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Team-Building Facilitation for Escape Room Owners

Team-Building Facilitation for Escape Room Owners

Yesterday I presented a 1-hour webinar for escape room owners on how to facilitate team-building sessions for corporate clients. You can watch it below or at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwS-pchJ9BU.

Some corporate groups will book escape rooms just as a fun, team-bonding activity, but escape room owners have the opportunity to offer additional activities and assessments that can also help the team achieve their goals. In the webinar I explain the components of what makes a team high-performing and give some sample activities and assessments that escape room owners can use to add value to their escape room experience. Handouts and sample agendas are available in pdf form here: http://www.exitsantacruz.com/team-building-book/.

Check out the webinar below, and let me know if you're an escape room owner interested in more personalized consultation!

How to Use Escape Rooms for Team-Building Webinar

The benefits of Escape Rooms for businesses

The benefits of Escape Rooms for businesses

A guest post by Farzad Mesbahi, Co-Founder & CEO Human vs Room, an Escape Room in Bethlehem, PA.

Let’s paint a picture, shall we? Imagine a building filled with people, all of whom are so overjoyed with life that a frown hasn’t been seen in 17 months. Everyone gets along with each other. Emails have ceased to exist due to the discovery of the telephone and communication through talking in person. Sales have grown 187% in the last quarter due to customers absolutely falling in love with customer service, quality of the product, and services provided.

Sounds impossible, I know. That’s because it is. The reality is most companies are significantly removed from this ideal (and unrealistic) culture that I just described above, but there are clear benefits in getting a business closer to this reality. Escape Rooms, a new trend that’s taking the United States by storm, offer a unique platform that helps facilitate a team building atmosphere that businesses can benefit from.

For those not familiar, an Escape Room places a group of friends, family, or coworkers in a room for 60 minutes. The group of people will dig through clues, analyze objects, use team work and communication, and race against the clock to find the key to solve the room. Not only is it incredibly fun for all of those taking part, there are three key takeaways from the Escape Room experience that directly benefit the health and profitability of a business.

Team Building

Teamwork. Communication. Collaboration. Three nouns that make a business person scream with glee or weep from heartbreak, purely driven by the existence (or lack) of these three words in their business environment. Escape Rooms fundamentally require all three things be present for a group to be successful in their mission.

A majority of the puzzles and challenges that exist in any given room require people to work together to decipher codes or make sense of set pieces. It also requires them to constantly keep each other updated on progress made, as well as checking in with each other to see if help is required (and making sure everyone is aware of the time that is left).

This setting is very close to a project environment in the work place, both long-term and fire-drill in nature. The experiences that the group will feel and witness in an Escape Room are directly translatable to a wide array of situations in the business world. Having a team work together, communicate, and collaborate in order to solve a room will set a strong precedent and foundation for everyone involved, and the experience can be pointed to as a successful result of working as a team.

Morale and Motivation

A happy workforce is a happy customer. This notion has been proven millions of times over in every imaginable industry. It is no surprise that an employee who feels treated right by her company will be driven to do as good of a job as she can. Luckily, Escape Rooms offer a great way to improve morale in the work force.

It is human nature to feel a sense of pride when accomplishing a major task with a group of people. Escape Rooms not only offer that feeling to all that can conquer the challenges (and those that can’t), but is always followed by a tremendous amount of fun. The feeling of camaraderie is a powerful one, and a very beneficial one for a team of people working for a common goal, which is the purest definition of what a business ultimately is.

Identifying Leaders & High Performers

Every mission requires a leader. Every department requires a manager or supervisor. Every company requires a strong CEO that will point the ship in the right direction. These traits are very often part of a person’s personality – something that is written in their DNA. Escape Rooms allow these traits and characteristics to surface in a clear and obvious manner.

Companies will be able to clearly see who is acting like a leader, or identify someone that has a high ceiling. This person will often delegate tasks to others and will play a key role in solving the most complex puzzles in the room. He or she may also be a constant point of contact for all other people in the group (every office has the person who seemingly knows everything). This helps companies identify employees who are respected by their peers and have a lot of value to bring to the business.

In conclusion, a business’ key mission is simple – maximize the value of every dollar invested in the company. Escape Rooms offer an ROI that is hard to beat by offering a great platform for team building, improving morale and motivation, and identifying leaders and high performers.

And it’s fun as hell. What’s better than that?

Original Post

Looking for a fun activity for your Santa Cruz business or organization? Contact us to discuss a session!

Dragon Warrior 1989? I remember that!

Dragon Warrior 1989? I remember that!

 

I found myself searching the google play store on my phone for a game. I wasn’t looking for anything specific but having grown tired of the games I already had I searched desperately for something new. This is an activity I often engage in and it almost always ends with me downloading nothing at all after a long app trek. Maybe I’ve become jaded but rarely does anything jump out at me anymore when frolicking amongst smart phone games. But then there it was, a free NES emulator.

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All this in palm of your hand! The future is here!

 

I know that emulators are hardly a new invention and I used to enjoy them years ago on my PC. I think their existence had kinda slipped my mind over the years and so I felt like a child stumbling upon a long-lost toy under the bed. I downloaded it and immediately an old NES favorite jumped into my head, Dragon Warrior IV. Searching for the ROM I found the first game in the series from 1989 and decided that I would give it a try. It was little gem produced my the company Enix (later to become Square Enix)

Its worth mentioning that 1992’s Dragon Warrior IV (Dragon Quest IV in Japan) was my introduction to RPG video games, or any RPGs for that matter. I wouldn’t discover D&D till years later, but that’s another story. I was surprised how much grinding is required in the first Dragon Warrior. You really had to be dedicated to the cause to get those sweet level-ups. I had also forgotten how adorable some of the monsters are, especially the ever famous slime. What psychopath decided that the monsters I was murdering should lock eye contact and smile the whole time?

“I forgive you…”

 

The slime, inspired by the Wizardry slime, was originally supposed to be just a “pile of goo” but the smiling teardrop is what the artist came back with and everyone thought it was perfect. And so began putting smiling faces on all the monsters. The game is so simplistic compared to a modern jrpg but its interesting how much we still see elements of these old games. Hit points to track health, magic points for spells, every monster poops gold coins upon death, leveling up. I was very amused when I saw the first two spells the hero learns, “heal” and “hurt”. I like to image that they had some huge list of spells after a long brain storming session and then someone was like “You know, these spells all do pretty much one of two things, I think we can simplify this a bit”.

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I only know these two spells. As you can see I’ve prepared myself for every possible scenario.

 

What is it about nostalgia? By today’s standards theses games are crap and yet I so thoroughly enjoyed myself, sitting there murdering happy slimes while sitting on the couch in my underwear. Perhaps its more than simple nostalgia though. Maybe a game designed primarily to be fun has a natural edge on a game that focuses more on encouraging you to get the DLC with fun being a secondary priority. Maybe I’m just getting old, who knows. Anyways, imma go play some excite bike.

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They see me rollin

 

 

 

Written By Steven Cleek

www.exitsantacruz.com

Our Story: A Funeral and a Murder Mystery

Our Story: A Funeral and a Murder Mystery

It was December 26th in Gastonia, North Carolina, and we were bored. This wasn’t your usual post-Christmas boredom, though. That day we buried my grandmother, who had died a few days before after spending nearly a month in the hospital. My sister Crystal and I, and most of the rest of my family, had taken time off work to be with my grandmother and support each other. My partner Steve had arrived a week before. So by December 26th, we had watched as much TV as we could, been to the hospital as much as we could stand, unwrapped presents, and tried to keep ourselves entertained. We had mourned, for weeks, and we knew we were going to mourn for much longer. But we needed something else to do.

My sister found a website for a place called an escape room. “What is it?” we asked. “They lock you in a room for an hour and you try to get out,” she answered. We shrugged and agreed to go. Our mother, famously claustrophobic, could not be persuaded to join us. The only booking open the next day was at 10am for a “Murder Mystery.”

The next morning, we drove to an industrial area of Charlotte and pulled up to what looked like a warehouse. Inside was a tiny lobby and a waiting room with a foosball table and some wooden puzzles. Steve and I had seen some of the puzzles in a toy shop in San Francisco, but even then we couldn’t remember how to put them together. A few minutes before our timeslot, a group of other adults and a couple of teens arrived. The employee directed us to put our keys and phones in little lockers and told us to introduce ourselves to each other. We were a team.

A few minutes later, they ushered us into a mock hotel room and closed the door behind us. Audio of a phone call played from a speaker over head. We needed to figure out who was killed, where, when, and why. The game was on.

For the next hour, we dashed around the room, pouring over tickets and an address book, trying to guess numbers on locks, unscrewing pipes and (fake) electrical outlets, puzzling over a (fake) severed thumb, and trying to read significance into four old books torn in half. I somehow became the captain in charge of calling the “front desk” via an old phone to ask for clues. Time ticked away. With minutes left, I finally used the address book to open the very first lock I’d found. Inside was a set of dials that gave us the combination to open our final box, which had a letter from our murder victim’s wife.

My teammates handed the phone to me. I dialed the front desk and gave our answers: who, where, when, and why. “That’s right!” the lady responded. We had won.

Our experience was most of our conversation for the next few days. We teased our mother, who loves murder mysteries, about what she had missed. We talked about how the puzzles worked, how our team worked together, how we overcame a language barrier and the oddness of playing with strangers, the design of the rooms, that one magically opening dresser, and most of all, how much fun it was. By the time Steve and I returned to Santa Cruz, we were already planning to play every escape room in the Bay Area, and we wanted to open one of our own. We’d always been board game and roleplaying nerds, but an escape room was a new way to actually enter a new world. Steve had always wanted to run a small business. We had the creativity to make awesome games. And I knew how much fun it’d be to work with my students at nearby UC Santa Cruz.

That’s how EXIT Santa Cruz was born. We still miss “Granny”, Martha Ree Byrd, every day, but she loved to laugh, and have fun, and at EXIT Santa Cruz we are going to dedicate every minute of fun to her.

 

 
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