Try Donuts and Coke’s Networking Bottle While Learning the Ukelele

Coke and doughnutsWith the impending arrival of the equinox solstice comes the inevitable half-year company retreat.

Many are the retreats those at the lofty level of director have been compelled to suffer through. All begin alike, with breakfast spreads of fruit (lightly sampled), muffins, and the quickly disappearing doughnuts — did I mention today is National Doughnut Day? Quick factoid: The average glazed doughnut has fewer calories than the average “healthy” bran muffin or bagel with cream cheese.

Thence (yes, I’m back to the company retreat topic) begins pronouncements of the day’s mission, which may then be followed by presentations. By the noon lunch, the walls of the meeting room are papered over with poster-size Post-Its upon which have been scribbled all manner of suggestions from those who actually have taken the leader at her word that, “There are no bad ideas.”

The only saving grace is that these will be collected, never again to see the light of day.

Spicing up some of these events, may be a team-building exercise. For you who plan such events, I offer two suggestions: Ukeleles and bottle caps.

In what I can only describe as truth in public relations, I received an email that, in part, declares: “Musivate’s use of the Uke to bring corporate teams together is totally unique.”

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I’ve heard of rope climbing, zip-lining, Lego block building, and others, but learning to play the ukelele as a team building exercise is a first.

Says teacher and founder Lorraine Bow (sort of ironic, that), “Learning to play an instrument such as the ukulele is fun and inclusive. It’s a really enjoyable way to spend time and engages participants like few other forms of team building do.”

 Bottle Cap Networking

coke capWanting something subtler? Stock the lunch buffet with Coke’s bottles with the new networking bottle cap. It takes a mating of two bottle tops to remove each cap. In other words, you have to get people to work together. Not only for team building, but — attention HR — it can help with that worker engagement thing. At least a little, no?

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


2 Comments on “Try Donuts and Coke’s Networking Bottle While Learning the Ukelele

  1. @ John: “Coke’s bottles with the new networking bottle cap”
    I’ve heard Pepsi’s networking bottle caps are easier for two people to remove, but…

    Here’s a brief video of the *LOCOG’s digital strategy from its marketing agency’s “Perfect Curve” spokesperson Siobhan Sharpe:

    *Sorta LOCOG

  2. What is the reasoning behind specifically choosing the learning of the ukulele? Is it to put team members in a new situation, to develop more confidence in dealing with the unknown?

    What if 1 or more attendees already know how to play the ukulele? Are they expected to then coach others?

    Or would it be more effective to hold multiple workshops and ask attendees in advance to specifically choose a topic they don’t know about (and may actually be interested in learning about)?

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