virtual mixology

Virtual Mixology Team Building

We celebrated when liquor stores were deemed essential and their necessity has been proven after weeks of working from home with our lovely children. But you needn’t hide your day drinking any longer! Classically trained mixologists from Sunset Boulevardier are here to level up your cocktail game.

virtual mixology

A few months ago you would have found Danielle and Sabrina behind the bars of LA’s hippest hotels serving their signature drinks to loyal clients like Quentin Tarantino, Dita Von Teese, or Elvira Mistress of the Dark. Now they’re available exclusively through our Virtual Mixology: Cocktail Social Hour. You’re invited into their breezy Los Angeles bungalow to learn the ins and outs of mixing tasty drinks, chat about booze, and hear the hot celebrity tea.

We start with a toast to positivity and on that happy note step immediately into an interactive, live video lesson where you can learn the recipe, tips, tricks, and workarounds to 2 fun signature cocktails.  Next, the professionals are on hand to teach you how to use that ancient bottle in the back of your cabinet and will curate drink lists based solely on ingredients you have on hand- no perilous grocery run required. Finally, sit back and enjoy a drink as we open the floor to have all your questions answered about mixology, the industry, and bizarre celebrity rumors.

After this class you’ll be able to elevate your quaran-tinis and can look forward to impressing your friends at your next hosted happy hour. So no one is left out, the mixologists can also recommend substitutions to make any cocktail non-alcoholic. Send ahead options including mixology kits and ingredient baskets are also available.

Contact michael@fireflyteamevents.com to give your team something to cheers about.

Virtual Team Building Escape Room

Help your remote team Escape the couch while they are working from home. Gift them a virtual team building adventure full of puzzles, secrets, and a laughter. One of the hardest pieces of managing a remote team is morale. Finding ways to boost morale during a high stress crisis with a new remote team is challenging. It’s time for you to explore our groundbreaking escape game Micah Vs the Multiverse

MICAH VS THE MULTIVERSE

Your team must help Micah survive for 1 hour. If your team can’t help Micah… the world may not survive. THIS IS NOT A VIDEOGAME

Each member of your team will connect to Micah via group Zoom video conference. While connected, your team must use the virtual materials and tools we supply to help Micah survive her trip into the MultiVerse. To survive she must escape the situation she has found herself in.

Solve puzzles, find hidden information, unravel myths, hack emails, keep Micah calm, and figure out why somebody would create a secret message using cats to perform morse code. Your team will need to sharpen their critical thinking, communication, and creative skillsets to beat the clock. This adventure is family friendly but designed for adults.

CAN YOUR TEAM SAVE MICAH?

View More Details about our Virtual Escape Room – https://fireflyteamevents.com/goodies/Virtual_Escape_Room.pdf

Contact Michael at michael@fireflyteamevents.com to schedule your adventure.

working remotely

A Guide For Working Remotely

Our work is now illegal.  At Firefly Team Events our goal is always to bring people together with team building events.  We understand gathering your team together physically in light of the novel coronavirus is not the best idea.  We still want to help your group build strong connections while working remotely.  

Many offices have turned to telecommuting to practice social distancing.  Managers new to supervising remote workers may be struggling to adjust to these sudden changes.  Firefly’s core staff have been working remotely for years and we’ve learned a few things about keeping our morale up while working from home.  

To help you fight COVID19 caused isolation we’ve compiled the following document filled with tips on managing remote teams, staying productive, and keeping morale high.  We hope it helps transform this uncertain time into the discovery of a new love for telecommuting.

https://fireflyteamevents.com/goodies/Guide_to_Remote_Working.pdf

Experience Design 101

I recently attended Jenny Sauer-Klein’s training “Scaling Intimacy: Experience Design + Facilitation.”  It was several days in the always hip town of Berkeley with some of the coolest rock stars of experience design, culture development, and group facilitation in attendance.  If you regularly produce transformational events I highly recommend joining one of her workshops.  Since not everyone can make it to Berkeley, I’ve written out some of my key takeaways here.

The Narrative Arc

An event should tell a story, with the participant as the star.  As a film school student I loved this analogy. It allows me to compare a guest at a Wreck Em Rally event to Luke Skywalker.  Both heroes begin by learning about the world they’ve stepped into, making new friends, and discovering unknown skills they have at their disposal.  They’re then set with a task- mastering the Force and destroying the Death Star, or in our case, building a weaponized RC car and destroying their opponent.  Just as Luke trained in the Force with the help of his mentors, participants improve their designs with their teams. This all culminates in the climax, or in Jenny’s language, the pinnacle of the event (story?).  Luke uses the Force to beat the Empire and our guests use thumbtacks and bamboo skewers to beat John from accounting. Afterwards, the hero is transformed by the connections made and lessons learned along the way.

Connection

A popular goal for events is to build stronger connections.  This could look like speed networking or intimate conversations.  There are 3 keys to building connections that you can incorporate into any event or activity

  • Physical contact – this releases oxytocin, a trust building chemical in our bodies.  It also allows us to feel vulnerable around others. It is important that the physical contact feels safe and comfortable for all involved.
  • Vulnerability – Opening ourselves emotionally can be very difficult.  Adults are constantly afraid of judgement. Sharing exercises can engender the trust needed to discuss deeper topics.
  • Playfulness – If we have fun together, that feeling will become associated with the people you were surrounded by.  Playfulness also helps inspire courage to overcome obstacles together.

Guidelines

Nobody likes rules, but establishing parameters on the behaviors expected at an event can help to craft the mindset participants will use during your experience.  This allows you control over creating the culture of your event by explicitly stating how things should be done around here. I appreciated Jenny’s guidelines as being positive examples rather than negative warnings.  “Be prompt, and ready for adventure!” sounds far more enticing than “Don’t be late and unprepared.”

Play

My LinkedIn profile proudly proclaims that I play professionally, and it’s true.  I’m lucky that my job requires me to literally play games. It can be hard for others then to understand how to incorporate play into their busy schedules with no time for games.  Jenny’s definition of play is “Play is not an activity but a mindset of being curious and joyful in the journey.” By using this definition, you can integrate the spirit of play into everything you do.  

At Firefly we try to design the best experiences possible for our clients.  With these lessons, we hope that you might be able to harness the power of play at your office.  To go on your own hero’s journey and play with us, reach out here.

networking events

Embracing the Awkward: How to Navigate Networking Events With Ease

Sweat drips down your back. Your clammy palms leave smudges on your wine glass. Cheeks tense from extended fake smiles. You must be at some networking events! Whether a casual mixer or industry trade show, networking events are invaluable aspects of doing business. Unfortunately, it can also be the stuff of nightmares. Surrounded by strangers and aware your professional success depends on the connections you make, it’s easy to be transported back to a middle school dance desperately clinging to the walls. As an event emcee, I make connections with groups of strangers on a daily basis. In this post, I’ll share tips and lessons I’ve learned to help you grow from awkward wallflower to networking events maven- no personality change required! 

Step One: Set Your Goal

Before setting foot at the event, take time to manage your expectations and clearly define your goal.  Don’t settle for something generic and ultimately meaningless. Of course you’re there to meet people, but who, how, and why?  Ask yourself these questions: 

What do I need help with? (Who could help me with that?)  

How can I help others? (Who might need that help?)

These answers help guide both your conversations and who you spend time with.  Get an idea of who will be attending the event by skimming the email chain or public RSVP list.  Do some quality LinkedIn stalking and take note of who you’d like to connect with.     

Step Two: Acknowledge the Awkward

With your goal decided, it’s time to mentally prepare for your networking session.  Networking can be mentally exhausting, especially for introverts. I find that many people try to put on a performance of themselves while networking, attempting to showcase what they consider to be their best attributes.  This often causes interactions to feel like a job interview. Instead, recognize that everyone feels a little awkward and RELAX. The more genuine you can be, the more people will be willing to trust you and open up. A tactic that helps me is to use mindfulness to create space around any negative thoughts I have.  Instead of thinking “I’m scared” think, “I’m feeling scared.”  This helps to acknowledge your current feelings as temporary things that can be changed.  

Step Three: Have Conversations That Matter

Don’t get stuck talking about the weather for two hours!  My response to people that hate small talk is to NOT engage in it.  If you don’t care about the subject matter, your conversation partner probably doesn’t either.  Ideally networking discussions should be exciting and filled with ideas or personal stories that help build connection.  If you haven’t yet, check out Chad Littlefield’s talk on Conversations That Matter. By turning our focus to asking powerful questions and caring about the answers, we become far more memorable than spouting our resume repeatedly.  I personally like carrying his We Connect conversation cards with me on networking events. By phrasing the questions like a game you can have fun learning about each other by sharing answers.         

Step Four: Share the Love

Come from a place of service and focus on how to help those you’re connecting with.  Be a human switchboard and help your new found friends by providing relevant introductions to those in your network.  Act as a sounding board and throw out some brainstorm ideas. Empathize with problems and share anecdotes of your failure.  By being of service, you get a chance to demonstrate your skills and expertise. Meanwhile, your contact will be grateful and more inclined to return the favor.

Step Five: Take it Online

Networking Advice 101 will remind you to reach out to your new connections a day or two after the event.  My suggestion is to put more care into those emails than the standard “It was nice to meet you!” Have some actual content to share.  This will be made easier by those more meaningful conversations you had in Step Three. A follow up question on a topic you discussed, or a link to an article that aligns with your shared interests can be far more appreciated than the virtual equivalent of flailing your arms and asking “Remember me?!”      

By following these steps you should be able to feel more relaxed and find more success at networking sessions.  For more help breaking the ice, check out FireFly Team Events’ Maximum Mixer. We’ll lead activities for the whole room designed to get you laughing and getting to know each other.        

corporate holiday party

Secret Santa Sucks. Alternative Corporate Holiday Party Ideas

As we enter the final quarter of the year, we’ve been taking stock of how much we’ve grown as a company and the awesome things we’ve accomplished this year. None of them would have been possible without our incredible team going all in for our goals. The end of the year is a great time to reward staff for their hard work and recognize their dedication with a fun event. Unfortunately too many corporate holiday parties are plagued with cheesy sweaters, disappointing gift exchanges, and awkward eggnog fueled interactions. To ensure your end of year corporate holiday party meets its goals and is actually enjoyed, check out some of our favorite year end events!

Minute Madness Corporate Holiday Party

Possibly our most popular (and hilarious) event! Teams compete head to head in a series of zany challenges. Household items are utilized in ways you never imagined. Challenges that involve the entire team are mixed with games played by self-selected champions so everyone can play to their comfort level. We also know that it is the time of indulging in too much ham and chocolate. Rest assured the physicality of the game is kept to a minimum. You can even play while wearing your Thanksgiving stretchy pants! Upon request, we can also theme your games to be our special holiday edition.

Mixology: Bar Fight!

Everyone has their favorite holiday cocktail. Whether your staff love mulled wine, hot buttered rum, or peppermint schnapps (maybe you employ my grandma?), this event gives them a chance to showcase their favorite recipe. We bring in a professional mixologist who teaches a lesson on the basics of craft cocktail creation. Then, it’s up to the team to stir, shake, brew, or mix the best possible cocktail. Basic tools and ingredients are provided. But teams will need to complete mini challenges to earn specialty items that give their creation its competitive edge.

Wreck Em Rally

Nothing says holiday spirit like designing killer robot cars and setting them loose in an arena of total destruction. This event that is a mix of Battle Bots and real life Mario Kart. Teams customize RC cars to be vehicles of mass destruction. Our only design notes: be pretty and STAB ALL THE THINGS. Once a critical level of awesomeness is achieved, we attach balloon targets to the cars and set them loose in our battle arena. The swell of cheering adults over the popping of a balloon attached to a toy car never ceases to be both amazing and inspiring.

Your staff deserves more than a sad secret santa. They want to crash murder cars while sipping hot chocolate that’s about 80% Bailey’s Irish Cream. So put down the hot glue gun you were about to use to attach fluff balls to a sweater. Step away from the Now That’s What I Call Holiday Music! Vol:53. Let us know how we can help keep you off your staff’s naughty list by planning the most epic year end party ever. Email us at events@fireflyteamevents.com 

meeting attendee travel tips

Business Travel Tips to Get Out of Your Hotel Room!

Traveling for business can be a great perk, but it can also be dull and lonely at times.  When your meetings are done, solo business travelers often find themselves alone in their hotel room flipping through cable channels, missing home, contemplating the function of a rubber duck.  Avoid this sad image and utilize your time for maximum awesome. As a corporate facilitator I travel several times a month, and I’ve picked up a few business travel tips to combat boring. Following this advice your social media followers will think you’re at vacation, not a conference.

Explore the area

Even if your destination wouldn’t be featured by LonelyPlanet anytime soon, there’s still plenty of unique local sights to experience.  To get off the beaten track of museums and aquariums check out atlasobscura.com. It will show you often overlooked attractions near you.  If you have time, you could also enjoy some nature. I always bring a swimsuit and sneakers I can hike in and use the AllTrails app to help me find routes to explore.  Seeing the area will give you great conversation topics the next day when people ask how your travel has been.

Local Events

Whatever time of year it is, there’s always some sort of festival going on.  Use social media like Facebook Events to find out what’s happening the night you’re free.  Don’t be afraid to join something you wouldn’t normally. You’ve got nothing else going on and that Goat Yoga class is probably more interesting than watching Friends reruns on TBS.  For discounted tickets browse sites like Groupon, they’re often used to sell last minute tickets at bargain rates.

Connect with your colleagues

Chances are you’re not a lone wolf in your field.  Use this time away from biological family to bond with your work family.  Ask the organizing team to book a team building program for the event like Leisure Olympics or Wreck Em Rally.  It will give your group something to look forward to and break up the monotony of weeklong meetings.

Treat Yo Self

Blow that per diem like a baller.  Plan some YOU time. Me time looks like soaking with a bath bomb while binging Netflix and snacking on M&Ms.  It’s okay if you’re not staying at a luxury resort. A quick trip to Target and you can have all the relaxation essentials.  Most resorts also offer a spa or amenities pass to non guests for a small fee.

Be a Ninja

You’re alone in a town where no one knows you.  Soon you will be off on a plane to ports unknown.  You’re probably already wearing professional black.  Sounds like a ninja story to me. Fulfill your destiny with a game of Sneaky Cards.  Complete challenges without being detected and feel awesome (because you are). This and other single player games help keep your brain fully activated.  Visit a local game shop and recruit some nerds in your battle against the mundane. Fun is too important to forget.

Now that you’re armed with the best solo business travel tips, it’s time to explore all our team building options to make your next meeting or conference truly memorable. Contact us at events@fireflyteamevents.com.




Help Send Rashad and Amir to Camp Woodward

With our Ramp It Up skate board build team building event, an ultimate goal is to bring greater accessibility for youth in all walks of life to the sport of skateboarding. We came across a heartwarming campaign just as we’re preparing to facilitate another Ramp It Up event next week: Rashad and Amir are brothers in Detroit, Michigan. They took up skateboarding a little over two years ago and have flourished in the sport. The siblings have wanted to attend Camp Woodward, the ultimate summer camp for youth skateboarding since they were first introduced to the sport. As you can probably imagine, skateboarding summer camp does not come cheap. We’re sharing their GoFundMe campaign in the hopes of bringing awareness to their positive story.

https://www.gofundme.com/send-radhad-and-amir-to-camp-woodward

The Not Impossible Labs

Graffiti is has a special role in our collective Firefly hearts. When I saw what the Not Impossible Labs was doing to help Tempt, a graffiti artist paralyzed by ALS, I had to share. Not only was I moved by the story of Tempt, I am blown away by the mindset and hustle of The Not Impossible Labs. When I travelled through India I learned the phrase, “The only thing that is impossible is No.” To me, that captures the spirit of the Not Impossible Labs. Watch out Mick Ebeling I may come knocking on your door sometime soon =)   – James B, CoFounder of FireFly Team Events

best escape rooms for team building in orange county logo corporate

5 Best Escape Rooms in Orange County [Updated for 2018]

Nearly two years ago I shared my thoughts on the top 5 Best Escape Rooms in Orange County.  What was a rising hip trend has become a fully fledged recreation industry complete with die hard enthusiasts.  You don’t have to be a Sherlock Holmes to enjoy an escape room, they’ve become a popular social activity for all groups.  With their sudden prevalence it can difficult to choose which room is right for you, especially if you’re new to the game.  I’ve sifted through the legions of escape rooms and have determined my top 5, all of which have a unique excellence that makes them worth checking out.

It’s no secret that we at Firefly Team Events love escape rooms. With so many rooms to choose from it can be daunting picking the right room for your team. With the help of my fellow escapees I compiled a short list of my favorite escape rooms in Orange County. I consider theming, creativity of puzzles, difficulty and overall entertainment value. If a room sparks your interest I encourage you to check it out, let them know who sent you and see if you can beat our time!

Read our blog on how to make escape rooms more meaningful for corporate groups http://fireflyteamevents.com/escape-rooms-corporate-team-building/

1. Red Lantern Escape Rooms – “Midnight on the Bayou”

First of all, this room design is gorgeous.  Utilizing a whopping 1,000 square feet, the crew at Red Lantern completely transport you to a sultry Bayou evening.  In a market saturated with prison breaks and cramped rooms it’s refreshing to visit an expansive, immersive environment that wouldn’t be out of place in Disneyland.  The creativity doesn’t stop with the set design, even veteran players will enjoy the unique puzzles and well crafted storyline.

2. Mission Escape Games – “Escape the Hydeout”

Speaking of Disneyland, right across the street at Anaheim’s Gardenwalk, Mission Escape Games hosts “Escape the Hydeout” which is as clever as its wordplay suggests.  Inspired by the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, teams must follow clues left by Jekyll before Hyde returns.  I enjoy the reference to literature other than Sherlock Holmes, but the real place this room shines is the puzzles and clue system.  Often rooms might brag they are “hard”, but the difficulty is just due to complete leaps of logic.  In Hydeout, the puzzles and use of tech are extremely creative and sideways thinking, but nowhere near impossible.  The staff do a great job when giving hints, not ruining the puzzle, but guiding your thought process so you still get that great “aha!” moment.

>>>Want To Work With Professional Facilitators? Try our Team Escape!<<<

3. Crossroads Escape Games – “The Fun House”

I’ve already sang my praises for Crossroad’s Hex Room, which I believe is still one of the best rooms out there.  I was hesitant to check out The Fun House because a super creepy looking clown looms over its entrance and after being scared in the Hex I was not about to subject myself to an hour trapped with the most horrifying creatures on the planet.  Well, I feel sheepish to admit it, but the Fun House is not only light hearted fun with no scariness in sight, it’s actually the best room for kids in the county.  Most escape rooms have age limits starting around 10, but the Fun House welcomes all ages as long as anyone under 13 has a grown up with them.  You’d think in a room fit for kids the puzzles would be overly simple and obvious, but I found that they were actually enjoyable for adults as well.  The room isn’t overly difficult, it’s escape rate is a comforting 40% so I recommend it especially for new players.

4. Escapade Games – “Zoe”

There’s some strong overlap between the escape room and haunt industries.  Nowhere is this influence more prevalent than with Escapade Game’s room “Zoe”.  The difficulty rating is set to Medium, but in order to escape you not only have to keep your wits in solving the clues, you’ll need to literally stop yourself from running out of the room in terror.  Seriously, they keep a tally board of teams that do this.  Throughout the game you’ll be able to travel through several immersive environments, similar to a maze at a horror event.  In order to concentrate on your clues you’ll need to take them with you to a place of safety…if that feeling is possible to achieve in such a scary place.  Many horror rooms can come off as cheesy, community theatre actors grunting in imitations of chained zombies, but Zoe has all the production value of a Hollywood thriller.

5. Unlocked – “Return of the Magician”

Escape rooms don’t all have to have elaborate sets or flashy technology to be a good experience.  When completing Unlocked’s “Return of the Magician”, you’ll repeatedly experience surprise and appreciation for the well crafted, intuitive puzzles and how well they fit the storyline.  Magic is always fun and Unlocked gives you a glimpse into the workings of several magician’s tricks leaving you feeling like a cool insider.  They also aren’t afraid to be silly, so you’ll get to expect laughter, not screams from this venue.

Escape Rooms Tips for Newbies

When your team is ready to try out an escape room make sure to be clear about the facility’s policies. Some rooms are a flat rate for the hour, while others are a per person charge which could lead to being partnered with strangers. Plan to have dinner or hit the bar after your escape since your team will want to talk about the experience. If you want to use the outing as a team building tool consider hiring a team building professional that can facilitate a debrief of your time and help your team examine how they solved the problems together. Remember that escape rooms can be stressful which may cause individuals to speak shortly to one another. If your team is stressing out have everyone take a breath. It’s meant to be fun!

As the industry develops we see lots of room types become available.  Experiences vary dramatically between fun kid’s jaunts to terrifying houses of horror. To have an escape room style experience brought to your office or convention contact us about our Team Escape! by emailing events@fireflyteamevents.com

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.