“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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to give your team something to cheers about.
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 email@example.com to schedule your adventure.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.