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Your Summer Party Opportunity to Connect #176

Your Summer Party Opportunity to Connect #176
   🎙️To maximize the impact of community and team building at a summer party event, while ensuring it is inclusive and fun for everyone, this podcast episode of Experts Speak English will give you some tips and tricks to make your summer event, not only a lot of fun but also impactful in terms of bringing your remote employees and experts together. #diversity #inclusion #corporateculture #employerbrand #summer #party #corporate

Creating a connection - especially with remote colleagues

As many of us are now taking the opportunity to work remotely for part or all of the working week, the summer party is one of the few opportunities to get everybody together. Many of your staff won’t see each other from one live event to the next and of course the new members of staff will be meeting each other for the first time. That’s a sea of new faces so make sure that you have name badges for everyone, including the top management. To organize groups easily you can use stickers on the badges. The plastic name badge holders might feel too formal for an informal gathering but they will withstand the test of time better than sticky badges that will tend to get lost, curled and shoddy throughout the day. An alternative is personalized T shirts of course, you need to make sure that these are cool though in the right sizes.

By now your venue should be booked and the dates set, so it is time to design the day or days with intention and then sell the sizzle. Mmmm I’m getting BBQ vibes already, more about that in a moment.

To maximize the impact of community and team building at a summer party event, while ensuring it is inclusive and fun for everyone, this podcast episode of Experts Speak English will give you some tips and tricks to make your summer event, not only a lot of fun but also impactful in terms of bringing your remote employees and experts together.

Let’s make sure that it’s worthwhile for those who no longer travel to work regularly and make sure that they are looking forward to the next social – either at Christmas or next summer – who knows, perhaps you could use some of these techniques to get your team together once a month in the office too.


 Incorporate interactive team-building activities that encourage collaboration and communication. This could include:

  • Icebreaker games that help people get to know each other better (sporty & creative)
  • Group challenges or competitions that require teamwork & upbeat problem solving
  • Collaborative creative projects where teams work together to design something

Interactive activities break down barriers, build camaraderie, and create shared experiences that really bring people together. There’s nothing like working together to achieve a common goal, which is why I will talk about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects next week. 


Foster Connections Through Interactive Activities

Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion 

Make the event inclusive by:

  • Offering a variety of food options to accommodate dietary restrictions
  • Ensuring physical accessibility for all attendees (garden, stairs, access to the toilets)
  • Incorporating cultural elements that reflect your team’s diversity (food, games)
  • Avoiding activities that could make anyone feel excluded or uncomfortable (excessive drinking, team games involving closeness/touch)

Celebrating diversity helps everyone feel welcomed and valued as part of the community, it will also allow for richer more inspiring conversations that venture away from the world of work. It’s about getting to know and appreciate each other.


While structured activities are important, also allow plenty of time for casual socializing. Let em talk, laugh and just hang out without an agenda, purpose or time boxing. That’s when innovation has a chance to evolve so despite the time together being valuable, this time and space for team bonding is incredibly important.

  • Set up lounge areas for relaxed mingling or to take some time out (ADHD, introverts, Autism)
  • Organize a happy hour with drinks and light snacks, including mocktails and coffee/tea – you could even create an area where people can mix their own drinks
  • Provide lawn games or other low-key activities people can enjoy at their own pace and although some friendly competition is a great way to get to know and appreciate each other as a team member, be sure not to exclude the clumsy clot like me in summer team building activities, perhaps they have dyspraxia and struggle with things like walking in a straight line (even before they’re drunk) or catching a balloon. Hand eye co-ordination is not something that everyone is blessed with so just be thoughtful about decisions like that. Likewise someone with autism might be going on and on about something, but instead of zoning out or mingling out of the conversation, change the conversation by asking them something and warmly make them a part of what is going on.

Casual settings allow people to connect more organically and build relationships outside of work contexts.


Create Opportunities for Casual Socializing

Encourage Participation but Avoid Forcing It

While you have gone to a lot of effort with the team building activities and you  will want a high level of engagement, don’t make people feel self conscious by requiring participation in every activity. Some people might be happier watching or making photos or videos , others will appreciate the opportunity to seek out those chill out loungers that were busy earlier. 

Provide a mix of activities so people can opt-in based on their interests and comfort levels. This ensures no one feels pressured or left out. By fostering connections, celebrating diversity, allowing casual socializing, and giving people choices, you can create an inclusive and fun summer party that brings your team together as a community.

Food and Drink are one of the main ways to bring people together so again here be mindful of different dietary requirements and preferences. If you have planned a BBQ as part of the celebrations, which is often a great way to get people together, don’t expect people to grill their fish on the same grill that has meat on it, have a dedicated vegetarian or even a third vegan grill to make sure that everybody feels comfortable. Make sure that those with special food requirements don’t feel tolerated, but included. 

A good way around this is to encourage people to bring something with them, this is great for people from other cultures to share their foodie heritage and have something there that they will enjoy eating. A new Indian member of staff in Kiel for example will find much of the European food too bland and likewise if you are in Delhi, you might have a member of staff that is starving but is sticking to the salad and mango lassi. The pot luck idea is inclusive and you will get a far richer  experience than any caterer can deliver. Be sure to include some dishes that can be eaten with their fingers, that can be canapes or nachos. 


Talking about bringing things with you, it would be a nice idea to have a little gift for all of the employers.   . So why not come up with something unique to your summer event and make sure that everyone – even the ones that can’t make it – get one. 


In Germany they talk about Wertschätzung, a beautiful way of saying appreciation, I like it because it includes the word value. We all want to feel appreciated and valued.

If you are responsible for organising a summer get together or event and are feeling overwhelmed, then reach out and see who can help. The more people that are talking about and helping to make the event a success, the better.


Summer Party Gifts for EVERYone

The Presentation or Speeches

One last point before the end of this episode, the speeches or presentations that make this event worthy of expenditure and time should be given in a way that inspires everybody that is listening, with presence, passion and power.

Keep it short and simple, just enough to get your point across. Go out with a bang and back to the party Honey!  

To my mind a bar camp style session would make more sense than a speech or presentation, but if there is vital information to give, make sure that you choose the person to share carefully, based on their skills a a presenter rather than seniority (I know that this is a sensitive topic, but for the event to be a success you need to think carefully about this and be brave about bringing it up) 

If the CEO insists on speaking, help him (or allow me to help them) to make a dynamic impression. The information should be enough to inform but not any more. Keep it clear and concise, this is a get together not an ego stroking opportunity. Talk about how well you are (all) doing but thank your teams, recognise behaviours that make a difference.

Be sure to remember the junior team members who might feel that they don’t contribute much yet. On the other hand, which of your experienced team members won’t be there next year, what can you say now that will acknowledge their know how in front of everyone?

Not all of your audience will be native speakers so the person speaking needs to slow down, speak clearly, using full sentences and words.

Don’t mumble and rush,
Don’t get into a jumble or gush!

Use terms and phrases that people will understand, only use abbreviations that people will certainly know and keep idioms and sarcasm to a minimum – for the sake of inclusion.

You see inclusion is not just about people with disabilities and different skin tones or sexual orientation, in a dynamic international organisation, you need to be doing your very best to include everybody in a way that makes them feel comfortable, valued and appreciated.

Your summer event, party, BBQ (Bar-B-Que or grill) or trip away is a great opportunity to do that in a way that is fun and enjoyable, that brings people together.


Don't screw it up.

I have a “Corporate Speaker Package” for international companies wanting to make a dynamic impression and build their employer brand.

1. I prepare each of the speakers for their stage appearance from the script and slides if you really need them to the delivery and the Q&A (which can get a little bit tricky when you have everybody together).

2. I’ll come to the venue, do the tech test, calm any nerves, give a little pep talk and prepare the speakers emotionally and pragmatically.

3. We’ll catch up afterwards for a retrospective, so that we can optimize next time around.


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Cocos Communication Challenge

Coco's Communication Challenge (20 Minutes)

Coco’s Communication Challenge for this episode is to get as many of your team to attend the summer event as possible and find out if the orga team needs your support, this is a wonderful opportunity to connect internally so do your bit to make that a success.

Get involved in the organisation of your summer party and use it actively to connect with as many of your colleagues as possible, talk to people in other teams, higher in the hierarchy and people that you only really know via emails. Get involved and make sure as many people go as possible.


All that remains for me to say is, be the very best communicator that you can be
You’ve been listening to Corinne Wilhelm on the Experts Speak English podcast brought to you by English Speaking Experts

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