At SocialBee, we are passionate about conversation. We believe in the power of conversation to transform our moods, and improve the quality of our relationships. Everything we do – the events, the communications-focused workshops, and the speaking engagements – exists to create connection through conversation.
When we are creating, designing, and planning a corporate event for a client, we are always thinking about how to encourage the flow of conversation, naturally. We have been asked to create our tea party style events for a variety of workplace functions; internal launches, staff presentations, staff meetings, visiting clients and management, team bonding activities, inter-departmental networking.
For each and every one, an integral part of the event design process has been how to create an environment that relaxes and engages people, that warmly welcomes people, that naturally facilitates conversation to happen.
I’d like to share with you some of our favourites to date, and illustrate how we helped the conversation to flow.
Our friendly pharma company client – visiting senior management meet and greet
It can be a nerve- wracking occasion, when new senior management come to visit. With this particular event, the client was keen to make an impression with the quality of the hospitality on offer, and the ease with which the meet and greet flowed.
The set-up of the Afternoon Tea experience was crisp, formal, but welcoming.
An informal talk by our tea lady on tea turned out to be a clear highlight of the event. You may not think a tea talk could be very interesting, but you would be wrong. Our expert tea lady gave a lively, interesting and fun account of tea; how it’s grown and harvested, the different flavour notes in the teas on offer, the health benefits to mind, body and productivity. This in turn led to lively banter amongst the group as they compared which ones they preferred, and the order they had tried them in.
The meet and greet was a resounding success. Everyone was relaxed, engaged, and the conversations flowed as fluidly as the tea.
Our fave animation film company – World Mental Health Day
Sometimes success brings problems we hadn’t anticipated. When a company grows from a handful to over 240 staff, it can be difficult to ensure that silo mentality doesn’t seep in, with people staying safe and secure in the comfort of their own departments, reluctant to engage and connect with people from other departments.
If it isn’t embedded in the company culture to promote conversation, encourage friendships, and facilitate cross-departmental communication, then some people can get lost between the cracks and find themselves isolated and lonely, albeit in a busy working environment.
World Mental Health Day 2017 was focused on ‘getting the conversations started in the workplace.’ Well, this theme was right up our SocialBee street.
For this film company, we created an Afternoon Tea experience with a twist. We incorporated fun tea-themed elements that were designed to getting people talking, even before the event. We asked people to bring their favourite mug to the tea party as a way of giving everyone a natural conversation starter. The stories that emerged were lovely and sometimes hilarious. We used a conversation spoons activity to promote fun and meaningful conversations.
It can be hard to try and impress a group of seriously creative people, but we managed it.
Our delightful SAS client – International Women’s Day
March is one of our busiest months of the year, and that is down to International Women’s Day. Nothing says ‘female’ ‘celebration’ and ‘gathering’ like an Afternoon Tea event. For the last three years, we have been creating a buzz at the offices of this SAS client on International Women’s day, and each year it is growing as more and more want to attend. And it’s not just for the ladies either; men like to be given the opportunity to celebrate women too, well most men.
This year, we were tasked with creating an Afternoon Tea experience that would facilitate conversations around the tables on work themes and issues relating particularly to women. Topics such as the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling, and female role models, were discussed animatedly over tea and cake.
We may not always agree on ideas, but it is imperative that the doors are wide open in the workplace to encourage healthy debate and discussion on an ongoing basis.
Our most creative Advertising agency client – client pitch day
Sometimes we think we have all the ideas as to how our service can be used in a corporate capacity. And I’m delighted to admit that we are wrong. When we were contacted by this particular award-winning Dublin advertising agency, the request for us was a new one. They were pitching for a large piece of work, and they had a theme for the day that they wanted to impress the client with. And in that theme, they had an idea for turning the boardroom into a cosy, shabby chic Afternoon Tea setting.
Needless to say we loved it, and were onboard straight away. You would think that a modern, minimalist boardroom would clash terribly with vintage fine bone china, but with careful planning it worked a treat. The key was to keep the Afternoon Tea style quite clean and simple too, in order to complement the design of the room.
Happily, they won the business, and we have worked with them on a number of client pitches since.
We connect through face to face communication. It’s time to realise that promoting conversation in the workplace is not just a ‘nice to have’, but a necessity for wellbeing, relationships, engagement and productivity. Culture isn’t beanbags in the corner. Culture is imbedded much more deeply than that. It has its foundations in conversation.