Why Having Fun Matters

Photo: © Depositphotos.com/kanareva

If you’re a follower of Trade Show Insights – or you’ve attended any of my workshops – you’ve probably heard me talk about the importance of rewarding your team. Celebrating your wins not only results in happier teammates and reduced stress, but it also helps to build a feeling of community and camaraderie among your team.

Now that doesn’t mean you should only reward those who work your trade show booth. It also isn’t just about celebrating the big wins. You’ve got to find ways to show appreciation and allow a little time for kicking back at every stage of the exhibit marketing process (or whatever projects your team is working on), or else people will begin to burn out.

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Here are three ways to celebrate and have fun with your team:

  1. Share affirmations. When people feel appreciated and see that their work is rewarded, they’re more likely to be productive. See something good happening? Tell them! It can be in person, or with a handwritten note. Depending on the dynamic of your office, you may even want to praise them in front of others. Words of affirmation can go a long way to making people feel valued.
  2. Give perks. These come in all kinds of forms – you can give gift cards to favorite restaurants, certificates for spa days, host team field trips or dinners out, or order a cake or pizza for an in-office celebration. And while some teams do contests to win prizes, there’s an even bigger boost when gifts are spontaneous and unexpected. Even trophies or plaques can be huge motivators if the award process is well-managed and appropriate for the accomplishment.
  3. Play at work. You may not realize it, but there’s actually a day set aside for this: National Have Fun at Work Day. But there’s no reason to limit it to just one day – you can take advantage of the idea on any day you choose. Here are a few ideas to get you brainstorming what your team might enjoy:

– Gather fun props and goofy hats, then set up a selfie station for people to show off their fun side. Check out your local party store for all kinds of fun supplies, like red foam noses, crazy mustaches or wild bow ties on sticks, and more. Then print out the photos and post them somewhere in the office.

– Keep a book of Mad Libs™ on hand (or download the app) and have a mid-day story break.

– Invite everyone to create a painting or collage (no artistic ability necessary), then create an employee gallery area.

– Host a foam football-throwing or basketball-shooting challenge. (I remember when I worked as a reporter, this was a popular stress-reducing activity in the newsroom!)

– Create office-themed bingo cards and play for whimsical prizes. You could even design a prize wheel listing all the options and let people spin to win.

– Schedule a team meeting at a local park or playground instead of the boardroom. You may be surprised at how much more creative everyone is in a fun and relaxed environment.

Don’t let budget be an excuse. Rewards can come at all price levels. You could even assemble a box full of small trinkets from the local dollar store, then hand them out with handwritten notes acknowledging the recipient as the “King of Bright Ideas” (sunglasses) or “Sweet Solutions Finder” (candy).

One of the best benefits to having fun at work is that it’s contagious. Laughter spreads faster than any virus. And when you surround yourself and others with reminders that work doesn’t have to be tedious and stressful, you’ll discover that productivity, community and morale will all increase.

Check out these previous posts for more ideas on rewarding and celebrating your team:

© 2018 Marlys K. Arnold  (from the January 2018 TradeShowTips Online. To receive tips like this in your inbox every month, please take a moment to fill out this request.)

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With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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