Office Christmas Party Planning

There is a lot of ideas to choose from when it comes to the type of Christmas party that you can plan. The location, budget, numbers attending and how much you want to be directly involved in planning and managing the event also comes in to play. However the most effective way to plan a successful office Christmas party is to first understand the goal behind the event.

1. Are you using this as a motivational event 
2. Do you want to hand out awards to employees in recognition of performance 
3. Do you want to say thank you to everyone and Celebrate.

When you know what your goal is it will help you get started on organizing things into place, as good preparation can help it run as smoothly as possible. Don’t go at it alone, you need to assign a team to help plan the Christmas party. This will allow the event to be the result of multiple perspectives and will make the party planning workload more manageable and allows you to enjoy the event as well.

The top key initiatives to begin with are;

1. Set a preliminary reasonable budget
2. Select the location for the Festive Party
3. Select the menu for the Festive Party 
4. Select the entertainment, decor, gifts and if necessary the awards.

Remember to consider the time and location, it should be a place that is suitable to everyone. Is it close to public transportation, is parking included, do they have over night accommodations? Wether your hosting a cocktail party, a buffet, or a sit down meal it is easier to have a theme which sets the tone of the event and gives you a starting point when selecting your menu, entertainment and decor.

Knowing your budget will determine how much you can spend on food, entertainment, room rental, decorations and other items you may wish to purchase. For smaller workplaces there are shared party nights, where you buy tables at a large ‘off the shelf’ Christmas party, sharing the event with a variety of other companies. This is ideal for those that want the atmosphere of a larger event, but don’t have the budget, time or enough guests to put something bespoke together.

When you find a location suitable make sure you discuss room rental costs and what is included in those fees.  Do they provide security for your event? Do they provide bar tenders? Do they provide linens, plates, napkins and silverware? Do they have in-house Dj’s? Do they have any festive decorations? Take advantage of everything they offer for free to help with your budget.

As you get closer to your date it’s a good idea to make a critical path list, tracking all the details big and small. Make sure you have covered all the time-sensitive details and double check your list to make sure you have not forgotten anything.

Also think about planning some activities during the party, nothing is worse than walking into a decorated room with tables full of food and employees hiding in every possible corner. As awful as icebreaker games can be, you need to find a way to inspire your employees to interact with one another.

A slide show of memorable moments from the year can give shy employees something to focus on. Everyone enjoys a photo booth, which will give you images to post on your company blog or at next year’s holiday party.

When you make the organizational experts at the Old Mill Toronto an integral part of your planning team, you can be confident that together, we will accomplish your every objective for a successful Christmas Party.

After the Christmas party don’t miss the opportunity to send a short survey asking your guests for their feedback. The information you receive will be a useful resource in helping you plan a successful Christmas Party the following year.  



The Benefits to Off-Site Meetings

It’s time to hold a meeting, and one of your first decisions is wether you should hold the meeting off-site? There are many advantages to off-site meetings, and of course the more effort you put into your meeting the more you will get in return. Off-site meetings have the potential to take ideas to the next level, especially if paired with a team building component, that can reenergize your team, creating new ideas and commitment to company goals. 

You need to find the most effective venue to deliver the message and the physical surroundings of your off-site meetings can make an enormous difference. We can all get bored of the same four walls, stare out of the same windows, and by moving your meeting to an off-site location, you lift some of these barriers that stifle creativity encouraging them to focus more on the matters at hand, because they’re not distracted and they’re more fully engaged.

Replacing the familiar office environment, with a venue that inspires creativity is important to get the best out of everyone’s efforts. Stunning views, historical features all provide an atmosphere to get the creative juices flowing.

Some other benefits to going off-site means you can source a venue with all the latest AV equipment, and some venues provide an in-house AV technician.  This allows you to be more creative with your presentation and when presentations are more engaging, people tend to get more out of them, making your off-site meeting time more effective.

Off-site catering is also a great way to show your appreciation, and when your team is well-fed they will have a more positive attitude towards your meeting and participation levels will be higher, just avoid a lot of high carbs…we don’t want to put them to sleep!

Location matters, don’t forget to factor in travel time to and from the meeting location, and make sure that all attendees have appropriate transportation to get to the meeting on time. Be clear about goals for your off-site, and be sure to create an agenda that reflects and reinforces those goals. Decide if you want the day to be a high-energy working event, a laid-back and relaxing retreat, or a balanced program combining a little of each.

Inspiring creativity and increasing productivity are just some of the benefits to holding your meeting off-site. There is also a common misconception that having your meetings onsite is more cost-effective, but when you look at the benefits of hosting off-site, it’s totally worth it.



Team Building For Your Meetings & Events

 

In order to work effectively as a team, it is essential to improve communication, motivation, creativity, problem-solving skills and trust among team members. Team building is any activity that enhances interpersonal relationships and communication  among members of a team.

Planning a meeting infused with a team building perspective, improves motivation and job satisfaction. An interactive and challenging Team Building activity, provides people with time together, time to get to know one another and build a shared history, providing a relaxed environment to feel comfortable in sharing their ideas and ultimately improve work quality and productivity as good communication leads to efficiency.

Team Building is the perfect addition to any meeting agenda, improving energy levels that transform ordinary everyday meetings into extraordinary experiences. Improving your  meetings with engaging activities will surprise your team, so let your next meeting  be one that co-workers actually want to attend, make a big impact on your team, and get people talking afterwards. 

 A team that works well together is more effective, more productive, and more successful, not to mention motivated and more fun to work with because they feel recognized.

Infuse your Old Mill Toronto meeting or event with positive energy by integrating unique Team Building or Wellness and Team Bonding Programs into your agenda. These one-of-a-kind experiences take full advantage of the spectacular indoor and outdoor settings at the Old Mill Toronto. Take your meetings to the next level by fostering effective relationships, elevating moral, and making your Old Mill Toronto experience unforgettable!



How to plan an Office Festive Party

The most effective way to plan a successful office festive party is to first understand the goal behind the event.

1. Are you using this as a motivational event 
2. Do you want to hand out awards to employees in recognition of performance 
3. Do you want to say thank you to everyone and Celebrate.

When you know what your goal is it will help you get started and organize things into place. But don’t go at it alone, you need to assign a team to help plan the party. This will allow the event to be the result of multiple perspectives and will make the party planning workload more manageable. 

The top key initiatives to begin with are;

1. Set a preliminary reasonable budget
2. Select the location for the Festive Party
3. Select the menu for the Festive Party 
4. Select the entertainment, decor, gifts and if necessary the awards. 

Remember to consider the time and location, it should be a place that is suitable to everyone. Is it close to public transportation, is parking included, do they have over night accommodations? Wether your hosting a cocktail party, a buffet, or a sit down meal it is easier to have a theme which sets the tone of the event and gives you a starting point when selecting your menu, entertainment and decor.

Knowing your budget will determine how much you can spend on food, entertainment, room rental, decorations and other items you may wish to purchase.

When you find a location suitable make sure you discuss room rental costs and what is included in those fees.  Do they provide security for your event? Do they provide bar tenders? Do they provide linens, plates, napkins and silverware? Do they have in-house Dj’s? Do they have any festive decorations? Take advantage of everything they offer for free to help with your budget.

As you get closer to your date it’s a good idea to make a critical path list, tracking all the details big and small. Make sure you have covered all the time-sensitive details and double check your list to make sure you have not forgotten anything.

Also think about planning some activities during the party, nothing is worse than walking into a decorated room with tables full of food and employees hiding in every possible corner. As awful as icebreaker games can be, you need to find a way to inspire your employees to interact with one another.

A slide show of memorable moments from the year can give shy employees something to focus on. Everyone enjoys a photo booth, which will give you images to post on your company blog or at next year’s holiday party.

When you make the organizational experts at the Old Mill Toronto an integral part of your planning team, you can be confident that together, we will accomplish your every objective for a successful Festive Party.



Corporate Culinary Experience

 

Corporate planners, event organizers and attendees are looking for more of a culinary experience, rather than your traditional “meal”.  Creating menus that provide the elusive balance of tantalizing flavors and exquisite presentation will lend subtle elegance and impeccable style to your next event.

Hors d’oeuvres are presented with more of an artist’s eye and a social conscience. Healthy, clean eating is fast becoming a popular choice in menus, it’s not just about the vegetarians or special dietary requests anymore, now it’s main stream.

Food stations are a great way to give people variety and get guests mingling and while creative menu items are important, don’t underestimate the power of presentation. Unusual food presentations can make an indelible impression on guests and enhance their overall event experience considerably.

Check out some unique food presentation ideas on pinterest.

Themes are more popular these days so consider adding sparkle and glitz to your next event with a farm to table theme by bringing people together to enjoy local food from local farmers and prepared by local chefs who are experts in bringing the freshest ingredients to the table in creative and unique ways. 

Wine Pairings and chef’s tasting menus and let’s not forget delicious craft beers served with a tapas style menu can bring a certain flair depending on your group size of course.

Events that have ethnic-specific themes allow event planners and the executive chef to work together to bring region-specific and international foods into your event, and this will definitely please guests. Common ethnic catering includes the following:

  • Asian/Chinese/Japanese
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Mexican
  • Middle Eastern

As with all event meal planning, it is critical for an event planner to find out if any of the guests have a special dietary restrictions such as food allergies, so that the catering manager can address those needs prior to the event. 

When you make the organizational experts at the Old Mill Toronto an integral part of your planning team, and utilize their event planning tips, you can be confident that together, we will accomplish your every objective for a successful event.



Planning A Festive Office Party

The most effective way to plan a successful festive party is to first understand the goal behind the event.

1. Are you using this as a motivational event 
2. Do you want to hand out awards to employees in recognition of performance
3. Do you want to say thank you to everyone and Celebrate.

When you know what your goal is it will help you get started and organize things into place.

The top key initiatives to begin with are;

1. Set a preliminary budget
2. Select the location for the Festive Party
3. Select the menu for the Festive Party
4. Select the entertainment, decor, gifts and if necessary the awards 

Remember to consider the time and location, it should be a place that is suitable to everyone. Is it close to public transportation, is parking included, do they have over night accommodations? Wether your hosting a cocktail party, a buffet, or a sit down meal it is easier to have a theme which sets the tone of the event and gives you a starting point when selecting your menu, entertainment and decor.

Knowing your budget will determine how much you can spend on food, entertainment, room rental, decorations and other items you may wish to purchase.

When you find a location suitable make sure you discuss room rental costs and what is included in those fees.  Do they provide security for your event? Do they provide bar tenders? Do they provide linens, plates, napkins and silverware? Do they have in-house Dj’s? Do they have any festive decorations? Take advantage of everything they offer for free to help with your budget.

As you get closer to your date it’s a good idea to make a critical path list, tracking all the details big and small. Make sure you have covered all the time-sensitive details and double check your list to make sure you have not forgotten anything.

When you make the organizational experts at the Old Mill Toronto an integral part of your planning team, you can be confident that together, we will accomplish your every objective for a successful Festive Party.



Effective Tips for Planning Small Team Meetings

 
 
How many times have you heard; “Small meetings are just as much work as large meetings”! Effective use of meeting time sets a positive, productive tone for interaction among participants. An effective meeting leader will keep participants on track ensuring everyone is invested in the topic of the meeting and in the follow-up. 
 
Planning an effective meeting is all about the preparation, leadership, group participation, time management and a concise understanding of what the meeting is to accomplish. And, lets not forget that feedback is an effective way to measure your responsiveness both during and after the meeting.
 
Listed below are some great ideas to help you with planning smaller, meaningful and productive meetings.
 
1. Select a venue style, location and ambiance that suits both your program and guest profile well. It will encourage comfortable discussion in a non-intimidating environment.
 
2.  Get “outside” when you can! When appropriate, ensure you have access to outdoor space for breaks and team building ideas.
 
3.  Ensure you set realistic budgets when researching properties as venues enjoy being able to provide the best value for available spend.
 
4.  Location, Location, Location! Do you want to be close to the office? Do you want privacy? What are the travel times and costs involved?
 
5.  Are you flexible with dates? Small meetings don’t always have to be short term, but if you are flexible, venues may provide better pricing and premium space.
 
6.  Set a realistic agenda allowing time for more group discussion and problem solving.
 
7.  Ensure the facility Sales Manager understands your needs; can they suggest ways to help improve the meeting, can they provide estimates on pricing, can they give you valuable suggestions on helping you achieve the overall level of success you are looking for.
 
Remember small meetings make it possible to give participants more personal attention, use this to your advantage in communicating your agenda. In fact circulate your agenda in advance to allow participants to prepare.  This will also explain the goal of your meeting to help achieve more during your meeting with effective time use in prioritizing goals.
 
As a meeting leader you should summarize assigned action items with target completion dates that are measurable, (things that get measured get done) and if every item in the agenda was covered. Holding small team meetings helps focus on your goals accomplishing top priorities and accelerating growth of the organization. Small meeting structures are relatively simple but they require an effective disciplined strategy to ensure your strategic planning efforts create the most effective team planning with goals and objectives


Powerful Tips For Effective Presentations

Designing the right story (agenda) for your presentation is the critical key to ensuring the right message is delivered. Visually engaging presentations will help to inspire your audience, but first you must have your story. What is the one big idea that you want your audience to resonate with most? Create your headline to motivate your audience to listen, just like twitter it should be (140 characters) and make it memorable. You want to make sure your audience no matter how small or large, comes away with your main focus. 

Master your stage presence and make it look effortless. Walk the space you will be presenting on and get a clear idea of where you will stand. Start by asking your audience questions that will get them engaged and thinking about the topic’s relevance right away. Be passionate and it will come across in your presentation and most of all believe in yourself and you will be one step closer to delivering a great presentation worthy of a standing ovation. By taking your audience on a journey from start to finish and being your authentic self, (throw away the script) memorize your main points and ideas, and work on flowing between them naturally. Tell a story don’t just deliver data and remembering it’s all about the audience and what they want to hear you will ensure your presentation runs smoothly. Which reminds me of a point, get to know your audience, the presentation isn’t about you, you need to know your audience in order to deliver the story they want to hear and making sure they learn what they want to know.

Encourage the use of videos; pre, during and post presentations are always a great way to capture the attention of your audience, by keeping them engaged visually. Once you have your story you can also use powerpoint, keynote or other software to create engagement. Remember if your slide presentation can stand alone and people can just read them and not have attend your presentation, then you have too much information. Using humour, when and where appropriate allows you and your audience the chance to re-focus on the information being disbursed.

Finally practise to ensure the agenda runs smoothly, especially if you are using (AV) to avoid possible issues that will detract from the overall meeting experience. Finish your presentation by briefly framing your key points and your headline that you began taking your audience on a journey with.

The Old Mill Toronto is the ideal choice for those looking for a unique property with an elegant, historical ambiance, allowing you to devote your full concentration on your agenda and achieving the results you are targeting. Your success is our passion and priority.



Team Building

The term “Team Building” conjures up various definitions to all of us, and what one individual considers “useful”, “relevant” and “motivational”, another may not agree.  When Team building is  done  effectively, we can consider this positive process as “Building a Team within a Workplace”. Why?  To promote office harmony; employee understanding; improve performance and working towards a shared goal.

We believe the purpose of team building is to encourage each team member as individuals and the group as a whole.  Providing on-going and annual evaluations are key to employee growth, however team building reaches a new level of individual and team engagement.  Goals and expectations must be made clear, otherwise working towards a team goal can get derailed if individuals work towards their own objectives.  

Team building is often thought of as being expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  There are numerous programs and ideas for every budget.  Don’t confuse team social activities with team building activities.  A structured environment giving direction and encouragement during a team building exercise, will infuse your team with energy and creativity.    

At the Old Mill Toronto, our team building partner is the “Frontier Team Building” group who label their programs “Edutainment”.  Their unique one of a kind team building experiences take full advantage of our indoor and outdoor surroundings.  Team building is a sure way to foster effective relationships, elevate morale and make your meetings experience unforgettable!



Robbie Burns Supper Celebration

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Robbie Burns was born on January 25, 1759 in Ayreshire, Scotland.  Best known as the national Poet and lyricist of Scotland and  famously synonymous with “Auld Lang Syne” that can be heard on the last day of the year, every year since its inception.

Famous for his political views and his love for the lassies, Burns poems were also inspired by the beauty of Scotland. Although Burns only lived to the age of 37, he enjoyed a eventful life and produced an astonishing amount of great literary work during his career.

More than 200 years have passed since his death and Burns still remains one of the most celebrated figures in Scottish history and culture, demonstrated by the annual Burns Night Celebrations held on or near his birthday of January 25th.

A Burns Supper is a celebration of the life and poetry by Robert Burns.  Suppers may be formal or informal and a standard format is usually as follows;

1. Host Welcoming Speech
2. Parade of the Haggis
3. Supper
4. Immortal Memory
5. Appreciation
6. Toast to the lassies
7. Reply toast to the toast to the lassies
8. Other toasts and speeches
9. Works by Burns
10. Closing

The closing is where everyone is asked to stand and join hands to sing Auld Lang Syne bringing the evening to an end.

A Robbie Burns Supper Celebration is an evening of more then just Kilts, Haggis and Scotch, it’s a celebration of one’s life!