All in Good Fun

by Country Inns & Suites
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It’s said that families who play together, stay together, and that holds true for all kinds of groups. Fun activities can strengthen bonds between colleagues and teammates. So how do you infuse fun into ordinary occasions or meetings? Organize your event around a creative theme, says Sherri Morrow, a Nashville, Tennessee, freelance graphic designer who’s planned numerous thematic events. Here’s how: 

Choose a theme that fits your group’s objectives. For instance, an employee recognition event could be set up as a “Night at the Oscars,” with managers dressed in formal attire or impersonating celebrities presenting awards. Looking for theme ideas is part of the fun. Morrow finds inspiration in movies (Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars)eras (Wild West, 1920s), holidays (Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo) and unique venues (casino, circus). 

Brainstorm ways to carry out the theme. Themes can be incorporated into a logo, invitations, decorations, food, background music, giveaways, group activities, clothing, presentations and entertainment. At a sales training event, Morrow’s team designed a “Road Warriors” logo and printed it on T-shirts, nametags and folders. 

Set the stage. For a tropical-themed meeting, serve luau-type food, cover tables with ocean-blue linens and use centerpieces made with shells and exotic flowers. Rent palms to enhance the ambience. “If you have a small budget, concentrate your decorations in one or two areas,” advises Morrow. “I like to make a big splash by the entrance, and then do something by the food table or speaker’s podium.” For a European theme, Morrow created tablescapes using English teacups, French baguettes and Italian wine bottles. At a mock Academy Awards dinner, she rolled out a red carpet and flanked the banquet room door with 6-foot-tall cardboard Oscars. 

Plan fun activities and giveaways. Morrow recalls organizing a United Way pledge drive on the office lawn that simulated a county fair. 

“People lined up at the ring toss and beanbag toss to win cheap plastic toys,” she says with a laugh. “And the dunking booth with company executives was a huge hit.” 

It takes careful planning to make themed events run smoothly, says Morrow, but with planning, you can create events that encourage networking, team-building and creative thinking. 

Author Bio: Melany Klinck is a freelance writer who once turned an office into a submarine with a control panel, portholes and scuba gear.