Last week started with negotiating the back streets behind London’s Southbank to find the loading bay of an awkwardly placed hotel! After the team carried around 300 drums into the service elevator to transport them to the kitchen, the drums had to be quickly manoeuvred into their final position – hidden behind the stage in the conference room. All this went on while delegates were out enjoying coffee. With all hands on deck, and through the use of a masterful human chain, we managed to have our drums unpacked and hidden within 15 minutes.
When the unsuspecting members of the audience walked back in to resume their session, they would never have imagined all the intense effort and slick logistics that had gone into initial preparations.
One hour later, just as arranged and bang on cue with the speaker, our team burst into the room playing. Everyone was clapping along even before we had reached the impressive stage. With massive screens and multiple camera operators around us, everyone could see the action.
We had only 40 minutes to transform the entire room into a huge drumming orchestra. We unleashed the hidden mountain of drums and, table by table, each astonished delegate came up to receive their drum. In less than five minutes, everyone was sitting down, complete with instrument and ready for action.
As I have said before, the management team attending an event often plays a critical role in the success of our sessions. If the management team is engaged and ready to embrace the experience, the rest of the group will follow. On this event, the senior managers showed great commitment. The session sounded fantastic and we all had a fun time.
Once the drums had been re-hidden for the next day’s event, I took a train to Birmingham followed by a taxi to the wonderful Belfry Hotel. I was just in time to watch our diners try Bollywood dancing with our experts and then be further surprised by the skills of our ‘Strictly Ballroom’ exhibition dancers.
First thing next morning, I had the challenge of invigorating everyone at 8.30am with a conference energiser. Brandishing nothing but hundreds of pairs of rubber gloves, our Clap Happy activity was unleashed to wake everyone up!
With our quirky rhythm session over, and a room full of smiles, I was back in a taxi and off to London to meet the team. Day two of our drumming conference went even better than day one. Members of the management team now knew exactly what was coming up and could volunteer colleagues to go up on stage for the many interactive sections that required audience participation. There was much hilarity at the stage antics!
In the evening, everything had to be stripped down, packed and shipped to Manchester for day three. In the drizzly rain, and with some creative parking on a pavement, we had all the drums waiting outside the fire exit, to be expertly moved and hidden within minutes.
The final day went just as well as the others. Observing the waves of laughter in the room, rows of huge smiles and the power of the group drumming made for a very satisfying couple of days. Entertaining groups and making people laugh are such rewarding parts of our job.
Mind you, it did not stop us rewarding ourselves even further, with a well-deserved team curry!
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