Everyone in the company from the guy who started yesterday to Matt gets up in front of everyone and gives a 4-minute talk on whatever they want to share.
Some of them are funny, others informative, some are completely random semi-off-the-cuff, and others are well-crafted well-timed presentations.
The joy in this is that you get to learn a little bit about all of your coworkers, their humor, what they care about, their preferred drink, or experience a piece of their creativity.
With 200 people, the process took a long time. I admit, I snuck out more than one time during them to call home to check-in. Thankfully, we record all of them and post them on an internal blog (which is a great way for new folks to “meet” some of the old timers a bit faster).
Even though it took a great amount of time, I loved them. It is a relatively quick way to build community and know quirks about your coworkers that we’d often never see working remotely and with so many people. I have a coworker who loves roundabouts (traffic circles). I’d never know otherwise, which is a shame, since anyone who loves traffic circles is a-okay in my book.
Or the guy who sings as Kermit the Frog to his kids?
Or the gal who found animal-lookalikes for everyone’s Gravatar?
Or the guy whose cancer research in a previous job was freaking amazing (and way over my head)?
The next time you’re part of a team that has a retreat, throw these in. When I was president of my fraternity in college, I wished I knew what I know now about flash talks. It would have been such an easy win for building community to give each member 5 minutes (or more, depending on the size of the group) to just talk about whatever they wanted to share.
featured image photocredit: flickr/laffy4k.