Virtual beer tasting class promo image

Virtual Beer Tasting

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

virtual beer tasting custom beer cooler

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.

virtual beer tasting class

Customize it!

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 michael@fireflyteamevents.com.

How our event company is thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic

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.  

 

Pivot!

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 michael@fireflyteamevents.com

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 

We’ve been featured on Peerspace!

Our popular Team Graffiti event was the first idea featured on Peerspace‘s “12 Creative Corporate Event Ideas near Los Angeles.” Thanks for the love, Peerspace!

Original article posted on Peerspace:

Paint the walls with Team Graffiti

Spend two to three hours learning to make street art with the experienced “graffiti crew” at Firefly Events. All you need is a large outdoor space where your team can split up into small groups to learn the basics of graffiti art. Use this as a brainstorming activity to come up with new branding ideas. You’ll end the day with a colorful canvas you can bring into the office for ongoing inspiration and conversation.

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.