MEGA AWESOME SUPER THANKS to all of our client partners and guests that explored connection in the workplace through our wild and crazy versions of team building and fun. Here’s how 2022 wrapped for our band of delightfully feral misfits. What corporate team building experiences you ready for in 2023? Crazy fun scavenger hunt? Graffiti lessons? Battle Bots? CSR? Bike Build? Skateboard build? Let us know!
Ignore Taylor from accounting when they rolls their eyes at the mention of icebreakers. Properly wielded icebreakers can create cohesion, boost engagement, and help drop defenses when implemented strategically for your meetings. Use this powerful tool to elevate a meeting beyond its content. Ice breakers span light hearted, probing, serious, or ridiculous but should never be chosen without a goal in mind. Measure your choice against the group’s relationship to each other and the outcome you need for your meeting. Do you need an activity to lighten the mood? Spark dialogue? Increase interpersonal knowledge? Icebreakers excel at getting people talking and laughing.
The ideas below can work in both virtual and in-person settings but this list was curated specifically with virtual or remote teams in mind.
This is the easiest icebreaker you’ll ever lead during a virtual session. The key is preparation. Are you ready? Think of a question that cannot be answered with a yes or no. Create a slide or image of this question preceded by a prompt like this, “Please answer this question in the chat”. Once you’ve got your question slide ready, stick it at the front of your slide deck and have it displayed as people enter your virtual meeting. It should be the first thing they see. Within moments you’ll start to see people answering in the chat and conversations starting because of your questions. The hardest part of this ice breaker is choosing a single question to ask. Here are some ideas and variations:
- It the chat please complete this sentence: My idea of paradise is…..
- In the chat please answer this question: How do you unwind after a long day?
- In the chat please complete this sentence: My parents named me _______ because ___________
- In the chat please complete this sentence: I can’t believe I have never….
Keep an eye on the chat and use some of the answers to start your own chats with your audience as you wait to begin. You could also go the super boring but ultimately useful route of asking a question that is related to your presentation. Then you can use the answers to riff on later as you dig into the content. You can also have new prompts anytime you go on break or come back from one.
This icebreaker is an easy one for webinars since it doesn’t require being on camera.
Group Size: Any
Time Frame: 2 to 5 minutes
3 Second Rule
Once you have everyone’s attention in the meeting ask them all to turn off their cameras. Then give the following instructions:
- In a moment I will make a statement. If the statement I make is true for you, please turn. your camera back on and join me for a 3 second dance party. After the seconds is complete, turn your camera off and wait for the next statement.
- Keep an eye on who turns their camera on if you’d like to learn more about the people in this meeting.
- I’m going to do a quick test to insure we are all on the same page. Turn your camera’s on if you can hear me talking and join me for a 3 second dance party.
- Great! Almost everyone was listening it’s time to begin.
The questions that you ask the group should be able to be answered with a yes/no answer. Here are some of our favorites. We have made some of them vague on purpose. Imagine that before each of these prompts you use the command, “Turn your camera on if…”
- You have been to 5 or more countries that you are not currently living in
- You speak more than one language.
- You watched the entirety of Game of Thrones.
- You’ve ever worn handcuffs
- You prefer to crumple instead of fold.
- You prefer Miracle Whip instead of Mayo.
- You’ve always wanted a tattoo but never got one
- Have worked at this company for 10 or more years
- You’ve ever rescued someone.
Group Size: Any
Time Frame: 5 to 10 minutes
I LOVE this activity because it gives you unique window into parts of people’s lives that aren’t obvious. During Mementos you ask people to retrieve items from their environment that answer the prompts you give them. For large groups I recommend utilizing breakout rooms and sending people into to small groups to do shares. Here are the instructions for the activity.
- In a moment I am going to ask you to retrieve something from your environment. The prompt I give you may be a question or it could be a statement you’ll have to interpret. When I say “Go”, you’ll have 1 minute to scour your surroundings for the answer you want to share.
- When you return to your camera, please keep the item off camera until I say “reveal”. We will all reveal at the same time.
- For Larger Groups: Once we’ve done our reveal for an item I will open breakout rooms. Inside your breakout room you will have X amount of time. Please remember that breakout is timed. If you take longer than one minute to share, you’ll run the risk of erasing the other person’s opportunity to share. If you’re not presenting your job is to listen with curiosity but hold your questions.
After I say “reveal” I like to “popcorn” around and ask random people about their item. After 2 or 3 I’ll open the breakouts if I’m using them. With a small group everyone would have a chance to share with the whole group and I wouldn’t use breakouts unless I wanted to pair share. Below are some of the prompts I like using.
- Something that we wouldn’t believe you have in your house/office/other.
- Something that came into your possession while having an adventure. Adventures don’t have to be globe trotting.
- Something that is unmistakably you.
- Something that will make us laugh.
- Something you’ve earned
- Something you won’t share with someone else
- Something living.
This activity can easily run down a clock before you realize it because it produces such great moments of discovery and discussion. One variation I run is doing the first 2 or 3 rounds as whole group rounds where I popcorn around and hear about items. Then I do a final round using the breakouts. Think ahead and plan your time based on how long you’ll give them to search and how long you’ll give them to share. If you have 5 people sharing in a breakout for 1 minute each plan on a 7 minute breakout. Do that 3 times and you’ll easily eat up 35 minutes between instructions, whole group shares, and breakout.
Group Size: Any
Time Frame: 15 to 45 minutes – depends on whether you use breakouts.
What’s your favorite curse word? Wet or Dry? What’s your goto gift for others? Adding a lightning round of questions to a guest panel or even a regular meeting increases both energy and engagement. You’ve seen it used on podcasts or in tv interviews like Inside the Actors Studio. We love using this tool in our daily huddles to quickly learn something new about a team member and set the tone for the rest of the session. To make this even quicker and easier we created a Rapid Fire Question Machine. Each time you click the button a new question is put on the screen. It is a fast simple way to ask a series of random questions. Best of all, this technique works in both virtual and in-person meetings!
Our guideline is that no answer should be longer than 30 seconds but you’ll find that letting the answers flow freely yields fantastic results. We rarely have to worry about long answers. And if the group wants a longer answer you can tease them with it as a reveal at the end of the meeting or on a break.
Interactive Ideas to Build Engagement With Random Questions
Here are some of the ways we use the Rapid Fire Question Technique:
- 1&3 – Choose 1 person to answer 3 questions. The big problem to solve is who to call on to answer. More about that below.
- Everybody Plays – each person in the meeting answers 1 question. If your meeting exceeds 10 or 12 people this may not be the choice for you.
- Sweepstakes– Tell you group that you are going to ask X number of questions (1 to 3) but you don’t want anyone to vocalize an answer. Instead say that on the next break you will call on random people to answer the questions. This changes the dynamic to allow people time to formulate an answer. They may not get called to share but they’ll probably use that question to start up conversations during networking or the next break, etc.
- Client Calls – Talk about a standout way to interact with a client. Ask them 3 random questions if they are game.
- Panic Questions– This game is a variation of Panic Pictures by Chad Littlefield. Tell the group that you are ask 10 questions, 1 at a time. You’ll ask the question then count backwards from 5 to zero. Before you get to Zero someone in the group must answer the question. If nobody answers the question the group loses a point. The goal is to keep all 10 points. No player may answer 2 questions in a row. It’s a fun upbeat way to get random people joining in the conversation.
Where Can You Use Quick Questions?
Where you use your questions can help break up content, set the tone or serve as a good segue into a different topic or session. Here are some ideas on where to use the questions:
- In the beginning… – Putting questions at the start of a meeting can lighten the mood, breakdown walls, and quickly build engagement.
- Breaks – Wrap up a block of content before you break or ask some questions as you come back from a break. Either way you send people into the break with fun stuff to talk about or you re-engage them coming back. =)
- At the End – You can use questions to finish out an interview or wrap up with a fun round of questions to get some laughs.
- In Slack – we often throw out a random question for a randomly selected team member to answer on our Slack. In fact, we wrote a separate article about how you can use slack to build engagement.
Easily build employee engagement and team build during your next virtual meeting with our help. One of the difficulties of remote teams is the lack of a water cooler. A place where people can casually chat about non-work subjects while grabbing a coffee or a snack. To help fill the gap left when we all left the office for the virtual space, we began experimenting with our interactions on Slack and in our daily team huddles. Here are our teams favorite ways to help build engagement, get smiles, stay in touch, and dig deeper than the work.
Our solutions use a combination of Slack, Zapier, Zoom, and more to get smiles.
Idea 1 – The Virtual Dance Party
Our team uses Slack as our primary communication method. Once our team member Eunice introduced us all to Giphy on Slack things got way more colorful. Our CEO at FireFly Team Events created a channel called Virtual Dance Party. Anyone at Firefly can call for a dance party. Once it’s called everyone posts their best animated gif via Giphy depending on what is being celebrated. Wednesday there is a mandatory dance party. The rest of the time team members can celebrate all manner of reasons to dance from successes to recognition of failures. Everything goes in the Virtual Dance Party.
Idea 2 – Lightning Round Question Generator for Meetings
Okay, we are cheating. This one is not specific to Slack. But if you huddle on Slack this can be used during your huddle. We started asking random rapid fire questions during our morning huddles. Some mornings we choose one person to answer 3 questions (nose goes!). Or we might each answer one question. The questions are easy to answer, quick, and don’t slow down the work. They also give us a fun way to find out more about our team members. To make it easier, the team created the Rapid Fire Question Generator. Every time you click the button it pulls up a random question from our bank of questions (about 300+). You can use it at huddles, mid meeting on a break, or even sneak questions in on client calls. Please steal this and do awesome things. Click here to use the Rapid Fire Question Machine
Idea 3 – Awesome Bot
This one is a bit nerdier to get up and running and requires the use of Zapier to connect to Slack. Awesome Bot is a chat bot that picks a random team member each day to either challenge or compliment. If you are chosen for a challenge it is completely voluntary. Here are some samples of the challenges that Awesome Bot might sling your way.
- Ask @everyone in #General what you should have for dinner.
- Post the following message in General Chat: The last person to type “fluffy” in this channel is a goober
- Please tell someone on the team that they smell fabulous today.
- Share one piece of personal history with the the next team member that posts
We relied on Zapier’s Formatter to power the selection of random things needed to make this work. If you want to build your own Zap and would like to pick our brains, please reach out, we’d be happy to help.
Idea 4 – The Stoke using Workflow Builder
Workflow Builder is included with your Slack subscription and we love it. The simple explanation is that it lets you automate messaging and other processes without any code. One of the ways we utilize this is with The Stoke. Everyday at 9am a form is posted to our General Slack channel that asks, “What are you stoked about right now?” Only one team member can answer the question per day. It’s become a fun little contest to see who can answer it first. The answers are posted in a Stoke channel for the team to see and soak up the positive vibes.
We also use Workflow Builder to post our huddle link daily, remind us of our core values, etc. It’s a great tool to use with static information that you want to automate like weekly reminders. There are far more complex uses of it once you start adding some of the Slack Apps into the mix.
Idea 5 – Water Cooler Chats
We realized that outside of our daily huddle there was never any socialization that happened at team level, face to face. All day we chat and have fun on Slack but there is still a HUGE value to looking at someone and using your vocal chords instead of a keyboard. We instituted the random Watercooler Chats. these are a 10 minute video call hangout. The rules are:
1. Attendance is Optional
2. No work talk allowed until after the official end time.
3. Whoever scheduled is responsible for choosing the next host before the call ends. The host picks a random 10 minute slot and invites everyone.
We like to pick non-standard start times like 2:37 for the chats. Music is a huge plus (much easier to pull off on zoom). On a recent meet Paul shared out a Google Jamboard(shared whiteboard) for everyone to doodle on. The end result was a David Hasselhoff collage… no idea how we got there.. but it was epic.
Idea 6 – Non-Standard Slack Channels
We mentioned the Virtual Dance Party but we do have some other non-standard channels that boost moral and engagement. Here are some of ours to give you ideas on expanding your channels on your Slack.
- Random – exactly what it sounds like. Random memes, photos, etc get posted here and usually have nothing to do with work.
- Weekend Warrior – Post your photos or fun stuff that goes on in your life when you’re not at work.
- Screaming – The rules are you can go in this channel and scream but you aren’t allowed to rant or give context. This is just catharsis.
Idea 7 – Slack Bot
Did you know you can have Slack listen for a keyword in all the chats and post a pre-typed message to the same channel it heard the word in? At FireFly this has never been used in a manner that is productive, only for entertainment. You have to be careful though. For instance if your CEO “alledgedly” makes the keyword your Sales Manager’s first name… that gets said far more often than you realize. Having a Slackbot message pop-up every time Michael is mentioned can be annoying and disruptive to critical conversations.
The cool thing about this feature is you can input a list of random messages for Slackbot to post. You could choose the phrase “job complete” and have slackbot choose a random congrats message from a list you provided anytime that phrase is typed in. To add your own slackbot message go into Workplace Settings and find Customize Your Workspace then select the Slackbot tab. Have fun! Here’s a tutorial
These are some of the ways that Firefly Team Events keep the mood light, the staff engaged, and morale up while planning awesome virtual and in person team building events. One of our core values is “Everybody Plays” and each of these ideas/tools help us live that value. If you have creative ways that you use slack or other tools to stay engaged, please share with us we’d love to hear from you. You can email James at email@example.com and nerd out.
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” -Winston Churchill
In March of this year it seemed by all forecasts that 2020 would be a failure. Our team took a pay cut, went on brief partial unemployment but immediately started plotting. Fast forward through an RV, lots of Alcohol, eBay, 1 loan, a Magic show, thousands of emails, hundreds of virtual meetings, and we find ourselves at the end of the year having met our ambitious financial goal we set prior to the pandemic while looking forward to 2021 events.
Sometimes if feels like we shouldn’t be here. Our hearts break for the overwhelming number of industry colleagues that are unemployed or out of business. To not only survive, but grow during this pandemic (we’ve hired 4 new full time staff members!) makes us feel incredibly lucky and grateful to our clients, vendors, and talent. Thanks to our partnerships we’ve been able to continue our philanthropic efforts with the American Camp Association and have sponsored the camp tuition of 52 children when it’s safe to play again.
In practicing gratitude, we’d like to celebrate some highlights from this very unique year.
Saving the Multi-verse
Our first virtual event was Micah vs the Multi-verse, a virtual escape room, produced in our COO’s RV during lockdown. Though Micah has since been retired, that experience allowed us to practice our creativity and play during the scariest time for our country and business.
Meeting our Heroes
Experience designer Kelsey’s worst kept secret is she is a giant nerd. So when she was invited to host an experience with geek icon Chef Duff Goldman, she had a 20 minute dance party. We continued producing experiences with some of the best talent throughout the year, featuring chefs and celebs like Richard Blaise, Dominique Cren, Rosanna Pansino and Maneet Chauhan. We’ve learned the talent they possess isn’t simply culinary, but their ability to connect with people across all demographics. Everybody loves food and the people who give it to us.
Growing our tribe
We were thrilled to welcome several new staff members to the Firefly family including Chief Cat Wrangler Reana, Taylor Swift #1 fan Sydney, Streamer Dreamer Paul, and Las Vegas Showstopper Preeti. It would be impossible to do what we do without the right people in the right seats. We feel so blessed to be hiring when so many other companies are facing mass layoffs.
You know how excited kids are to meet Santa? Now imagine those kids have spent the last 9 months seeing no one outside their family. Our cutest event of the year is definitely awarded to the dozens of families that joined us for a client hosted holiday party featuring cookie decorating, holiday jokes, elf dance parties, and private meet n greets with Santa.
Drinking With Our Clients
We found a way to make virtual beer tasting, mixology lessons, and wine tasting a reality by solving supply chain issues for our clients. They found a way to ease the strain of the pandemic stress for their customers via free drinks. Beer tasting was easily one of our most popular experiences we offered and it was a hit.
Our goal as a company is always to build feelings of connection between employees. As we socially distance and go forward in a remote world, this goal is more important than ever. We cherish every laugh, every conversation that occurs in our events because we know how hard it is to feel alone. To the over 7533 people that have joined us on a virtual event this year- thank you. We look forward to continuing to build connections next year through virtual, hybrid, and safe in person events.
2021 may bring back live events. If it does we’re ready and waiting to lead some kick ass team building events for you. If virtual remains the go-to we’re here for that too with some fabulous new 2021 events offerings. Check in with firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.
A Sneak Peak At Our Virtual Event and Promotion Ideas for the Holidays
Get a taste of our new Color Crazy art experience, see what Nosh With Tash has cooking, and experience mind boggling magic with John George and more at our Q4/Q1 holiday showcase. We’ve packed this adorable little time slot with Special Guests and visual treats to help you plan your upcoming client and employee engagements. See what your future meetings can look like!
Some of the options you can expect to see for Q4 include:
- Holiday Beer Tasting
- Craft Chocolate & Craft Beer
- Magic Hour with International Champion of Magic John George
- Lock Picking – Before there was cyber security….
- Color Crazy Sessions – Vinyl color drops and more
- Virtual Vino
- Celebrity Chef Experiences
- Chopped – Celebrity Chef Battle where you do the cooking
- Sizzle & Savor – An approachable cooking class
- Virtual Santa Sessions
- Holiday Gameshows
- Pour Over Coffee Lesson
- Latte Art Lessons
- Ugly Arts & Craft Beers
- and more……
We’ll also be offering incentives for future bookings and some pretty sweet prizes for our guests at the Showcase.
Mark Your Calendars for October 30th at 11:00am PST. Don’t forget to register!
Bars are still closed, but you can still enjoy a few cold ones with your coworkers. Tales From The Brewery – our virtual beer tasting event is now up and running! It’s ideal for an online social hour, incentive activity, or virtual conference breakout. This event is a great way to get people relaxing and having a good time together. Here’s how the virtual beer tasting format works:
The event rundown
Each participant receives a selection of craft beers in the mail. We recommend choosing three beers and sending two cans of each. This way guests will have a beer for the tasting and another to enjoy later! Our craft beer expert can assist in beer selection to ensure you have a great variety that will be well received. Additional send ahead gifting options include branded coolers or koozies so you can drink in style.
When it’s time for the event, participants will log on to be greeted by chill music and a well versed craft beer expert. We’ll lead the group in a toast to positivity to kick things off. Then it’s time to start sampling your beers! The craft beer expert will guide the group through each beverage, discussing the flavor notes, stories of the brewery, and how the selection reflects the category of beer it’s from. Through the event guests will learn about the brewing process and how to select the perfect beer next time they’re at the liquor store. The event is designed to be an interactive conversation between guests and the craft beer expert, so you’ll find no lengthy lectures, but instead passionate discourse. Your group will love the chance to drink while working and learn the stories behind the beverages.
Custom combine this event with a cooking class. Pizza and beer are the ultimate match. Participants follow along with a professional chef in making a gourmet pizza, sample some brews while it bakes, then enjoy a meal with your team over the internet.
We’re working hard to bring you new, exciting ways to connect virtually. Team building is needed by groups now more than ever so don’t hold off and wait until your next offsite. You can have fun together while physically apart! To start cracking some beer tabs open, reach out to email@example.com.
We are not a team building company. At least not anymore. March 11th our calendar of future events was wiped clean. Our purpose as a company was outlawed. And yet, 2 months later, we’re still here and doing great. Here’s how we pulled through, and the lessons we learned that might help you.
Focus on innovation
When shelter in place orders went into effect we immediately started developing new products. We kept an eye on what others were doing and sought to do things different and better. Quality became a priority for us as we didn’t want it said that an event was “good enough for being produced during quarantine.” So we created new benchmarks to hold ourselves to. We focused on making our events personal and interactive. Our goal was to grant a moment of connection during isolation and to do it in a fun, surprising way. Every virtual event was carefully designed and produced to achieve that goal. Instead of sticking a webcam in our already produced in-person escape event, we created a completely new experience meant for the virtual realm. Remember what got you here won’t get you where you’re going- so what do You need to change?
Put Yourself In Your Customer’s Shoes
During the early stages of quarantine teams were fighting to find a sense of place and identity. They were struggling with balance in this new normal. We quickly realized that skills development was not what our clients needed. We have that in spades but when you’re metaphorically looking for shelter, you don’t have the ability to focus on growth. We asked ourselves how we could help these teams and that’s why we focused all our efforts on morale. And it worked, the teams out there began thanking us for helping them tune out all the noise even if it was just for an hour. Have you stopped to ask yourself how your customers’ lives have changed since the pandemic began? How does their changed circumstance affect how you should do business?
Help others to help yourself
Aware that we were not the only ones losing business, we reached out to our contacts that were now out of work. Entertainers, bartenders, chefs, we were able to tap brilliant, talented people who were thrilled to find work and we were thrilled to have them. We focused on cultivating experiences that benefited people most affected by the shutdown which led us to partner with incredible talent like the International Champion of Magic John George, Sunset Boulevardier, and Nosh with Tash. When you spread positivity around, some is sure to come back to you.
I claimed we are no longer a team building company. I say this because this pandemic has taught us we can do so much more than that. We’ve started tailoring events for marketing and brand engagement. If we had stayed rooted to the idea that we could only offer internal events we would have lost out on our biggest client this quarter. Who else can you help? What else can you do?
Take care of your team
It would be impossible to do what we do without every member of our team which is made up of everything from flashy creatives (ahem-me) to ambitious drivers (have you met our sales account champion Michael?!). During these stressful times when other companies are monitoring productivity by tracking mousepad movement we’ve been encouraging each other to take breaks and enjoy time with their family. You can’t do your best if you don’t feel your best so take care of your team and they’ll take care of you.
These last few months have been insane, but we’re feeling inspired to keep building connections for you, your team, and your clients.. If there’s anything we can do to help whether you want a virtual gameshow to blow off steam or some answers to your questions about virtual meetings please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com to give your team something to cheers about.