Dear Darla: Out-Side-The-Box Ideas to Infuse New Energy at an Event


Dear Darla,

Loved your article last month, I’d never have thought of those creative ways to put together a great event without breaking the bank!  Thank you!

Now, I have a dare for you, Dear Darla.  I want to do something really unique for our holiday party this year. Can you come up with some outside-the-box ideas to infuse some new energy into this year’s event?

Thank you –

Stumped near Stanford 

Dear Stumped,

I accept your dare and I’m up to the challenge!  Coming up with outside-the-box event ideas may not be rocket science, but I will hypothesize that there are certainly proven ‘variables’ and ‘controls’ that will most certainly result in an outstanding, memorable party for you.

Moving your event off campus always adds an element of surprise and freshness to an event; kind of like adding garlic to vanilla ice cream….a bit of mystery, some anticipation and a fresh take on tradition.  Fun destinations might be Monterey, San Francisco or Wine Country (and shake it up a little, pardon the pun!).

If you choose to stay local, find an excellent venue that has a different look and feel from the ordinary and mundane. You don’t want to see feet dragging and yawns upon arrival-it’s not a great way to start a festivity.

Consider doing an ‘employee only’ event-it will encourage your colleagues to bond outside the office.  How about tossing in a really fun team building activity that will get them laughing out loud as a great way to break the ice and loosen everyone up for the party?

Add a bit of mystery —Last month one of my clients really got the employees going with a top secret team building activity.

Employees were invited to a day of intrigue.  They were told to meet in the parking lot at 8:30 am and to dress comfortably, but in black….This really got conversations going.

As they sat on the bus riding to our Clubhouse, they were handed an envelope, while watching a short video presenting them with a super-secret mission.  Once the busses arrived the newly commissioned “agents” gathered and started on their quest to solve an intricately designed “Mission Possible.”

After that activity, they sat down to an exquisite luncheon with a variety of foods and beverages.  Remember, we’re outside-the-box here, so no lasagna!  Wrapping up the meal, with tummies content, they were thoroughly entertained with a hilarious slide show of pictures taken throughout the event.

For a fantastic finale to your event, finish up with a few words from management and perhaps an ‘employee recognition’ segment.  These don’t have to be serious awards; in fact, to make it more memorable, make up some just-for-fun awards, like:   ‘Most likely to Use the Last Staple-and-Not Refill the Stapler,’  ‘Most Likely to Drink the Last Cup of Coffee-and-Not Make More,’ ‘Most Creative Problem Solver,’ ‘Biggest Sweet Tooth,’ or ‘Most Likely to Go Workout After a Big Meal.’

You get the idea; tailor it to your employees and make it fun! 

This type of an event is perfect for year-end celebrations and can be easily tailored for a holiday theme, like ugly holiday sweaters, holiday hats, or simply donning agent bandanas with a holiday theme.  Another nice touch is to have each employee bring a toy to donate….the possibilities are endless!

Happy planning and keep sending me those questions! I love the conversation we have started.

Yours truly –