Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let's play two!

Let’s Do Two!

The great Hall of Fame baseball player, Ernie Banks, loved baseball so much that he said, "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame... Let's play two!" Yesterday was a beautiful day, and I had two separate events at two different locations. It was a beautiful day.

The Promotional Event

The Hilton Hotel Family contacted Murder on the Menu/TeamBuilding Unlimited because they were hosting a special regional multi hotel HR department meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose, and they needed creative, interactive entertainment. Their budget was on empty. We were willing to showcase our creativity in a shortened promotional format. They will see the possibilities.

We wanted to grab their attention, sustain the energy and end with something that would make them remember our strong points. Customized and creative pacing, energy, and interactive entertainment, are all about who we are and what we do. Suspense in different forms creates a dynamic tension among the participants.

Three activities were selected, The Arresting Cop, the Wacky Mini-Olympic Games and the Chocolate Tasting Seminar. Each activity requires different types of preparation, presentation, timing and interaction.

The Cop enters the room armed with information, ideas and relevant gifts for the suspects. It’s a surprise. Tension begins to build as he walks slowly around the room. The impenetrable wrap-around sunglasses give him a slightly tough look. He asks for a specific suspect. The hush in the room is broken by a gasp and pointing fingers spotlight the female suspect who is unaware she is about to be given a customized running shoe with her San Francisco Marathon time on the label. The laughter begins. The woman wonders how the cop would know that information. Nobody else in the room, including the contact, knows this bit of running history.

The pace quickens when next the participants are divided into teams to take part in the Wacky Mini-Olympic Hilton Family Games. From the first activity to the last all of the guests are engaged and determined to win. The Duffle Bag Relay brings out laughter and their competitive nature. The culmination is when each member of the winning team accepts his or her own customized first place bottle of champagne.

Saving the sweet for last, the high end Chocolate Tasting Seminar gets them in a quiet place. I always wonder which chocolate will they like the most. They enjoyed it all.

In only one hour, I’m able to fill them with energy, knowledge, and great chocolate. I leave ready to start again.

I quickly pack my bags and head off to the SUN Microsystems campus for a murder mystery dinner for 115 World-wide Finance Team participants.

The Mystery Dinner

Setting up the sound and light, putting out the clues, rehearsing with the actors, coordinating with the catering staff, the contact at SUN, distributing the programs to the guests are just part of my excitement. Because we integrate the language and jargon of this group at SUN, we get their attention. Our contact gives me some extra last minute jargon, the actors use it and the mystery takes off. Guests read clues into the microphone and ask questions of the actors and accuse some of their fellow workers. Our detective, fedora, badge and trenchcoat arrives and the real fun begins. He has “secret” information about some of the guests, and he shares it with dramatic flare. The roar of laughter, the self-deprecating corporate humor gets everybody involved. The entire show builds throughout the dinner and ends when all of the crimes are solved. Corporate suspects take the stand and are found innocent of all crimes even though their peers believe them to be guilty. Another mystery solved by our special detective, Frank T. Lawman. The winning team receives prizes and the evening winds down.

I pack up all of the materials and equipment, and I am on the road again. It was a beautiful day…Let’s play two.

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