2020 has been a tough time for many. However, even on the darker days, I feel great pride to be part of the remarkably resilient event industry. We are a fabulously creative bunch. When lockdown struck, we donned our thinking caps and devised fun and engaging ways to connect people. That said, I think you’ll agree with me when I plead, stop with bog-standard zoom calls, we can’t take anymore! But wait… thankfully there’s an exciting new trend emerging in the form of hybrid events. The guys over at Eventify have some novel ways to keep guests and delegates engaged with virtual and hybrid events. Plus, their friends at Firebird Events are catapulting virtual team-building to new levels.
I caught up with Phoebe Hindson from Firebird to get the lowdown on virtual team building….
Phoebe, let’s kick off with which is your favourite virtual team building session, and why?
Our Horse Race Night is a huge hit. Whatsmore, it is loved by clients and guests alike. Many see it as a chance to get dressed up, and some even wear a hat! It is a brilliant interactive session packed full of banter and live-action rivalry enjoyed by everyone. You can see why it is fast becoming one of our favourite all-weather activities to deliver, and thankfully the rain never stops the race.
We’ve all heard of virtual meetings and quizzes, it would seem everyone is doing them, but how does virtual team building work?
In many ways, virtual team building doesn’t differ from classic event management. We work personally with each client to ensure we meet their team building objectives. Practical questions are asked, for instance, the group size and time allocated for the activity. We also need to know if they have a preferred IT platform and any factors vital to the success of the session. And then the fun starts! We present several activity suggestions and give clients a chance to decide on the best option for their team. Pre-event, all participants receive everything they need, such as login codes or equipment packages sent out in the post. On the day, guests are taken through the activity by one of our fabulous hosts. It is straightforward and hugely effective.
Increased team cohesion is one of the key purposes of team building. How do you ensure this is maintained when running a virtual session?
The use of virtual breakout rooms is essential in many of our team builds. Participants are given a task to complete, often with a time limit. Each group is put to the test and must use excellent communication and teamwork to succeed. Inevitably, the sessions generate plenty of friendly competition between teams and require resilience and problem-solving in abundance.
That said, we do have some activities which do not use breakout rooms, for example, Terrarium Making and other workshop-style activities. These provide a calming environment where participants feel stress-free and connected. We recommend these activities are completed in small groups so everyone can see each other and chat amongst themselves to maintain team bonding.
Do you offer any ‘live’ elements to your virtual team building?
Yes, and this always enhances the whole experience. We have a selection of activities which involve packages sent to guest’s homes in advance.
These include Baking and Cooking Experiences as well as Cocktail Mixology, Wine Tasting, Terrarium Making, Life and Mandala Drawing.
My particular favourite is Candle Making, seeing the finished product is fabulously satisfying. There is a practical element to posting out packages in time, so guests have everything they need for the activity. But the excitement and anticipation of receiving a personalised special delivery ahead of the event are second to none.
There is nothing worse than someone with poor Wi-Fi glitching on a zoom call. How do you ensure the tech side of things doesn’t interrupt the important stuff?
I hear you; this is so frustrating for everyone involved. As you would expect, we are consummate professionals with extensive technical support and experience. As part of our strict business continuity plans, we implement various backup systems for all of our events to ensure consistency and continuity. Clients need not worry; we take care of all of this.
Are there any restrictions on the number of guests per session?
Yes and no. It differs from activity to activity. Many work for huge groups designed to be sessions delivered during a full conference agenda. For example, our Networking Challenge is super speedy and gets everyone connecting. Whereas, other activities such as Candle Making are better suited to smaller groups, allowing participants to immerse themselves in the session with maximum interaction with others. There is something available for any group size!
What has been the response to the virtual sessions you have run so far?
We have had the most wonderful feedback from our clients. With teams forced apart during lockdown, understandably many have seized the opportunity to connect again for some much-needed team bonding. Clients have been delighted with how smoothly sessions have run and levels of engagement. Encouragingly, many see virtual team building sessions as part of their long term strategy alongside future face-to-face events.
How can anyone interested in booking a virtual team building session get in touch?
I would definitely suggest you get in touch with the team at Eventify. We regularly work together, and they can manage everything for you. Together we ensure your next virtual event runs seamlessly, including booking one of our many team-building sessions.
So that’s virtual team-building in a nutshell. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of both cocktail making and life drawing. A combination of the two sounds perfect. Make cocktails to start with and enjoy drinking them while channelling your inner Picasso!
Diary of a Party Girl