Haka team building event: This year’s company conference for the Faccenda Group will be one to remember for a long time to come.   The company wanted their annual conference to feature a business focused activity in the afternoon that would get everybody bonding and thinking on their feet.  Last year they opted to go with our Team Apprentice team building event, but this year they wanted something a little different.

The chicken processing company decided that a drumming workshop would be just the thing to rouse their delegates and get everyone participating and having fun.  Drumming workshops are a great tool for improving listening skills and working together to achieve their goal.

It turned out that the Faccenda Group were complete novices when it came to drumming, but they soon became adept at working together to create their own unique sound.   The session may have taken the delegates out of their comfort zone, but it quickly had everyone at ease with lots of noise, laughter and of course, drumming!

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The fun didn’t stop there, in the evening the guests had just enjoyed their main course when suddenly, in burst 4 authentic Haka masters, all in traditional Maori dress. They performed the Haka and then spoke about their passion, their sense of belonging and how they combine to achieve – the Haka channels the energies of their tribe. These are the real deal, not people pretending to be Maoris, these guys are descendants of those that wrote the Haka that we use. The guests absolutely loved it and then they found out they were going to learn the moves and the chants, they embraced the experienced and the event finished with the room being split in half and each half going into a tribal face off with each other – to see which tribe would succeed.

The feedback from Faccenda was as follows: ‘What can I say!? Friday’s events were enjoyed enormously everyone; drumming fitted our theme perfectly and the Haka went down a storm. Thank you so much for your guidance and outstanding organisation.’

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Venue
Woodland Grange – http://www.eefvenues.co.uk/conference-venues/warwickshire/

This really does have to be one of the friendliest venues we’ve worked at, everybody seems to be genuinely happy and nothing is too much trouble. Customer service is excellent from the lovely reception ladies through to the technical support guy. It makes our life as events people a lot easier when you have a team of venue people who want to help you succeed. I’d certainly recommend the venue for future clients.

Want to find out how you can host a Haka team building event with genuine Haka masters? Take a look at our Haka event here.

Week 9 of The Apprentice was all about creating a new ready meal, and for one unlucky candidate it certainly left a bad taste in their mouth.

This week sees Lord Sugar get everyone up at the crack of dawn to meet him at the Gherkin.   The task this week is to design and create a new ready meal.  Alex is put out of his misery early and doesn’t have to suffer another week of being overlooked for the Project Manager’s role as Lord Sugar demands that he takes the helm for Team Endeavour.  Team Evolve are left to their own devices and although Francesca fancies herself in the position, Luisa (who else?) decides that Neil should be the Project Manager.

Alex and Myles look after the branding side of business for Team Endeavour, and Alex has to be reined in several times by Myles as he jumps from one crazy idea to the next without first establishing their target market.  They eventually decide on children’s ready meals.

From the off, Neil decides the direction they need to go in is fusion and quickly dreams up two cuisines that should never, ever meet – there is a good reason that some countries are so far apart from each, you know, just in case you ever end up accidentally eating some Thai noodles with Caribbean chicken.  Both the women declare themselves unable to cook,  which is particularly surprising given that Luisa owns a cupcake business, but again Luisa manipulates her way into the branding team with Neil while hapless, really can’t cook, Francesca is sent packing out of sight to the kitchen.

Alex decides that Leah and Jordan should be responsible for coming up with a ready meal children will actually eat, whilst he and Myles argue over whether the theme should be a monster/spooky theme or a geography theme.  Myles manages to convince Alex that his idea is better and the concept ‘Horrible Healthy Meals’ is born.  For me, as a parent to young children, this immediately fails on two points – the first is that no parent will buy something that says ‘horrible’ on it and secondly, no child will want something that says ‘healthy’, but what do I know?

The branding teams each work with a slightly bemused graphic designer, Team Evolves ‘Oh My Pow’ packaging looks like a washing powder box, whilst the overuse of skulls on the ‘Deadly Dinners’ packaging makes you want to immediately store it away under lock and key with the toilet cleaner.

It’s a mixed bag in the industrial kitchens, Francesca is following Luisa’s detailed list of ingredients and cooking instructions (Luisa who can’t cook savoury), scarily she doesn’t bother to taste as she goes along; probably because she knows it will be awful—Caribbean and Thai?  Come on!

At least Leah and Jordan manage to come up with a meal that will actually appeal to the taste buds of children, pasta and tomato sauce with a few disguised prawns will placate even the most fussiest of eaters especially if you tell them it’s bat’s blood.

With the recipes concocted, the teams take their fare to the unsuspecting public.  A group of students (probably the only market who would entertain such a bizarre mix of flavours) turn their noses up at the fusion food, saying that it didn’t possess any ‘pow’ and was bland and tasteless. The pasta dish goes down well with a group of infant school children but the packaging and concept left the parents cold.

Undeterred by their market research results, both teams plough ahead with their original ideas and set about their creating their pitches for buyers.

With two supermarkets and an online buyer lined up, the teams had to try and sell their ready meal concepts.  Myles is first in the hot seat; although his pitch is derailed rather comically by Alex’s over-zealous pricking of cellophane wrapping and not knowing how a microwave works.  Seriously, a 22 year old cannot work a microwave, the future doesn’t look bright.

Neil desperately tries to persuade his first clients to buy the not so ‘oh my pow’ fusion rubbish by promising that they’ll add in some flavour if they place an order.

With the pitches over it is back to the boardroom to find out which team has won any orders, if any, and who will be fired.

Lord Sugar takes great delight in telling the teams that their products are quite frankly rubbish, although I suspect it’s been a while since Lord Sugar has ever eaten a ready meal.  The numbers are announced and the only order secured by Team Endeavour was the pitch delivered by Jordan, clearly they were impressed by the use of the term ‘purchasing manager’ when in fact he meant ‘mum’.  The other two buyers were put off by the skulls and deadly angles.

Unbelievably, Team Evolve managed to convince two of the three suppliers to buy their fusion confusion and they are declared the winners and sent off to perhaps the most boring treat to date.  So boring I can’t actually remember what it was other than it involved an aerodrome in Northampton.

Alex as Project Manager felt the downfall of the task was purely down to Myles’ ‘deadly dinners’ idea and for the first time in the series he’s absolutely right.  He wanted to let Leah and Jordan off the hook, but Lord Sugar insisted that he bring in a third person into the boardroom so Leah was the unlucky candidate.

The boardroom showdown was only going to go one way, Leah put up an impassioned fight for her safety and Myles has proved himself to be a worthy candidate throughout the series so he could be forgiven for this week’s slip up.  However, Alex’s lack of direction and seemingly poor business idea meant that Lord Sugar really didn’t have any other alternative, but to fire him.

How would your team fare on our Team Apprentice Manufacturing task? Our team building team apprentice event has been successfully hosted hundreds of times!

Here at Accolade Corporate Events, we have clients ask us to organise a variety of occasions for them, from very corporate events such as conferences and team building events to more light-hearted days such as family fun days.

The IT consultancy company, BJSS, were celebrating their 20th business year anniversary and wanted us to organise a weekend away that would serve as a big ‘thank you’ to their employees and their families for all the hard work they had contributed over the years in making their company successful.

The family fun day was to be a great success, 450 employees and family members enjoyed the weekend at Whittlebury Hall in beautiful rural Northamptonshire where they had exclusive use of all the facilities for the duration of their stay, including the spa.

Marquees were erected to cater all the meals for the large delegation and we hosted a fun-packed It’s a Knockout event for the adults and a special version adapted for the children present.   Because of the space required to host an event for so many people, the It’s a Knockout event was hosted in the stunning grounds of Whittlebury Park adjacent to Whittlebury Hall, which is a popular golf and country club.

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The wonderful weather certainly contributed to the overall success of the weekend and the It’s a Knockout event proved to be a bit hit and was thoroughly enjoyed by all with everyone getting into the competitive spirit of the day—adults and children alike.

The venue proved to be an excellent choice for hosting such a large event.  The team at Whittlebury Hall were outstanding throughout the day, with everyone paying attention to all the finer details and ensuring that everyone was thoroughly looked after and catered for.  We were extremely pleased at how smooth the weekend’s events went and we were so impressed with the level of professionalism and friendliness that we will definitely be using both venues for future clients’ corporate events as we couldn’t find any fault with the running of the event.

The employees of BJSS enjoyed a great family weekend away and were well catered for by the excellent teams at both venues, with many people taking the time out to compliment both the fantastic customer service and the tasty food at each place.

Episode eight of The Apprentice sees the candidates delving into the world of online dating for the advertising task this year.  Each team must create an online dating website and a TV advertising campaign, which will then be shown to a grown of industry experts.

Lord Sugar starts the task off with the inevitable shuffle around of teams and sends Jordon over to join Endeavour to make the numbers equal.

For Team Evolve Jason surprisingly puts himself forwards as PM for the task, citing that he once ran an online dating site at Oxford and was called ‘Mr Cupid’ by his fellow students.  Over at Team Endeavour, Alex and Jordan both want the project manager’s job but Myles and Leah can’t hide their lack of confidence in the Welshman’s ability and quickly choose Jordan for the role.  Evolve decide their target market is the over-50s, Endeavour opt for the young professional market.

The teams split up, with Leah and Myles gaining some insight into the online dating market with some customer research and taking random photographs of strangers.  Jordan does a good job of bringing out his inner feminine side as he stresses what a modern day business woman wants from a dating site.  Unsurprisingly, Alex disagrees but manages to contribute to the morning with the name of their dating site—‘Cufflinks’, because obviously something to keep your shirt sleeves in place immediately makes you think of love and romance!

Team Evolve send Neil and Francesca off to a focus group of silver would-be daters, who then feed back information that the website should be safe, boring and called ‘Friendship and Flowers’.   Meanwhile Jason is henpecked to near death over his lack of decision making, who knew that choosing a shade of purple for the logo would be such an agonisingly long process? Although nowhere near as painful as watching Luisa’s appalling bad manners and bickering through the advertisement company’s office for all to hear.

The hapless duo arrive two hours late for their meeting with the website designer which means they don’t have enough time to actually design their website. At least the logo looks good, well if they wanted to portray a funeral home website anyway…

With the websites designed (well one out of two anyway) and the names and logos in place the teams settle in for the night to plan their strategy for filming the TV advert.  Luisa uses this catch up as a chance to engage in a spot of mutiny, taking advantage of Jason’s good nature she decides that Jason should step down as PM so that she can take up the mantle.  After some toing and froing, Neil takes command of the situation and relieves Jason of his duties and appoints Luisa as PM.  A decision I suspect he very quickly regrets when he founds out Luisa has no intention of letting him deliver the pitch the following day.

Team Endeavour decide that their TV advertisement will feature what they feel is the epitome of a bad date—step forward Alex and his eyebrows to play the leading role of Herbert. Jordan expertly delegates any role that has any importance attached to it and sits back looking rather pleased with himself.

With Alex acting and Leah directing the video, you feel that the day will be filled with tension and petty arguments, and you’re not disappointed.  The two manage to disagree on almost every point and it’s a wonder anything gets filmed at all.

Over at Team Evolve, harmony has restored itself now that Luisa is in charge and Jason gets to nod in agreement with everything she says.  Even Neil and Francesca are working well together, even if they are producing an advert which looks more like an over-80s funeral expenses advert rather than an online dating site.

With the ads in the can the teams assemble in front of a room of industry experts, with representatives from the advertising and online dating worlds.   Luisa’s pitch wobbles when she’s told that the advert is boring and patronising and the lack of website is brought up.  Myles gives his usual slick performance despite having to show the cringe-worthy advert Alex and Leah dreamt up.  The experts hated the name ‘cufflinks’ and felt the website was too masculine and corporate.  They did quite like the advert however, but thought the two ideas didn’t tally up with each other.

It was Lord Sugar’s job in the boardroom to decide which advertisement campaign he thought was the best; or rather which team he felt had done the least amount of damage to their credibility.

He thought that Alex’s bad date advert was the better of the two offerings, maybe he had pictured himself in the over-50s dating advert and that had put him off!  So Jordan’s Team Endeavour were treated to a caviar tasting trip, while Jason/Luisa’s team were sent to ponder where it all went wrong over in the café.

Back in the boardroom Lord Sugar slams Jason’s decision to step down as the project manager, but equally berates Luisa’s bullying tactics.  The two PMs eventually decide that Francesca should be bought back into the boardroom with them to face the finger of fate.

Sadly for Jason, Lord Sugar started to say what a ‘nice fellow’ he was, which always follows with the ‘with regret…’ line and he and his teddy were sent packing into the waiting cab.  Luisa had her card marked by Lord Sugar and Karren decided that she would be stalking, sorry, following Luisa next week to see if she really is as evil as Nick thought.

How would your teams get on in an advertising task such as this? Check out our Team Apprentice team building event to see how we can help your team to build on their skills and improve areas of your business.


A landmark, new study reveals that the duration and 
intensity of applause after a performance is in fact a “social contagion.” What does this tell us about group team building?

It’s widely held that behavior can be contagious within a social group. Laughter, panic, angst, and a wide range of other emotions can quickly overtake a crowd of people. A new study, however, indicates that applause is yet another type of “social contagion” — and that the duration and intensity of applause has more to do with the behavior of the group, and not the performance itself.

This study, which is published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, was conduced in order to better understand the complexities of clapping, and how applause — a decidedly more complex human behavior than the previously-noted emotions — still behaves as a social contagion. Lead author Dr Richard Mann, from the University of Uppsala, believe that applause reveals how ideas and actions gain and lose momentum, and that the complex social operation of clapping can also speak to how trends catch on (or fail to catch on, as it were).

Dr. Mann explains in, a recent article from the BBC:

“The pressure comes from the volume of clapping in the room rather than what your neighbour sitting next to you is doing,” explained Dr Mann. But the performance that had been witnessed – no matter how brilliant – had little effect on the duration of the noisy acclaim. In fact, the researchers found the duration of applause varied greatly.

 

Dr Mann told BBC News: “In one case an audience might clap on average 10 times per person. Another time they might clap three times as long. And all that comes from is that you have this social pressure to start (clapping), but once you’ve started there’s an equally strong social pressure not to stop, until someone initiates that stopping.”

It’s interesting to note that ultimately it is social pressure that dictates the level and intensity of applause — that it has little to do with the quality of a performance. In this way, the “first movers” of a group play a critical role in applause; are there a few “leader” personality types in the group who are willing to begin and sustain a high level of applause? Conversely, are these same “first movers” also those who, should they choose not to applaud, or do so for a short amount of time, will quell the overall reaction of the crowd?

What the Applause Social Contagion Tells Us About Group Team Building

If social pressure can influence a group into how they applaud, then there is a similar dynamic in the group team process. Like the audience, a team of workers is going to be motivated by some measure of what kind of social pressure is exerted on the work group.

at first, it’s easy to imagine a manager or executive as the one who needs to be the “first mover” in exerting social pressure to encourage a positive or productive output from the group. However, it is more likely that the manager holds more of a “performer” role; he or she might be outside of the loop in terms of exerting any kind of social force. (Granted, the manager has other forces he or she can leverage, but perhaps not this one.)

Instead, there is more likely a leader-type personality within the work team that isn’t afraid to broadcast cues to the team — whether knowingly or unknowingly — that will create social pressure. In group team building, therefore, focusing on these individuals to act as intermediaries can help you leverage the same force behind “social contagion” like applauding.

Thanks for reading our article! Looking to leverage the applause social contagion in your business? Accolade’s Clap Happy group team building event and conference energizer is a quick and effective way to put the power of applause to work for you! Find out more about Clap Happy today!

 

Poor communication skills can be a problem in a lot of workplaces, it leads to mistrust, lack of productivity and often important timescales and deadlines being missed – all of which tend to cost companies both time and money.

A team who has good communication skills on the other hand will not only be much happier in their roles within the team, they will be more productive, more enthusiastic and more likely to achieve any goals set for them

Communication is obviously a two-way street.  As important as it is to keep others informed with vital information needed for them to do their job well, you also need to be able to listen effectively and act accordingly.  For communication to be at its best, it needs to flow in all directions; upwards, downwards and sideways, keeping everyone in the loop and sharing information at the earlier possibility.

Team building events are useful tools to bring your team together to work on improving their communication skills.   Whether you choose a very business focus team building event such as Team Apprentice or Investors’ Den, or you go with something more trivial and fun-packed such as one of our outdoor team building events, the result is the same—all members of the team will need to communicate effectively with each other to win or complete task.

Team building events allow members to bond with each other in a different environment.  Often the teams are a mix of management levels and the events prove to be great in breaking down barriers and allowing people to feel more at ease in talking with colleagues on different levels.   There are many times in a professional setting where an office junior could be giving orders to the Marketing Director, but team building activities allow people to step outside of their comfort zone and increase their confidence at communicating with others.
A communication focused team building event can be extremely useful in a number of circumstances:

Corporate Restructure

Whether this is because of redundancies, a take-over or merger, or simply a change of management, a team building event in this instance will help to build trust with new colleagues and aid the bonding process of the new set up, allowing everyone to settle into their new role much quicker.

New Additions to the Workforce

A new person at work can usually slip into the routine of the office place fairly quickly, however if for some reason you have employed a number of new people in a short space of time a team building event will help them to meet and bond with the existing colleagues, as well as give them the chance to shine and showcase their talents in a neutral and informal environment.

Resolve Interdepartmental Issues

In large companies, problems can often arise when different departments within the company don’t pull together.  A team building event can be very useful at helping to break down barriers by allowing each individual to realise the needs of others and make strides towards working together as a unit for the good of the company.

Prior To Working on a Big Project

What better way to focus everyone’s minds and get everybody pulling together before the onset on a major project, than to have everyone participate in a team building event?

A team building event that is designed to get your team both talking and listening can work wonders in increasing moral back in the office, getting everyone pulling in the same direction and improving productivity.

 

Week seven of The Apprentice and there are ten candidates still left in the process.   The program starts with the usual 6 am call and extremely short notice to get up, dressed and an overnight bag packed.  The more than a little unusual shot of a grown man stuffing an over-sized teddy bear into his bag was a little disconcerting to say the least, but then Jason never fails to surprise.

The teams meet Lord Sugar at the Tower of London, a bizarre choice of venue given that he goes on to explain that this week’s task is to select three items to sell to the caravanning community, not many of which are generally seen around the Tower of London, unless they are cleverly disguised as ravens.

Kurt was selected to become the project manager for Endeavour, on the basis that he once went on a caravanning holiday when he was nine, and Myles said that caravans were banned in Monaco so ruled himself out of the running.  Neil offered his services for Evolve.

With the PMs in place the teams then split up, with half going to see vendors with a view to selecting two products to sell, and the others heading off to the Motorhome and Caravan show at the NEC to find a top-end product to attempt to sell to the public.

In a bid to ensure that Team Endeavour got their choice of items to sell, Myles went into overdrive for praise and indeed, love, for each and every product.  Sadly for him his enthusiasm was over shadowed by Leah and Natalie attempt to drive down the prices, much to the vendors’ obvious annoyance.
Team Evolve take a different tack and all three members show genuine enthusiasm for the products so it came as no surprise to anyone that they won their first choice items to sell—the adventure box and electric bike.  Kurt’s team had to be content with the fold up chair and boat box.

With the lower value items taken care off, attention switched to the boys at the NEC.   Neil and Jason managed to tear themselves away from the retro campervans and instead decided the sales figures for the folding trailer tent spoke for themselves.  Meanwhile, after cleverly identifying that the caravanning target age group was the over-50s, Kurt and Alex forgot this fact and opted for the retro campervans aimed at people in their 30s.

With the products decided the real part of the task began. Team Evolve got off to a slow start and you began to wonder if their choice of products were actually the correct ones for the market, but slowly Luisa began to get her technique down, much to the disgruntlement of Jordan who struggled to sell anything.

Over at Team Endeavour, sales of the folding chairs were taking off, although not too many people seemed too interested in the boat boxes—a fact probably not helped by the fact that Natalie thought the middle plank of the boat is actually a picnic table.

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Alex had his nose put out of joint when Kurt tells him that at 22 he is too young to sell campervans to the over-50s.  22?  Blimey, the paper rounds in the valleys must be very gruelling!

In another shock moment, Jason appeared to be coming into his own on the sales front.  Maybe he’s found his niche in selling trailer tents to pensioners as he managed to bag the first sale of the high price item.

With Kurt and Myles failing to get anyone remotely interested in buying a campervan, Kurt decided that maybe a bit of “eye candy” would help so enlisted Leah to come over and join them.  A sexist tactic that almost worked, although the fact that Leah seemed genuinely more interested in the product than the other two probably worked more in her favour than her looks.

With the day’s sales drawing to a close it was back to the boardroom for the all-important figures and firing.

Kurt’s Team Endeavour failed to sell any campervans and only shifted a few boat boxes and chairs, their sales total came to just under £1500.  Neil’s team managed to sell 3 trailer tents at £10,000 each and along with a few electric bikes sales their tally came to a whopping £33,000 and they were crowned deserved winners.

Kurt decided that Natalie and Alex should accompany him in the boardroom, Natalie because her negativity lost them their first choice products and Alex because he was behind the decision of choosing the campervan over the trailer tent.

Lord Sugar couldn’t forgive Kurt for choosing the wrong product and not selling anything so he was quickly dismissed.  However, his finger hadn’t finished and in the first double firing of the series, Natalie was also shown the way to the awaiting taxi outside for being in the boardroom for the third time.

How would your teams fare in one of our Team Apprentice team building challenge?

 

 

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We were particularly looking forward to this episode in the Accolade office.  Obviously team building events are what we do best, so to see how the candidates on The Apprentice thought they should be ran was of much interest to us.  Would they go with the common misconceptions of what a team building event should be, or would they go completely off the rails and deliver something akin to a major train wreck?  In fairness to the candidates, they managed to do both!

Lord Sugar decided that Doctor Leah should be the PM for Team Endeavour and Francesca was given the task for Evolve.

The brief was clear from Lord Sugar, he had set the teams up with a large corporate client and a budget of £5,000, the team who made the most profit and delivered the best customer satisfaction would win, and in the other team…. yeah you know the rest.

The teams started by brain storming themes for their team building events, both of which come up with a school theme.  However, Leah decided that she’d rather their theme be a historical one.  In true democratic style she put it to the vote and four out of the six voted for the school theme, showing how much of a team player she is, Leah decided to override the vote and went with the medieval/historical theme anyway.

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The teams spent approximately ten minutes apiece deciding what fun games they could incorporate into their team building days, with little or no regard as to what the delegates might actually get out of them.  Rather than think of innovative events that would challenge the delegates, Team Evolve thought that chocolate making and wine tasting were excellent team building activities for a school themed event.  Team Endeavour felt that lawn games would suit their theme, but didn’t consider how they could incorporate the client’s brief into them.

Endeavour found out their client was Barclays bank, Leah started off the process on a completely unprofessional foot by managing to both turn up late, and have her suggestion of the jolly medieval theme laughed at by the client.  She seemed somewhat surprised that Barclays wanted a business orientated outcome for the day, with specific instructions to concentrate on listening and communication skills.  With this in mind she swiftly ditched the medieval theme and quickly, and rather randomly, decided upon an army theme instead.

Team Evolve’s client was the holiday company lastminute.com.   Their brief was simple; they wanted a team building event with business value that focused on everyone working together towards a goal.  Chocolate making and wine tasting should cover that, right?

The teams then headed out to source costumes, props and catering for their team building events.  Luisa and Jason visited a lady who would take care of their chocolate making slot.   However, Luisa quickly decided that she could run a cupcake making workshop for free instead and rudely gave the poor woman the heave-ho, although not before asking if she can buy some piping bags off her.

Rebecca suggested that Team Evolve hire a professional motivational speaker, not a bad move considering the rest of the day doesn’t appear to be at all motivating, or even interesting.

The following day the teams headed off to two different locations in Hertfordshire.  Team Endeavour’s army themed team building event was quickly taken to task by Myles and Neil who finally sat down and started to strategise on how they were going to fulfill the customer’s brief.   Neil offered to deliver the motivational speech at the end.

Over at Team Evolve’s location, everyone set about dressing the school theme with flamingoes and feathers, because obviously these are the first things you think of when reminiscing about your school days.  A flamboyant waste of £300 that only served to confuse the theme further.

Rebecca and Jason seemed somewhat confused as to what competition they had entered, with Rebecca commenting on them being tucked away in the kitchen as the best use of their skills.  Well it would have been if they were appearing on Masterchef.  The Apprentice?  Not so much.

Both teams had omitted to factor the weather in their plans for the day and after a few very basic lawn games it predictably started to rains.   Team Endeavour relied on an overdressed Alex to provide some indoor entertainment in his new guise as Colonel while Neil and Myles dressed up as sumo wrestlers to illustrate a badly put across point by Leah, much to the perplex of the Barclays managers.

Meanwhile, Team Evolve delivered probably the worst wine tasting session ever that instead of looking to teach the delegates anything about wine only showed how little qualified they were in the field.  Elsewhere, Luisa demonstrated some cupcake decorating.  Both workshops received a very luke-warm response and failed to deliver on the brief of the client.

Both teams rounded off their days with a motivational speech; Team Evolve’s professional speaker went down well, but Neil offered up the surprise of the day with a polished and heartfelt speech.

Back in the boardroom Neil wasted no time in telling Lord Sugar what a bad PM Leah was.  Karren tells them how unprofessional they were for turning up late to the meeting with the client and the poor theme.   Francesca doesn’t fair too well either with most of her team questioning her skills as PM.

Leah’s team made a profit of nearly £2,100, but Barclays wanted a refund of 25% because of the lack of contingency plan for poor weather, which left the team with a profit of £1,600.  The client singled out Neil as being particularly impressive on the day.

Francesca’s team spent more money on the professional speaker and unsuitable props, and the client decided that the day had a complete lack of business sense so also demanded a refund of £1250, leaving the team with a profit of just over £1000.

Team Endeavour’s reward for winning the task was a pampering session.  For Team Evolve, a trip to the Bridge Café where the knives were out for Rebecca and Francesca.

Francesca decided to bring Rebecca and Luisa back into the boardroom with her, where ultimately Rebecca was fired because of her idea for the motivational speaker, although we felt that the professional speaker probably helped to save them from a higher refund demand.

If you’d like to host an Apprentice Team Building Event then please give us a call today, we can certainly put your teams through their paces in a fun and motivational way!

While it may seem a little bit too early to think about Christmas, and more specifically office Christmas parties, it is actually the perfect time if you want to bag yourself the best venue, entertainment and catering.

To make sure your office Christmas party goes down as a truly memorable experience, we’ve come up with some checkpoints to follow.

Set a budget

Setting a budget obviously makes good financial sense and allows you to accurately plan your office Christmas party. This will help you to determine how best that budget should be spent to give you the maximum amount of value and the best party possible.

Decide on a venue

Do you want your office Christmas party to be on-site or at another venue.  If you have a large workforce spread across the country, decide where the best town or city will be for hosting your event.  Try to aim for a central location for your employees, so the distance people need to travel can be cut down, although obviously if you have the majority of employees in one location then it makes sense for the venue to be nearby.

Ideally your host city should have good transport networks, or fairly near an airport if you have guests coming from overseas.  Decide if you require car parking or hotel accommodation for guests.

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Prepare an entertainment wish list

If you want something other than a standard meal out for employees, then now is a good time to plan exactly what you do want at your office Christmas party.   What type of entertainment would best suit your employee mix?  A DJ or up and coming band may suit a young core of staff, but a mix of entertainment would better suit different age groups.

Would you like ice-breakers or small team building activities included in the event?  These work particularly well with large office Christmas parties where mixed tables mean that guests may never have met each other before and help everyone to get to know each other quickly in a fun way.

Book Early

All the best venues—particularly the larger ones—tend to get booked up months in advance, so booking in June makes good sense.   Take advantage of our free venue finding service.

It isn’t just venues that get booked up quickly for office Christmas parties; DJs, vocalists, bands and other types of entertainers will also be filling up their diaries pretty quickly around this time.  If you want to get the best in the business you need to act fast.

The same goes for catering companies, if you want to host your office Christmas party in a marquee or venue that doesn’t provide on-site catering then you need to pin down your preferred choice now.

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