I love both. I honestly do, and I am not even saying that for the sake of the podcast. Um, there are so many wonderful wild things that we get to do, uh, virtually. Um, whether it be for the use of sound in virtual backgrounds. Uh, this, yeah, this is virtual though, not me. Um, but things that we can design, things that we can throw together, things that we can really customize in the virtual world for people all over the world, usually very quickly.

Um, and we get to have so, so much fun doing it. But obviously there’s nothing like it and people together and people have embraced that to no end in 2022. And people, I, I’ve been, I’ve been seeing in hosting groups that people are literally looking at each other for the first time after seeing people in squares on Zoom.

Yep. Literally saying, Oh my God, you’re so much taller than I thought. And people are just diving into that. And obviously we have such a great time doing it live because there’s nothing like filling the energy of a full room.

Rich: Mm. Speaking of taller than I thought, Stephanie , .

Stephanie: Um, I, I also really love both. I do a lot of virtual, so I, I think, you know, I play favorites there, but I just love being able to sign on.

And you have people from New York, you have people from Sweden, you have people from Japan. Every someone’s tired. Because someone says it’s 3:00 AM and usually it’s me.

Rich: Yeah. Yeah.

Stephanie: So, but I, I do, I love virtual for allowing people to get together in that way. And I personally enjoy when you are we, cuz we did all have that zoom fatigue, right?

For so long. When the, when the pandemic started. So kind of making this platform fun again in ways that Kevin mentioned, but also calling on people, not in a way, you know, you always have to read the room. You don’t make anyone uncomfortable, but just like watching someone’s face kind of light up when they get, uh, called on or, or you’ve noticed something that they’ve done and, and making it fun like that.

So, I love both, but I am partial to virtual.

Rich: And finally, cj, what do you think?

CJ: To the flip side of Stephanie? I would say I’m partial to live events.

Rich: Ooh. Dare to be bold. Go on. Cj, tell us why.

CJ: Mostly because, I mean, there’s nothing like the energy that a group of people in a room in one room can come up with.

I mean, it’s just infectious. It’s been a lot of fun getting back to live and very meaningful for a lot of people who haven’t been together for periods of time. There’s a new meaning to live events now because we’ve been virtual for so long.

Rich: Very true. Let’s go back to me as this, this here before, never heard of before

client of no specific corporate organization. Um, I’m trying to,

Kevin: A new business card.

Rich: Yeah. Yeah. It’s just bigger , but I’m trying to come up with, Ways to make the holiday fun for the people who were coming on. What kinda recommendations could I get besides the actual gameplay itself? Besides the the amazing things that that we’re gonna be bringing to them?

What could we recommend for them to already tell their base about.

Jayne: I would say for virtual, I would say definitely if you are wanting to advertise early, I don’t mean advertise, I mean tell your, invite them early and throw in some giveaways that will be random and fun, but you have to be online. We don’t wanna see the empty chair, and that person still wins the cruise like they have to be there.

You know? Yep. Make it, make it fun for that. Um, throwing a teaser that the CEO will sing a song or something, something fun will be happening during that. And keep it, you know, don’t do it Friday, 8:00 PM in the evening, like, think, think about we’re all humans. We have families, we have things to do. And even if it’s virtual, maybe you’ve still gotta go and pick up children and look at the timing.

Do it, do it during the day so that it feels like a treat. Not the, Oh, I’ve gotta join, but it’s my evening when I would rather be having dinner. Think about things like that. And as I say, keep it nice and simple and think about um, we do things with shipping, we do mixology, we do chocolates and things like that.

But think about that nice and early because shipping during the holiday season is really complicated. Yeah. Um, so think about that really early. Think about the coordination of that. Um, all of those things are, are important. Yeah, that’s what I would say.

Rich: Steph, I noticed you had your hand up.

Stephanie: You can really tell the difference when there’s a company that’s planned something because maybe someone suggested that it’s good for morale and they’ve thrown it and they’re like, This might work.

And then when a company really wants to show their employees how much they mean to them and really celebrate them. Kind of like what Jayne was saying, maybe don’t do it on a Tuesday in the middle of the day when they have a meeting that they have to leave early for. Think about that as well. And I really love a good kickoff speech, especially virtual.

I love when, whether it’s the the ceo, the president, whoever plan the event comes on and truly it can be you know, one minute. Mm-hmm. . But when they come on and they’re like, Hey gang, this is for you. Just have fun. Get a drink. Have a snack. Sometimes they’ve sent it and it’s not even through, you know, they’ve, they’ve done it on their own.

They’ve sent them chips or little, um, bottles of s wine. Smores, Yes. Smores.

Kevin: Or these Uber Eats gift card.

Stephanie: Exactly. There’s all these extras, and even if it’s not through money. You know, it’s, if it’s just like Jayne said, do something silly with it. But when someone gets on there and they have a great speech about how lucky they are to have everyone there and they just wanna give them back their time and, and make it about them so that they can breathe and be in the moment, it makes such a big difference for the, the rest, the vibe, and the energy for the rest of the.

Kevin: I didn’t think that I was going to see as much as I did and see so many people participating so strongly, and now I believe I can add it to my resume. I have judged so many ugly sweater contests, on Zoom. It is amazing. So you see, especially, and that leads into the planning of this, right? That when people know that everyone’s gonna be doing this

come on over, get your ugly sweaters, and people are turning on their cameras and I see an array. Some of them have lights attached to them. There was one, my favorite one that it looked like, sort of like this, this green dress that had layers. The second she opened up her arms, it was a Christmas tree.

That was it. That was it. The best design. It was like a Cinderella costume. Turn it around. But yeah. See people coming on and they are, they are decorated and ready to go. You know that not only have you done your job as your, whether it be the HR or the whoever was planning the event and deciding to call team bonding, but you brought your excitement to the rest of the people who are gonna be signing on.

And when you see everyone like that, The least. We take pictures.

Jayne: We love that for Halloween too. Yes. So they will dress up, they will do something like the haunted house, but they will, you know, people are dressed up. It’s, it’s fun. We’re doing the bingo with, with the Halloween music and things like that and people will dress up.

That’s great.

Rich: CJ, what do you wanna throw in? Anything?

CJ: Three things that I love in all of these events, and you’ve already said two of them. Food.

Rich: Mm.

CJ: Costumes.

Kevin: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm.

CJ: dancing.

Rich: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

CJ: And then dancing. Yeah. I would also add, whenever we get either like fur babies or family members involved,

That’s, it’s by far my favorite part of these virtual events, uh, is, is when we can bring the family in. We see the newborn baby that maybe the whole company is just seeing for the first time. Yeah. And, and it’s just, it’s just fun. It’s fun and it, and it means a lot to people,

Rich: Jayne, Of course. What about denomination?

Because there’s so many religions that are based around celebrating at that time of year.

Jayne: Yeah, we are, um, very aware of that. And, um, the event managers will, if you’re doing virtual, you will mainly work with me. Um, but we will always ask, and always, and that’s important. And, uh, we will always say holiday versus, you know, That’s really important.

Um, as indeed, if we are global, the difference is, you know, and me being British, um, but in America, but I get it. There, there are things that, that

Rich: Boxing day. Boxing day is not a thing here, Jayne.

Jayne: You know, don’t write . Don’t ask me all questions about, I can’t think about baseball. I’m not gonna know it. Good.

Rich: Could you explain Good king could. Good king went his laws.

Jayne: Right. No, not doing that .

Kevin: So we know I’m always up for a good wassel, you

Jayne: know, we not doing that again. And, and so we know that, we know, you know, we’ve been around for how many years? 20, I don’t know. Nearly 30 some.

Rich: Yeah. Yeah,

Jayne: yeah. We, we really know what works and what doesn’t and we respect people and who are in front of us and that’s really important.

And I always say holiday season, whether we are in person or virtual, we are actually the most boring people at the party. If your client goes there and we know what I’m referring to in too much, um, uh, celebration and begins in heightened talk. I sound like I’m from Bridgeton or something until . But, um, we, no matter what we might think, we don’t go there.

Everything is very family related in virtual world. You never know who’s listening and who’s gonna walk through the living room. So we are very respectful of that, and that’s important. That’s good for our clients to know.

Rich: The reason that I asked Jayne, isn’t it also possible that sometimes in these live holiday events, a certain famous visitor from the North will come along, Oh, make his presence known

Jayne: We do have inside Connections

Kevin: The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudo.

So yeah. Nice.

Jayne: So we do, um, again, if that is wanted, We are all about that. We can celebrate, we can include, that’s a beautiful thing to do, but we will definitely find out. But yes, that is a wonderful option. Good. I dunno how you remembered that, Rich.

Rich: I’m never there when he is. So, Oh, sorry, Stephanie. Of course I’m talking about Hanukkah, Harry.

That’s right. Oh, no, I just wanted to clarify.

Stephanie: Okay, good. Good. Yeah, know of course, of course. I know Alpha, uh,

uh, um, let’s, the other one, it’s not elf on the shelf.

Kevin: Uh, it’s, Oh, I bought that. I, I bought that for my mother. Is that too?

Rich: This must be a New Jersey mench on a bench. I was like, is this a New York thing?

Kevin: I mean, But on the upper West side, yes. it is well, all right then part of it.

Jayne: Yeah. And here’s a good thing. The gingerbread program that we do, um, in person as well as virtual, we do a twist on it. So it isn’t a gingerbread house that you’re putting together, and it’s all, you know, we have some really fun different decorations in there, different colors, and, uh, we are talking about create a gingerbread building, or as a whole team, an entire village.

We’re not, Expecting to see pretty houses. Um, our favorite, I think Stephanie May have done it herself was, um, Las Vegas. We’ve had a gingerbread Las Vegas. Awesome. We’ve had a gingerbread zombie village. Yes. Mm-hmm. really cool. So we, we love embracing everything. Why not? And, and that’s again, the power of play, I guess, playing with these themes and ideas.

Rich: But yes, speaking to power or play cuz you keep bringing it up. It’s my absolute favorite holiday is Halloween. I mean, as thrilling and lovely as the colder holidays are, especially for reasons to get together with family, or I should say excuses to get together with family and whatnot. What are we offering up for Halloween?

What kind of things can we expect to see?

Jayne: Um, we want guys in person decorating pumpkins and racing them.

Rich: I love that program.

CJ: Yes, it does.

Rich: It’s so cool. That’s a fun one.

Jayne: And it’s really cool. We do our wonderful catapult to success, but given that we could be outside and not in our ballroom with chandeliers, right, We’re gonna be catapulting mini pumpkins.

I. Um, and then virtually we do pumpkin carving. We do send a kit, you get your pumpkin. Everybody’s carving and showing what they’ve done with guided by a professional Pumpkin carver, who is also our professional ice sculptor, which is something else that we also do in person, and online. Very cool. So, and of course our classic, um, almost anything goes trivia.

We completely Halloween theme it. Lots of movies in there, lots of scary books. Um, and the facilitators love to dress up and do, as Kevin said, the sound effects and the the looks. It’s really cool. And of course, your classic murder, mystery. Not to be forgotten. So those are always good. Um, during Halloween as well, again, in person and virtually

Rich: Jayne felt me glaring at her when that’s why she mentioned murder mysteries Say

Jayne: No, I always, No, no, no glare needed.

I’m very proud of that. And Rich, uh, leads a lot of them, so I’m very proud of that.

Kevin: I did an in person pumpkin race for a cosmetic surgery office and. You could just imagine what these pumpkins look like before they started racing them, I mean they started doing procedures on the pumpkins. I saw lip fillers.

One of the Botox, my favorite ones, little Botox. I actually saw one where they cut up some pipe cleaners to give, uh, the pumpkin hair, plugs it was oh my. Amazing God. That’s awesome. Amazing .

Jayne: I love that .

Rich: I love.

Stephanie: I had a gingerbread event and one woman, uh, you know, we, Jayne was saying that we, they get really creative and one woman ripped the head off of her child’s doll to use on the house.

I forgot what the theme was. I think they were doing Netflix theme. So every person in the group did a different big Netflix show and whatever it was, she needed that head and we were terrified for her. We were like, Please update us when you talk to the child. I don’t know how this is gonna go, but you know.

The gingerbread house was fantastic. .

Rich: That’s very much the difference between Stephanie and I. She says to the, she says to the person, You need to let us know how this went with the kid. I say to the person, Get the kid here before you do it. I wanna see it live on this production. Cj, you were gonna add.

CJ: No, I, I was gonna say, uh, there is one event that is a lot of fun and it’s for Halloween and you left it out.

Jayne is the haunted houses, which is an escape room. Right. I

Jayne: know that people, I, at the beginning. Yeah. It’s a very cool, Yeah, That’s alright. It’s a very cool escape room to do virtually. Yeah. Very cool.

Rich: I think that just difficult.

Jayne: Yes. Difficult but really fun and again, facilitated in full costume and, and scariness.

It’s, it’s, Very good.

Rich: I think that’s just CJ’s way of telling you he wants part of that job. All right. I do like, let’s, let’s go guys. We could talk about this forever. Thank you all so much for coming on. It means the world to me. It’s not only that I get to. For those of you out there who are still wanting, if this is something you could do, just the fact that I get to sit here for this 45 minutes talking to my dear friends from work about why you should be getting together with your dear friends from work it, that just makes my day so special.

Before we do sign on, I do wanna ask Kevin, is there anything coming up for you that you want to share with my team so they can find out about you or see where you’re going?

Kevin: Uh, my, my world is very team bonding and I get to go where team bonding tells me to. Um, I’m mostly out of the tri-state area, a lot of New Jersey, New York City, and New York States.

Um, I get to pop over to Texas in a couple of weeks to do some massive, massive live events and people loving to get together. Um, but I’ve been popping up in a, in a few different homes via Zoom. So, uh, excited to see you, uh, coming into the holiday season.

Rich: Excellent, CJ go.

CJ: Well, I would say that if you book a live a virtual murder mystery, chances are you’re gonna see me and Rich, um,

But other than that, yeah, same thing as Kevin, I mean, uh, I’m, I’m loving the live and, and being with people and being able to travel and meet different types of people. So that’s what’s going on in my world. And, uh, I’m excited for it.

Rich: The weirdest thing is we have such a cavalcade of actors and performers who do this with us, either assisting or as lead facilitators.

It is amazing to me that with all of the murder mysteries, especially virtually that you and I have done, cj, I have never once asked Stephanie Star of stage and screen Stephanie Windland. Star of Pease in a pod web series, Stephanie Winland to actually come on and do a show with us. That must be rectified as true.

Kevin: She’s She’s done it live. She’s done it live. I’ve brought her on for a couple of live ones. We’ve done Clue. She’s quite good at that.

Stephanie: And just know, I’ve been thinking about. This isn’t stuff I know, I know I haven’t been asked. Um, ,

Rich: that’s definitely this. I will make it up to you, Steph, in the year I, especially with this holiday coming.

I’m gonna have lots of time to do it.

Stephanie: I’ll be here cause I did play a mean miss. Scarlet, if I do so true,

Jayne: So


Kevin: If she turned around her webcam now you would see that paper that has the hatch marks as to how many days you haven’t asked her to do a murder mystery. .

Rich: That’s big piece. I’m small room. So what’s, Yeah, Yeah.

Is it, is it just the wallpaper now? Is it just everywhere? Stephanie, what? What do you have coming up though? What’s coming up?

Stephanie: coming up in terms of these events or, or

Rich: anything you’d like. Um, All right. Cause I know you have, unlike the rest of us who just kind of gave up on acting and decided that this paid us better, um, I know.

Hear you , , you have like an actual acting webpage and so forth. If you wanted to share that with my team,

Stephanie: Oh gosh, no. I’m not gonna share the webpage. Okay. Cause you know, that’s under construction and it’s gonna be better. But at some point in the future, there will. Stephanie Uh, that’s being revised.

But, uh, in terms of, we got two things here in terms of acting. I will be in play in the, at the end of September, beginning of October in Summit, New Jersey, playing a, an 18 year old with alien hand syndrome. So that should be fun. A few Oh. So, yeah. Yeah, it’s, it’s very outrageous and wild. But I will also be on your zoom screens and your WebEx screens and your blue jean screens, , all sorts of things, bringing elephants to Mars and leading.

You know, forcing people to put spaghetti into cups because what else? What’s my favorite kind of stuff? My favorite kind of thing. Also tri-state area with Kevin, but you know, I’ll go wherever I do, I, I travel well.

Rich: And Jaynie what about you? Where can they, where can people find you?

Jayne: I am working very hard at team bonding.

Come visit me anytime there . Um, and I love, I love getting, We are busy with the summer, but getting ready for Halloween and the holiday season is always good. I’m also looking at the, the more serious training programs that we do. So really launching those and changing those, updating everything that we do.

Um, emotional intelligence and perhaps launching a series of conversations. So that leadership teams can get together and talk about some issues that they’re looking at, some ideas, some tips, and just doing those kind of maybe weekly conversations would be pretty exciting to do. So I’m, I’m pleased about that.

And, um, I am a creative writer, which I love and I’m passionately writing, um, my next full length play and, um, have a few things pottering about there. So I’m a very lucky person.

CJ: Jayne’s super modest. She’s a phenomenal writer.

Jayne: Mm-hmm. . Whoa. Thank you.

Rich: All right, gang. I hope you’ve enjoyed being here and I hope you continued to do so because it’s time for my speed round.

The first time anybody’s actually laughed at my, my radio DJ sound effect. Awesome. Usually people are just like, Oh yeah, sure. This is exactly what I expected to hear. Right. But you guys actually, you got it.

CJ: It’s because I know it’s you, .

Rich: All right, here’s how this is gonna work. Uh, we’re gonna give 60 seconds.

There’s gonna be music playing in the background during the entire time. That’s how I keep track of the time. I am just gonna ask you a bunch of innocuous questions. They have nothing to do really with anything. Just nonspecific questions for vague answers. You wanna give. You’re gonna be doing this as a team, which means I will either call you out by name and you will answer as quickly as you can.

Or I will just say a question with no name attached and the first person to shout out. That’s the answer for the team. The objective here is try to get as many questions answered as you can within 60 seconds. And if you guys are feeling it all competitive, like I know you are, the number to beat so far is 14.

Two. All

Jayne: right, let’s go guys short answers. ,

Rich: I love, they’re strategizing already. That’s team building facilitation for you, right? I’m ready. All right, my friends, as soon as you hear the music, I’ll ask the first question and the way we. Go. Stephanie, what’s your favorite childhood memory?

Stephanie: Um, going to Disney World.

Rich: Jayne if you could live in any, any TV home, what would it be?

Jayne: What ?

Kevin: Quick answer, Jayne

Jayne: well, Clooney Kitchen. There you go.

Rich: Uh, cj, what are you most. Proud of in your life? Um,

CJ: my marriage.

Rich: Kevin, who’s the funniest person, you know?

Kevin: Oh, Stephanie Winland.

Rich: Uh, what’s one thing you remember from kindergarten?

Kevin: The smell of crayons

Rich: Jayne, what’s your favorite holiday? A

Jayne: um, Halloween.

Rich: Stephanie, what food would you like for the rest of your life?

Stephanie: Sushi.

Rich: If you could be a cartoon character, which one would you be?

Stephanie: Peakachu

Rich: cj, what’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever visited?

CJ: India.

Rich: Kevin, Favorite movie?

Kevin: American Beauty

Rich: and Stephanie favorite Ice Cream.

Stephanie: Caramel.

Rich: I’ll give it to you gang. 11. You got 11. Sorry.

I blame Jayne.

Jayne: You know what I thought Handmaid’s tale because it was in my head and I thoght I can’t say that!


Yeah, but then we’d be laughing so hard we’d have lost five to seven seconds.

Rich: Yeah, that’s true. That is so staying in the show, . Oh my friends, thank you again. Thank you so much for coming on. Thank you for sharing your time with me and thank you, my team. That’s it. It’s time to wrap up, yet another episode of Team Building Saves the World.

If you’ve enjoyed this episode, whether you’re new to the podcast or an old fan of the show, please be sure to share with everyone you know, whether they’re a coworker, a friend, a family member, whatever. It just helps us to share vital information to all the people out there, and I want everyone to meet the crazy people that I work with.

Hence, this episode, you can find out all about us, including all of our past episodes slash podcast. You can also find us wherever you find your favorite podcast, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, Spotify. Wherever you go to listen, we will be there. And if we’re not there, I want you to reach out to us on the social medias at Team Bond Podcast and tell us where we’re not, so I can be where you are.

Plus, while you’re on those social medias, leave us a comment. Tell us what you liked about this show, how much fun you had listening to this one, or if you want to hear a specific topic for a future episode, let me know what that is. We’re looking to share this information with you. To hear what you have to say.

So my friend, before we say our final farewell for this episode, team building saves the world. Please never forget if you are within the sound of my voice. You’re on my team now and I am forever going to be on yours. So long team, and I’ll see you all next time.

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 hunts, jeopardy, and much more. Each activity, whether live, virtual or hybrid, maximizes the impact of team. With an accent on fun. Visit team to schedule your event now. Team bonding when you want. Seriously, fun results.

‘Tis the season to start planning the holidays for your team!

Thinking of planning a company holiday party but unsure where to start? In this episode Rich chats with the TeamBonding Dream Team Jayne. Kevin, CJ, and Stephanie on the dos and don’ts of holiday events and planning, funny memories, and how to plan holiday events for the upcoming season.

Join us to hear the humorous recollections from previous events and what it’s like being on the back-end planning for a corporate holiday event.

Download our Holiday Events Flyer

We encourage you to book early for the holidays. Our fun, interactive, and engaging holiday-themed team building events are led by our professional facilitators, chefs, hosts, and MCs who will make your holiday party one to remember!
Celebrate in-person, virtually, or a mix of both. We’re ready to bring on the joy with our interactive holiday team building activities.
Download our flyer or view our 50+ Holiday events here

About the Dream Team:

Director of Corporate Training and Virtual Events Jayne Hannah emigrated from England in 2002 and joined TeamBonding as an event manager. Since, she has enjoyed learning every aspect of the corporate team building industry, including facilitating, program development, and her favorite “planning everything!”.


Lead Facilitator Kevin Pertusiello is an 18-year veteran of TeamBonding and corporate event hosting, using his infectious charm and dry wit to ‘bond by accident’ and create an exciting, engaging, and memorable environment. Across the country, Kevin has enlightened and invigorated employees ranging from senior management to new recruits. working with industry giants in such fields as technology, credit cards, pharmaceuticals, TV networks, professional services firms, world banks, and international retailers. When events pivoted to online platforms, Kevin hosted over 900 virtual experiences for participants and audiences all over the world. In his other life as an actor/writer/producer, he’s been the face of a wealth of training videos, online classes, and other scripted and improvised programs, and has appeared on network television (CBS, NBC), streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon), feature films, and commercials galore.


Lead Facilitator CJ Urciuoli started off his TeamBonding career with the Mystery Cafe, and progressed into the world of corporate events where he combines and celebrates both his love of interacting with people and performing. CJ states: “Now, working as a facilitator for Teambonding seems like a culmination of everything I’ve been a part of in my past and It allows me to continue moving forward, learning, traveling, and building both my career and my family life simultaneously; I feel so fortunate to be able to do what I do and have the wonderful experiences I have!”


Lead Facilitator Stephanie Windland is an actress, singer, host, and proud New Yorker. Since graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Stephanie has been seen on national tours, on regional stages, and in many NYC bars doing improv with her friends. When she’s not performing, she works as a TeamBonding facilitator, karaoke host, and Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Tour guide for which she was featured in the New York Times.


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