All Fun and Games

By Heather Baldwin

Imagine you’re a sales rep for a construction company. You walk into the first day of yet another annual sales meeting, dreading what you know will be eight hours of PowerPoint slides. Instead – surprise! You’re greeted at the door by a toy dump truck from which you have to draw a number. You proceed to the round table matching that number, spend the next hour brainstorming on sales strategies and then select a team member to represent your table in a rousing game of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire that tests company knowledge. The day flies by and you leave the meeting armed with new ideas, new contacts in other areas of the company and a new appreciation for the value of the sales meeting.

Sound too good to be true? Not at all. Fun, productive meetings are the specialty of Pembroke Pines, Florida-based M.E. Productions, which recently designed and staged a meeting like above example. The company, which understands meetings can be brutally boring, works with clients to create memorable, productive events using an array of props, videos, lights, games and entertainers.

It’s not just gimmickry. Deirdre Underwood, M.E. Productions’ director of business theater, says her company understands that real learning happens when attendees are alert, involved and sharing information with each other. All the games and props are designed with that principle in mind and to drive home the messages managers aim to impart. “I like to get involved from the outset because I can take the theme and create it all the way through the meeting,” says Underwood. “We want that theme, motto or catchphrase to run through the whole event, pounding into [attendees’] minds the message from management.” She also wants that message to stick, so Underwood figures out “how we can deliver the information, but not from a talking head droning at the podium.” Elvis, magicians, speakers interacting with a cartoon character on a video screen – all have effectively delivered critical information to sales reps.

M.E. Productions likes to work with a two- to four-month lead time, although Underwood says she has designed an event in as little as four days. For more information, visit