Event professionals are so other-focused that they often forget about themselves. They try to make sure that everybody, from attendees to sponsors, is taken care of. But what about them? How do they take care of themselves and their teams? Those who do not take time to tune in with their event teams are at a far greater risk for event planner burnout. And nobody wants that!
That’s why today, the Event Brew hosts are tackling the topic of team building in the events industry. We all know why team building is important, but how often do we take the time to nurture the relationships within our own organizations?
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the Brew Crew talks about all the ways they show their teams some love and appreciation, from team exercises to planned company events. They understand that nurturing company culture in an event company is crucial to success. After all, we all work better when we know one another and genuinely like to spend time together. Tune in and find out just how loving the Brew Crew truly is!
Building Amazing Event Teams
The execution of internal team building in the events industry depends on the event team itself. “First, you have a team where everybody comes together for the event. Nobody ever interacts beyond the 5-minute banter at the beginning of the event planning call. But then, you have teams that work together on multiple events. This one requires more than just some banter at the beginning of a call.”
“What have you seen work when it comes to rapport building, culture building, and team building in the events industry? Everybody knows that you can be amazing at planning events, but if you aren’t the most effective team possible, the event is likely to be a disaster.”
Dustin Went All Out For Valentine’s Day
Dustin showed his entire team some appreciation for Valentine’s Day in a truly thoughtful way. “I built a Google form that listed the names of everybody that we work with. I encouraged everybody to write a few nice words about everybody. Tell me something funny about them or something you appreciate in them.”
Then, he turned those answers into huge Valentine’s Day cards for everybody. “Each card had all the nice things everybody said about them on it. They were so sweet to each other.”
Since there’s no team building in the events industry without togetherness, he also invited a coach to talk to his team about it. “We talked a little bit about trauma, getting to know and appreciate each other.”
But it doesn’t end there! Dustin also reached out to several key clients that his event team worked with during COVID-19. “I had them send me a video of appreciation for my team. My team doesn’t always get to hear what the clients have to say about us. These videos showed appreciation for doing what we do: creating magical experiences.”
And last but not least, Dustin organized OneWest Olympics. “The games included putting nylons on your head with a ball in it, knocking down bottles of water, and building puzzles.” That sounds like fun!
What Will has been wanting to do at Endless Events is an all-company retreat. “We’re spread across the entire world. So that becomes very complex for many different reasons. There hasn’t been an opportunity for everybody within the company to be able to come together, but I’m just excited about the idea of bringing my team together.”
Since event profs are busy people who manage and plan for a living, Will thinks that team building in the events industry should be as simple as possible. “Just put people in the same room. Often, that’s enough, especially if you’re remote. You can do some team building activities, but I realized that many people are simply happy to be in-person.”
“Between being remote and in-person, there’s hybrid,” reminds Thuy. “In January, we had our company all-hands meeting, which ended up a hybrid event. A lot of people decided to be a virtual attendee.”
Virtual Team Building To The Rescue
Dustin wonders how Will copes with having an all-remote team. “I’ve grown to accept the idea that I might not get to meet everyone in person,” Will explains. He makes a point to visit his team members whenever he finds himself in their area.
Otherwise, to foster company culture at Endless Events, he plans a monthly company social. “For a while, one of our former teammates planned activities, such as trivia or origami. But this upcoming Friday, we’re playing Among Us. Another thing to look for are virtual board games. There’s a humongous Google doc online that we found during the pandemic. It’s a list of 200 board games you can play virtually and have a great virtual party.
“There’s a lot of pressure on business leaders to do one-on-ones with their team,” says Dustin. “But we need to encourage our teams to do more one-on-ones with each other. I want to make sure that they know that they can do that. And they should be doing more one-on-ones and reach out to somebody that you haven’t worked with for a while. Do it on the clock – take some time to hang out. Go for lunch together or do a Zoom call.”
Will suggests a tool for bringing team members together: Donut. “If you want to see it in action, join the event profs Slack group that we created as part of the Endless community. It randomly pairs two people together once a week or once every two weeks. You can also set it up to meet every person that joins this channel or a person in a particular department. Donut creates a system for people to meet with each other. Otherwise, it’s very easy to get in silos. You can also use the statistics to track who’s meeting.”
Team Building In The Events Industry With Peer Groups
“I believe it’s important to give people someone to talk to. I love Jim Rohn’s saying ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with’. It’s important for you to surround yourself with people that you look up to. And here’s the team building aspect of this: help create such peer groups. It’s so hard because we spend so much time in meetings where we have an exact agenda. But you need to create space where there’s open time for people to meet and talk and be that peer support group with each other.”
And this includes competitors. “Because of COVID, a lot of business owners and leaders talked to each other a lot about what was coming in my community. We talked about loans, grants, and how to apply for things. And we shared information amongst each other to make sure that everyone was going to be okay. We didn’t feel like competitors anymore. We were all fighting for the same thing. And it was such a unique experience to go through. There are bonds that were built through this that will last. And the challenge now is to keep that same level of communication up as we get back to being busy, all fighting for the same business. Let’s do that with a little bit more respect for each other.”
Will has one final thing to say about team building in the events industry. “Make it fun. One thing that I took away from this conversation is the idea of changing the way we do our company town halls. We do it to celebrate wins. But I’m wondering if they’re getting to the point where they could have been an email or be pre-recorded. Instead, we could use that time to answer questions and do some sort of fun social activity. I’ll definitely explore this idea.”
Hopefully, this beautiful conversation inspired you to show some appreciation to yourself and your hardworking event team, too. It doesn’t take much time or effort to let others know you value them and it can do wonders for the morale across the entire company – and beyond.