Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How do we curb "over indulgence" at our next event?

What do you do about Uncle Joe?

We all have an “Uncle Joe” …you know, the relative that tends to over-indulge at family events and before you know it, the pants are off and they are leading the audience in the chicken dance.

What can you do, or more importantly, what strategies can you incorporate, to keep individuals from over-indulging at your next event?

The most obvious solution is to exclude them from the guest list. In other words, don’t invite them. This solution is fraught with problems right out of the gate. If you don’t invite them, someone is going to be upset and hurt and the ripple effect will cause others to be upset and hurt. Not a good way to start.

Whew! We avoided that potential family conflict. So, we have decided to keep Uncle Joe on the guest list, now what are we going to do to ensure that he doesn’t drink too much and embarrass himself and others, take his pants off and/or play “pull my finger” with your boss?

Here are a few tips:

  • Shorten the cocktail reception. By having a shorter cocktail reception, you are reducing the time for individuals like “Uncle Joe” to power drink
  • Reduce the bar hours. Close the bar during the meal service
  • Compromise on the open bar concept by having a “toonie” bar ($2). The thinking behind this is that if individuals have to pay for their drinks, they will consume less. A “toonie” is not a lot of money, but it does create a small stumbling block. If that makes you uncomfortable, you can always have a sign that states that the proceeds from the bar are going to a non-profit
  • Serve food at your cocktail reception. Food slows the absorption of alcohol
  • Don’t put wine on the tables! Not only is having open wine on tables wasteful (often the guests favour red over white or vice versa) it encourages over-consumption. By having servers coming around to each table offering to refill glasses, there is greater control.
  • Talk to your bartender and servers about the potential for over indulgence and come up with a plan to deal with the possibility. Bartenders and servers have legal responsibilities when serving alcohol.
  • Diversion tactics! Separate Uncle Joe from the bar by engaging him in conversation or dancing
  • Serve a “midnight lunch”. When serving alcohol, a midnight lunch is a must! A midnight lunch is a late evening snack often consisting of cold cuts, pickles and buns, veggies and dip, etc. Once again…food slows the absorption of alcohol.

If all else fails and Uncle Joe has over-indulged……..

  • Create a security team. Your security team is a group of friends or family that can swoop in and assist in putting Uncle Joe’s pants back on and escorting him out of the reception hall before he starts the chicken dance.
  • Take his keys! Make sure that Uncle Joe does NOT attempt to drive himself or others home. The greatest gift you can give your guests is the offer of a safe ride home. There are organizations in each community who can provide this service at a nominal fee.

I have been referencing a family event such as wedding, but the same rules apply at a corporate event. Over drinking at an office function or corporate event is a no-no…nothing good can come of it. Uncle Joe may lose the respect of his family and be the subject of conversation for the next few days, but if someone over-indulges at an office function, they may lose their job.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Disaster unfolds slowly in the Gulf of Mexico - The Big Picture -

I don't normally post things like this, but the images in the attached article are very vivid and thought-provoking and now make up our past, recent as it may be.

Someone said to me recently, "....but if stuff like this keeps happening, why do we bother with green strategies at our doesn't make a difference."

As George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

I post these pictures as a reminder that what we do does make a difference. Everything we do, small or large makes a difference. I know it feels like two steps forward, one giant step back, but we have to keep going forward.

Disaster unfolds slowly in the Gulf of Mexico - The Big Picture -

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Monday, May 10, 2010

I spy with my green eyes....

"Clean the World".....I met a representative of Clean the World at a conference I attended in February. They have an amazing program operating in the states. Of particular interest to me is the soap recycling program. We have all used those little hotel soaps and, what waste we are generating, there has to be a better way. (It is estimated that 2 million bars of soap end up in landfills each year - source National Geographic)

There is a better way and Clean the World has a wonderful
soap recycling program. Working with hospitality partners to educate their staff on the soap and shampoo program, they provide bins which housekeeping uses to deposit collected soap. They use two recycling methods, re-batching and sterilization.

Rebatching applies to moderate/heavily used bars. Soap is cooked to remove all impurities and reformed into 2-ounce bars.

For the remaining 90% of slightly used bars, the soap soaks in a sanitizing solution and then treated with a steam/pressure combination. It is then tested for pH level and cooled for packaging.

For green meeting planners, this is another way for you to be socially responsible. Clean the World donation stations can be set up at the hotels where your attendees will deposit their bathroom amenities at the end of the day.

Your attendees get to see first hand how this program impacts the environment and helps save lives:

After the meeting, Clean the World will provide the actual totals of the donated items that were collected during the event and the number of families that will benefit due to the organization’s participation in the program.

More information about the program can be accessed at

They also have a facebook page and a channel on Youtube. I am in the process of finding out if their operations extend to Canada....will keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Celebrate Mother's Day and Mother Earth!

Are you wondering how to celebrate Mother’s Day and leave a lighter footprint? Look no further, because we have come up with some great ways to honor the women in your life in ways that you can feel good about!

Who is your mom? Your Mother’s Day plans can take on a new life if you focus on your mom’s unique personality. Does she love the outdoors? Does she love to cook? Is she artistic?

The outdoorsy mom – The outdoorsy mom’s are always itching to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. What about organizing a day by the lake or the river? Pack a picnic and don’t forget your collapsible chairs. Spend the afternoon scouring the beach for colorful rocks and branches and let mom enjoy the peace and solitude. Make sure you “pack out” what you “pack in”!

The art critic – These moms’s love to do anything creative. Scapbooking is a great way to spend an afternoon and it gets even better with friends’ and a glass of B.C. wine! Invite some mom’s and daughters over to create some scrapbooking pages. Create a keepsake you can treasure forever.

The foodie – We have often heard that the way to someone’s heart is through his or her stomach. The “foodie” mom knows this is a fact and loves to share her culinary prowess. She is usually a Food Network junkie and often tries out “new recipes” on family and friends. What about organizing a cooking lesson with a local chef specializing in a cuisine that mom is interested in? Just don’t expect her to clean the kitchen afterwards!

The fitness freak – If you can get this mom to stand still for a moment, hand her the brand new playlist you have created for her ipod complete with her favourite workout music.

The bookworm – There is nothing better than a good book. Download the newest novel by mom’s favourite author and either burn it onto CD’s that she can listen to while in the car or load it onto her ipod.

The environmentalist mom – Let’s face it….all mom’s are concerned about the world their children are growing up in. Here are some suggestions for the eco-warrior mom. Arrange for a tour of the local Wind Farm, have an “earth hour” at your home by turning off the lights, lighting some soy or beeswax candles and playing a board game with the family or prepare a brunch at home using local ingredients.

Here are some eco-friendly mother’s day gifts and ideas that you can feel good about giving!

Consumables – Gift certificates for restaurants or movie theatres, i-tunes gift cards, Starbucks or Tim Horton’s gift cards in reusable mugs.

Art – Make mom something! Mom’s love to get something hand made by her children. Frame a poem or a school art project…the sky is the limit! I have a lovely poem my adult daughter wrote for me sitting on my desk in a frame. When I look at it, it makes me smile.

P.S. I love you – Create a DVD for mom with pictures of you growing up including video telling your mom how much you love her. It will be a keepsake she will treasure forever. Most newer home computers have the software necessary to create your own DVD.

Time –Turn off your cellphone or blackberry and enjoy some quality time with your mom…. perhaps the most priceless gift of all, give your mom the gift of “you”.

Happy Mother's Day