This blog is the journey of Lorenc Consulting and Entertainment as we continue to encourage creativity and innovation by using the concepts of improv comedy in everyday life. Any kind of group or organization can benefit from our improv-based corporate training, focusing on team-building, hyper listening and communication skills, and thinking on your feet.

The Benefits of Corporate Team Building Events

by Toby Lorenc

The Benefits of Corporate Team Building Events

Corporate team building events can bring staff closer together and can enhance employee engagement levels dramatically. They can encourage staff to interact and communicate even when they have barely liaised with one another before, and can heighten staff morale levels, making your staff happier and ultimately more productive. Corporate event entertainment can be excellent when it comes to team building, and by putting on an unforgettable, magical event for your staff you can show them that their efforts are appreciated and reward them for their hard work. Your event can incorporate games and other activities that can help staff work together in a fun and interactive way, and can underline the importance of teamwork at the same time.

Promoting Interaction

Whether you’re booking Christmas party entertainment or putting on an event at any other time of year, the acts that you book can nurture interaction and participation, making everyone feel like they are part of the occasion. In a more relaxed environment, staff can give feedback about how they feel about their workplace, what makes them happy and what can be improved. The slate is blank when it comes to business event planning, and you can be as creative as you like. A fun corporate event can nurture job satisfaction, allowing staff to feel wanted and part of a happy and productive team.

Better Team Building Activities

Your event can include a mix of team-building exercises, brainstorming sessions and role-play, and there’s surely no better way to round off an event than offering up great food, drink and entertainment. If people that rarely communicate with each other interact with each other at an event, they can take their new-found friendship back to the office afterwards.  A corporate event can make your team more closely knit, and enable them to focus better on common goals. Team building activities at corporate events can establish new groups and break down the barriers between existing ones.

Booking Christmas Party Entertainment?

Meanwhile, when it comes to corporate event entertainment, your options really are vast, but it can be an idea to ask your team about what does and doesn’t appeal to them to avoid alienating them. If your staff are bored at a corporate event, you may find that the results bear little resemblance to what you were targeting. Ask for suggestions and you’ll get a better idea of which kind of live entertainment might appeal, whether they’re interested in something conventional such as a live band or a comedian, or perhaps something more outlandish such as a stilt walker, fire eater or even a life like dinosaur – a surprisingly common sight at some of today’s corporate parties. You may find it easier to book entertainment through an agency rather than going alone, as the acts booked this way are typically vetted and of extremely high quality. This takes much of the risk away from booking event entertainment, ensuring that the performers themselves are of a higher calibre. 

SWOT some sense into it

by Toby Lorenc

Ever feel confused where to go next with potential opportunities?  Try the SWOT analysis: a quick and easy way to evaluate new programs, ideas, and strategies.

During a strategic meeting today, the leadership team was dropping the phrase, "We should do a SWOT on that" and our admin assistant finally asked me what the hell they were talking about. I'm glad she asked the question - and it made me realize there are some incredibly effective techniques for dealing with new opportunities that many people are not familiar with.

Do you know what SWOT stands for?  It's okay if you don't - you're here to learn.  SWOT is an acronym (that's a word where each letter represents a word - wow, you're learning all kinds of stuff today! including some terrible grammar and punctuation from this blog post!). Anyway, it stands for STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, and THREATS (S.W.O.T.).  As you work with it, keep in mind that typically the 1st two (strengths and weaknesses) are typically internal to the team or organization, the 2nd two are usually external (outside of the company, team or organization).

Here's an example, which hits close to home and is totally transparent:

  • Lorenc Consulting and Entertainment wants to launch corporate training to companies worldwide, using the concepts of improv comedy:
  • * We've been doing it for 8 years
  • * Whenever we do it, we get rave reviews
  • * We can customize the training for groups and companies
  • * Our trainers are very knowledgeable on improv
  • * We have worked with large, worldwide clients already
  • * We have a niche market for team building using improv comedy
  • * Schedules of trainers make it tough to schedule
  • * We don't currently have a worldwide reach other than previous clients
  • * Our costs are prohibitive for smaller companies or organizations
  • * Communicating the importance of our message
  • * Creating a sales pitch that encompasses what we do 
  • * Helping organization and teams find value before they see the results of the training
    • Using our connections through Center for Creative Leadership and other worldwide organizations to promote our training
    • * Finding non-profits to "donate" our training hours with hope of word-of-mouth advertising
  • * Making more connections to Organizational Development (OD) professionals
  • * Networking with individuals with whom we've done Confidence Coaching
  • (T) THREATS:
  • * Larger improv groups and training companies taking development money 
  • * Online training and low-cost solutions

Make use of this valuable analysis in your groups, teams and organizations to develop strategies and best use of resources. 

Don't let your confusion stall you from making important decisions. Now that you have this information, you are "in the know" and as GI Joe reminds us, "Knowing is half the battle" - you're welcome for that 80's flashback :)

Your lingo may not be right on

by Toby Lorenc
As I waited for an appointment with an HR person recently, I was reminded of how important our words are in our quest to present ourselves.

I sat in "Sally's" office while she talked with a prospective employee.  She was very kind to the candidate on the phone, but as soon as she hung up she blurted, "Are you KIDDING me?!?" in frustration.

The individual was getting information on the hiring process at the company and kept repeating, "right on" after Sally told him their hiring protocol. He immediately closed the door to any opportunity with this company because of his language and gave himself a thumbs-down rating with the HR gatekeeper.

Certainly, we all know not to drop curse words and questionable jokes while talking to prospective employers, but have you thought about other jargon you use when talking to others?

Sally wants professionals and grown ups at her company, and Mr. Applicant was portraying just the opposite with his college-based grammar.  He will probably never even have the chance to interview at this company, which he felt was "right on."

Keep in mind that there is never a second chance to make a first impression. Your language can create an impression that will stop you cold and you'll never even have a chance for a face-to-face interview.

Certainly, the words and phrases you choose can create a lasting impression and it's debatable which specific jargon will stop you cold in your tracks. But be conscious of how you're presenting yourself (even over the phone) or your "right on" might become a "write off."

Additional Resources:

Life with the unhappy co-worker

by Toby Lorenc
Most of us don't have the luxury of choosing our co-workers. There are all types of people, personalities, emotions, and challenges that enter the workplace in the form of co-workers. Truth is, we all bring a good and bad mix to the environment.

So, how do we learn to deal with a difficult colleague?

I'll say it now - I don't have all the answers and I would be curious to hear your stories of how you've dealt with difficult people in the past.  However, I do have a few suggestions which come straight from the concepts of improv comedy.

Positivity: Personally, I think this is the most important. In improv comedy, we focus on being positive on stage. It's resisting the urge to fight, argue, put others down, and just have a bad attitude in general. Keep yourself and your comments positive. No one likes the constant whiner who's never happy about anything and your positive attitude will be noticed and appreciated by others.

Listening: It's easy to ignore someone who annoys you but take a moment to truly listen to what they're asking for, challenging, or proposing. Their ideas may surprise you, despite the way they choose to communicate them. Listen, observe, then wait...listen some more.

Encouragement: Take the high road and turn around with a compliment, even if you're being insulted. Yes, much easier said than done, but you'll gain respect with everyone around you. Look for the gifts and talents that person brings to the table, not the negative things.

Whether you're on a direct team with a difficult person, or simply in the same organization, remember you're there to accomplish the same goal. Find ways to make others the hero! I guarantee you that everyone has something to add to your team, from skills to ideas. Find their passions and use them to mutually accomplish your goals.

Choose your battles: I had a boss who believed in this concept to the core. Some discussions and arguments simply are not worth wasting your energy. Some people just enjoy arguing with you and they're simply fighting just to watch you get frustrated. Don't waste your time - move on to the important things that are truly going to make a difference. 

Tell us your experiences dealing with others in your organization - we all learn best from experience!

Additional References:
15 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations
How to Really Listen to Someone
"Yes, and" Business

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