Tag Archives: team building

CASE STUDY: Philanthropic Event for Pharmaceutical Company Multi Focus Event for 1,200 people

This pharmaceutical company wanted to provide a meaningful charitable team event for 1,200 attendees during their National Sales Meeting. The event would support the client’s larger overall Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative and annual day of service, benefiting local non-profit organizations in the Las Vegas area where the meeting was taking place.

Corporate Event Interactive sourced four charities in the Las Vegas area, identified their needs, purchased all supplies and executed a three hour CSR program for 1,200 attendee volunteers. Guests were welcomed to the event with a musical performance by the children from two of the school choirs in the Clark County School District. When the children finished, participants were divided into four teams to build, assemble, and create requested donation items for four charities, including:

Creating stuffed animals for children at St Jude’s Ranch

St. Jude’s Ranch, a community of homes for abused and neglected children ranging in ages from 5 years to 17 years old. Teams built and decorated a toy box for each home on the ranch and filled them with items that the children had on their wish lists, from skateboards to art supplies to board games. Team members stuffed and dressed plush animals for each child to accompany their toys while others built bicycles, tricycles and wagons for the children. A final group of participants helped the St Jude’s Ranch staff create decorations for their holiday fundraiser. Items included large candy canes, decorated trees and jumbo lollipops.

Making bicycles for Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada

Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada – With an increase in single-parent families and families with two working parents, a growing number of children turn to the Boys & Girls Club for after school activities. Participants assembled 50 bicycles, tricycles and wagons in addition to 20 pieces of furniture, including sports benches and storage boxes, for the children to use at the club. Participants also created 100 story time kits, which included books, handmade book marks and stuffed plush animals.

Adding Notes of Encouragement for Clark County School District Students’ Backpacks

Clark County School District has the task of preparing children for the future in an ever-changing and demanding world with shrinking budgets and cuts in funding. Over 11,000 students in the CCSD also have the challenge of being homeless. Purchasing necessary school supplies places an added stress on these families already in need. Participants created assembly lines and packed 360 student backpacks filled with school supplies. They also made 240 teacher kits and 100 story time kits that included classic books, handmade book marks, and novelty pillows. Participants also put together 150 solar car kits used to teach robotics and engineering lessons. Last, but not least, team members painted murals on pre-drawn canvases to beautify the walls of the schools.

Activity kits for NCCF

Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation improves the quality of life for critically ill children and their families. Participants created care packages for the patients and their siblings who were to attend Camp Cartwheel, a fun-filled 3 day camp where kids could take a break from their illness and have fun with their siblings. Teams decorated and filled summer swag bags with items needed for the camp such as sunscreen and sunglasses. Others made family care packages filled with activities such as games and puzzles to keep family members occupied during visits to the hospital. The last group of participants created 300 story time kits which included classic books, decorated book marks, stuffed plush animals and novelty pillows.

At the end of the event, donation items and gifts were presented in a surprise reveal to each benefiting charity. Representatives and children addressed the company volunteers to say thank you and accept the donations. A special thank you gift made by the children at St. Jude’s Ranch was presented to the company’s Senior Leadership eliciting tears of joy and gratitude.

These four organizations, St. Jude’s Ranch, Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada and the Clark County School District received a total of 1,932 donation items. Each item was presented with a handwritten message crafted by the volunteers who had built, assembled and packed each donation item. While the charities received much needed donations for their organizations, participants left the event with a sense of accomplishment and pride in the social responsibility commitment of their company. The CSR event was a fantastic way to end the company’s week long National Sales Meeting conference and send colleagues home having made a significant contribution to the local Las Vegas community.

For more Information, please contact:
Corporate Event Interactive, Inc.
Info@Corpevent.com or 312-540-1000

Creating a Yes, and… Atmosphere

Bringing improv techniques to the workplace.

Mention improv in almost any business setting and people think of “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” “Saturday Night Live” and pretty much any Judd Apatow film. The idea of getting up to perform in front of a group of peers can be terrifying. The idea that improvisational acting is only about being funny is a common misconception.

Improvisational acting is a great skill for many to incorporate into their repertoire. The basic constructs of improv allows one to think quickly on their feet, listen intently to the person with whom they are speaking, and support another’s idea or suggestion, even if it may be different from your own. Mastering all of these tasks is not easy, but with practice, people find skills that come in handy in the office and in life.

Chicago is known for its improvisational actors from Bill Murray to Melissa McCarthy to Seth Meyers, among many others who got their chops at Chicago’s famous training centers. (If you are wondering who else is on the list, check out Time Out Chicago’s February 2015 article by Brent DiCrescenzo). Improv has some basic principles that you can incorporate into your everyday interactions at the office. Following are three principles that you can test out for yourself.

Principle #1: Always be Positive
An improv scene comes to a screeching halt if you use the word “no.” Therefore, the first rule of improv is the “Yes, and” technique. Working with a partner, one person makes a statement such as “It looks like we are all going to get big bonuses this year!” The other person’s comment begins with “Yes, and,” continuing with a phrase such as, “I can’t wait to put a down payment on that yacht that caught my eye.” The conversation continues in this fashion, with each partner building on the ideas of the other. Improv actor Tina Fey explains the” Yes, and” method during an interview at Google.

The Yes, and… technique creates a positive environment and can have favorable effects on business as well. University of Michigan professor, Kim Cameron and his coauthors published a research article in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science finding many good outcomes come from a positive workplace. According to the article, these outcomes include:
• Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends.
• Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling.
• Avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes.
• Inspiring one another at work.
• Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work.
• Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust & integrity.

This key improv skill can help you build your team and move your organization forward. As you try it for yourself, you may find that affirming others brings out the best in your staff.

Improv Shenanigans – Taking Chances!

Principle #2: Take Action Without Fear of Making a Mistake
Another key element to improv is when you are on stage, show, don’t tell. Choose what type of action you are going to use and stick to it, really commit. The more specific you are, the easier it is for your teammates to work with you to respond and build off your movements. You cannot fail in improv…you take an action and go with it. Every action is considered an opportunity.

It’s the same in business. Sometimes we fear making a decision because we think we might fail. In the end, we take no action at all. One of our favorite quotes is by Robert H Schuller, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Improv gives you the permission to make decisions without fear of failure because you learn to look at “mistakes” as opportunities. Perhaps you should ask yourself, “Which is worse…making a mistake or missing an opportunity?” Action moves things forward. So take action without fear, both on and off the stage.

Team building with Improv!

Principle #3: Teamwork
Improv requires at least two people interacting with each other to move a scene forward. An important part of this is listening intently to one another and not overshadowing your partner. In addition to listening, rely on body language and other signs that enhance your communication. In doing so, you commit to creating a team environment on stage.

With teamwork in mind, one of your main goals is to make your partners look good. By acting in this way, everyone is free to create without the burden of competition or defensiveness. Successful improv emphasizes the relationship and interaction between people. When people feel supported, they take chances. Taking chances as a team creates great opportunities and fresh ideas.

Business is often an act of improvisation. Implementing some of the basic improvisational guidelines into your day to day interaction can help you and your team create a positive and supportive environment where the opportunities are boundless.

To learn more about the key elements of improv in a safe and supportive environment, try CEI’s Improv Workshop: Imagine the Possibilities, we would be glad to help you set up your workshop.

Contact us!
Corporate Event Interactive

Dos and Don’ts of Communication in the Workplace

Good communication is a key ingredient for a successful company. Employees experience an increase in morale, productivity and commitment if they are able to communicate effectively with one another. Here are some do and don’t tips to improve communication in your workplace.

Do Know Your Style
People have a variety of communication styles and it is easy to misunderstand a co-worker if you are not on the same page. Some folks base their communication on facts and figures while others go with their gut. Knowing what style you are, and also knowing the styles of the people working with you, can help you communicate more effectively. For fun, try Mark Murphy’s assessment to learn more about your communication style.

Do Affirm Your Preferred Method
It’s good to reflect on how you like to communicate with others– do you prefer face-to-face meetings, emails, phone calls? It is equally important to understand how your co-worker best communicates and find common ground. Once you have determined your preferred style of working together, then you can move forward and hammer out next steps.

Do Define the Objective
If you are getting together to shoot the breeze, then have fun chatting… preferably over a pint of something on draft at the local pub. But if you are meeting in order to get something accomplished for the company, start by defining the objective. This basic step is often overlooked. Be clear about your end goal and agree on the steps that will get you to that end. Decide on who will be responsible for which steps in the process and how to measure whether or not the step is achieved. These clear goals and strategies will set up your future conversations for success as well.

Don’t Ask the Wrong Questions
For example, don’t ask leading questions. Leading questions presume that you know the answer. A leading question might be, “Do you think we should host the next meeting at the hotel down the street?” This presumes you know what the answer will be. Perhaps you can say instead, “Where do you think it would be best to host the next meeting?”
In general, ask short, open ended questions that allow your colleague to give their own thoughtful answers. They might have a great idea that you hadn’t even considered!

Focus on Good Communication

Do Actively Listen
Listen to your co-worker to understand what they are saying, don’t listen in order to reply. If you are concentrating on what you will say next, then it is much harder to truly listen to your colleague. You actually might miss what they said! To help you concentrate, remove distractions at the start of your conversation. This could mean turning your phone over, closing your laptop or simply putting your back to your computer screen.

Don’t Show the Wrong Body Language
Your body language can give you away if you are not really listening to your co-worker. Shift your body in such a way to demonstrate that you are engaged in the conversation. You can do this by leaning forward, uncrossing your arms, and looking them in the eye. Without saying a word, you can show your colleague that you understand what they are saying by nodding.
Think of someone in your life who is a good listener. What do they do when you are talking together? The next time you are engaged in conversation with them, make a mental note of their behavior and then try to mimic their actions.

Practice Makes Better
Good communication takes practice. Start by trying one of the above strategies for a few weeks until you feel like you have mastered the concept. Once you feel confident, move on to the next idea. Hopefully you will find your conversations and meetings are more productive and create a positive environment.

If you are looking for a creative way to practice communication with your teammates, consider trying one of our workshops such as Improv Workshop: Imagine the Possibilities or Team Development Challenge. Other benefits to these programs include increasing group effectiveness and strengthening leadership skills. Our Team Building programs also exercise communication skills, stimulate camaraderie and relieve stress. Whatever type of program suits your group; we are here to help you.

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Corporate Event Interactive

Company Culture – Five Ideas for Your Team to Give Back

Colleagues Teambuilding & Volunteering

Colleagues Teambuilding & Volunteering

Company culture plays a big role in employee satisfaction and retention. Some companies embrace a work hard, play hard ideology, others embrace giving back to the communities in which they are located. Deloitte, Salesforce, Stryker and others listed in the March 2015 Fortune article by Benjamin Snyder (@WriterSnyder) pay their employees for their time while they give back. Employees are encouraged to get into the community and share their talents. They do good works for others, they can feel good about their achievements and proud of their company for supporting their efforts. This is a triple win!

Many groups enjoy rolling up their sleeves and spending time with their colleagues to volunteer. At CEI, we have created short, impactful programs to offer a balance of teambuilding and volunteering that can either stand alone or cap off an all day meeting or conference. We often customize the program to align with the meeting message, conference theme or company’s focus. Here we share with you some popular ideas for your company to pitch in as a group to help your community.

With Kids In Mind

Operation Toy Box volunteers making a difference

Operation Toy Box volunteers making a difference

Operation Toy Box is a popular activity that benefits children from a local charity or hospital. Volunteers have their own fond memories of playing with their favorite toys when they were kids. They instantly connect with the challenge of building a toy chest for a child in need and filling it with board games, stuffed animals and sports equipment. Teams compete in challenges to win their children accessories such as stickers and decorative items to make their toy chests stand out. The best part of the experience is when the children come in to the room at the end of the build. Here at CEI, we try to coordinate this reveal as often as we can. The volunteers are excited to see the children and the children are overwhelmed when they receive the toy chests! Tears flow, and heartfelt words are expressed…it’s a wonderful experience for everyone.

Operation Toy Box recipient thanks volunteers

Operation Toy Box recipient thanks volunteers

Another child oriented CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) event is Back2School. Teams compete in classroom themed activities to win vouchers that can be redeemed for school supplies. Backpacks and Teacher Kits are filled with necessary items to get the school year started off on the right foot. This is a great event to host in late July or August before school starts, but kids’ supplies need to be replenished during the winter months as well, making this a year round hit!

To promote literacy, volunteers might resonate with CEI’s Kid Lit program. Participants assemble story time essentials like stuffing a teddy bear, making a comfy pillow, decorating a bookmark and selecting a special book for a young reader. While many children have access to books at school or their local library, some do not have books they can call their own. This list of 11 Facts about Literacy in America, compiled by DoSomething.org, sheds light on the literacy issues in our country today. By choosing the Kid Lit event, your company creates a hands-on way to encourage children to develop a love for reading.

Adults Need a Boost Too

Boxes and cans go from hole in one to food pantry with Putt Putt for Charity

Boxes and cans go from hole in one to food pantry with Putt Putt for Charity

At CEI, we like to put a competitive spin on volunteering. One way we do this is with our Putt Putt Engineering for Charity program. This is perfect for all those people in your group who imagine themselves on the links with professional golfers Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth. Teams design their own hole in one challenge using boxes, cans and cases of food. Once building is done, each team presents their green to the judges and, if time allows, they play a round or two before donating all of the grocery items to a food bank, soup kitchen or other charity. A study conducted by the Greater Chicago Food Depository, showed that 1 in 6 people in Cook County are not sure when or where they will get their next meal. Putt Putt Engineering for Charity is a fun and easy way for your team to help so many in need.

A new activity we added to our offerings is One Team: Chemo Care. Volunteers create chemo care packages which are donated through a local Chicago charity called Lemons of Love to area hospitals. Teams compete in challenges to win additional items for their boxes. Upon completing the boxes, if available, a member from the charity will come to thank your team. If your team wants to help “Cancer Suck Less” as the charity’s motto goes, then this event is for you!

Team building with a charitable twist goes a long way to help an employee feel good about themselves, their co-workers and their company. There are many details that need to be put together to create and execute a successful CSR event. The key factor is selecting a cause meaningful to your organization. CEI can handle the rest!

Contact us!
Corporate Event Interactive

Top 5 Team Building Themes for Foodies

Food Truck Frenzy Green Team

Food Truck Frenzy Green Team

Food brings people together. Inspire team building by gathering everyone for some fun around a prep table! We encourage friendly competition at our events so teams compete in challenges to win bonus ingredients. Of course taste testing is also a requirement! We hope you get inspired to try some of these mouthwatering activities!

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza is a Chicago favorite! Teams come up with some interesting combinations from spicy chorizo to sweet pineapple and bacon…the results are delicious. We enjoy this theme for locals as well as visitors as a great way to introduce a Chicago staple. Pizza is one item that pretty much everyone enjoys and it’s fun to see what will win over the judges.

Speaking of spicy, teams tend to get into Sassy Salsa Showdown. Throw in a guacamole challenge and now we’re talking about a serious appetizer competition. This is a great team building activity to lead up to a group dinner. Add some margaritas and you’ve got a party going.

Mixing things up with Creative Cocktails

Mixing things up with Creative Cocktails

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! If your team likes mixology, we suggest breaking out the little drink umbrellas. We provide a variety of liquors including vodka, whiskey and gin along with some interesting ingredients to inspire your group of bartenders. Items may include local herbs, organic juices and even bold spices. Some teams get a blender mixing any cocktail with some shaved ice for a frosty treat. Consider challenging teams to make a cocktail to compliment your meeting theme.

Food trucks are all the rage, and our latest food team building event, Food Truck Frenzy does not disappoint! Teams receive a food category such as BBQ or Panini truck and are challenged to create a signature dish. Trucks are decorated according to theme and awards given for décor, taste and creativity. Teams make enough for everyone to sample, and this team building event provides a good appetizer for a cocktail party or pre-dinner challenge.

Food Collection for the Greater Chicago Food Depository

Food Collection for the Greater Chicago Food Depository

A wonderful opportunity for companies to combine their love of food, and team building with a charitable twist is to pack boxes for a local food pantry. Teams complete food themed challenges to win additional items for their boxes. We recommend having a representative from the selected charity or food pantry come to receive the generous donation and share more information about their cause, when they are available.

Let us know if you want to get in the kitchen with us… We’d love to work with you to cook up some excitement at your next team building function!

Contact us!
Corporate Event Interactive