Try This 5 Second Mood Boost – Utilizing the Science of Smiling (Hint: Grab a Pen)

Grab a pen. Place it between your lips, and don’t let it touch your teeth. Hold for 5 seconds.

Now, place the pen between your teeth, and don’t let it touch your lips. Hold for 5 seconds.

Notice the difference? Did you happen to feel a shift in mood the second time around? Maybe a bit happier?

Interestingly, it’s been shown in scientific studies that smiling CAN ACTUALLY IMPROVE YOUR MOOD. So, not only do we smile WHEN we’re happy, but smiling can actually MAKE us feel happier!

Fascinating right?! OK, let’s take it a step further…

A study showed that a big teethy smile (show off those eye crinkles!) was shown to help RELIEVE STRESS FASTER vs. not smiling. Even. If. You’re. Just. Faking. The. Smile.

WHAT?! Crazy, right?!

Bottom line: “Fake it til you make it” actually works for smiling! We smile when we’re happy, and smiling can actually make us FEEL happier. The more we smile, the happier we feel, and the better we can cope with stress.

So it stands to reason that providing others with real reasons to smile can also help THEM feel happier and cope with stress better. And wouldn’t you want to do that as much as you possible could?

Seriously. Give it a try. Grab a pen. Try it out. Could you tell a difference?

Source: How We Grin to Bear It: The Science of Smiling

BONUS: Here are three of our most popular entertainment options to help you bring on the smiles

Each of these offerings are designed to LOWER stress and ENGAGE audiences – all while utilizing the power of joy and laughter. Get those smiles ready!

1. Murder Mystery Games

Our Murder Mystery Games are hilarious and highly interactive group fun. Perfect for team building, ice breakers and client appreciation events. Note: Works best for 25 or less participants.

2. Comedy Shows

Our Comedy Shows are a fun way to boost morale and laugh together! Perfect for all-hands meetings, virtual happy hours and a thoughtful mid-day boost of comic relief. Note: Our content is 100% corporate-friendly. Give us some details about your company, and our performers will even create custom material just for YOUR audience!

3. Magic + Mind Control

Our Award-Winning Magic + Mind Control show with Chris Dugdale will AMAZE. Perfect for incentive events, company awards and celebrations, and client appreciation events. Note: Highly interactive, this show is suitable for any size group and is also family-friendly!

We hope you enjoy this article and entertainment ideas.

For more information about the different kinds of ways we can enhance your next virtual meeting or event, click here.

If you’re looking for fun and creative ways to help relieve stress and increase engagement for your team or a fun way to stay top-of-mind with your VIP clientele in a thoughtful, meaningful and memorable way, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Us.

Thanks for reading, and keep smiling!

Have Fun Without the Fatigue With These 3 Energizing Virtual Activities

“Zoom Fatigue.” It’s a real thing. We work with our clients to create ways to fight virtual meeting exhaustion, drive up engagement, and give your employees a boost – all at the same time!

Here are three tips to energize your audience:

1. The One Song Dance Party! – Encourage everyone to move to the beat, in or out of their seat! A super fun way to kick of the meeting, after a health break, or a fun way to end the meeting. Click here for a list of 100 dance and party songs.

2. Pop Quiz! – Ask your participants a question, and the first person to answer correctly in the chat box wins a prize. The question could be related to your meeting content, your organization, or a totally random piece of trivia. Click here for 250 fun trivia questions and answers.

3. Test the Mics! – Ask your participants to turn their microphones on and tell them to LAUGH as loud as they can at the count of three. Watch and listen as the laughter quickly becomes genuine!

BONUS: Here are three virtual activities we love to host that have proven to be to be:

* ENERGIZING vs. Draining
* ENGAGING vs. Boring
* EXCITING vs. Predictable

1. Virtual Music Bingo!

Why We Love It: Upbeat music lifts your mood and gets people dancing – in or out of their chairs. We’ve even had participants break into song! Of course it helps that we have an amazing professional DJ playing all the crowd favorites.

How It Works: Instead of calling bingo numbers, our DJ plays songs. The bingo cards are 100% virtual, customized for each event, and are easily accessed and played on your phone. We recommend playing 3-4 rounds max for 30 minutes of absolute FUN.

Enhancement Idea #1: Gather your team’s favorite songs in advance, and we will create a custom playlist for a totally unique game experience.

Enhancement Idea #2: Make the fun last (an hour or more) by combining this game with another engaging group activity like a virtual team scavenger hunt or a murder mystery game.

2. Friendly Feud Game Show

Why We Love It: It’s our online adaptation of the popular “feud” TV game show. It’s a highly interactive, virtual game show, and it’s 100% customizable to YOUR company. Mix it up with bit of friendly competition and team engagement in an exciting way. Our clients have even used it as a way to quiz their sales teams for a new product launch.

How It Works: Led by a professional emcee and comedian, your staff will team up as game show contestants in this collaborative team building event. They’ll compete for points as you gain valuable insight into your players’ current knowledge and possible training gaps. It’s perfect for sales teams! This game show experience typically lasts about 60 minutes. Watch the Video.

Enhancement Idea #1: Take note of any wrong answers and use them as an opportunity to “course correct” right then and there to maximize product knowledge.

Enhancement Idea #2: In addition to “bragging rights,” you could award an additional prize to the winning team to further bump up the excitement.

NOTE: This game is designed for a maximum of 12 contestants plus a “studio audience” and is played via Zoom.

3. A 30-Min “Mini” Comedy Show

Why We Love It: A 30-minute comedy performance is a perfectly compact way to gift your employees with some much-needed levity.

How It Works: Our 30-min comedy shows feature an experienced headlining comedian to bring on the laughs, plus a professional emcee to introduce the performer and energize the crowd. All of our comedians are carefully selected and corporate-friendly.

Enhancement Idea: Add in a feature comedian and extend the laughs to a full hour! Or couple the comedy performance with another group activity, like Virtual Music Bingo or an ice breaker.

Note: It’s important to note that none of our events are cookie-cutter. Let’s work together to create the best activity or event for YOUR group. We consider several factors including your group’s individual goals and objectives, team dynamics, the number of participants, time allotted, your preferred virtual platform’s capabilities, etc.

We hope you enjoyed these energizing and engaging event ideas.

For more information about all the different kinds of ways we can enhance your next virtual meeting or event, click here.

Interested in hosting an event? Contact us.

Thanks for reading, and keep smiling!

3 of the Coolest Ice Breakers for Virtual Meetings

Hello! We’re hearing from clients that they’d like some fresh yet meaningful ways to engage and reconnect with their teams. One of the quickest ways to break the ice is with… wait for it… an ICE BREAKER. We know, totally mind blowing, right?  

An ice breaker helps get people in the right mind frame or headspace for the meeting. And when done correctly, it can also give a beneficial energy boost for everyone, setting up the meeting for success…

Keep in mind that choosing the right ice breaker(s) will depend on a few different factors such as your meeting goals and objectives, team dynamics, the number of attendees, the time allotted, your virtual platform’s capabilities, etc. Whenever we facilitate an ice breaker with a client, this information helps us pick out the best option(s):

Here’s our top 3 favorite ice breakers for virtual / remote meetings:

  1. Star Light, Star Bright
  2. Two Truths and a Lie
  3. My Favorite Thing

And here’s how each one works:

1. Star Light, Star Bright

Why We Love It: It puts people in a positive, goal-oriented head space. Thinking about the possibilities gives a boost of hope and promise for the team. It’s not competitive. It also gives your brain a boost thinking about the future (just like how THINKING about a trip is linked to greater happiness and creativity as much as the trip itself!).

How It Works: Start off by reciting the classic poem:

Star Light, Star Bright
First Star I See Tonight
I Wish I May, I Wish I Might
Have This Wish I Wish Tonight


And then ask everyone to write down one wish for the team. After a minute or so, you then ask everyone to share their wish. It can be anything!

Extra Credit: Collect the goals in a shared central location (via email, slack, etc.) so everyone can reference them again!  

2. Two Truths and a Lie

Why We Love It: This is a classic ice breaker that works for teams of all familiarity levels. If a team is pretty close, it’s more of a challenge to stump your colleagues, so you can share things they didn’t know about you before.

How It Works: Ask everyone to think of two true facts and one false fact about themselves – ideally thinking up lesser-known facts that the team don’t already know. Then one by one each person shares their two truths and a lie in any order, and the rest of the group has to guess which one is the lie.

Extra Credit: For competitive teams, you could gamify this ice breaker and award points to those who spotted the lie and award points for the sharer for incorrect guesses.

3. My Favorite Thing

Why We Love It: This ice breaker shares thoughtful insight into our priorities and personalities. And in a remote setting, everyone usually has access to MORE things they could potentially show. As people are going around their homes or work spaces, they’re looking at everything in a new light… and in some cases, may find it difficult to pick out just ONE favorite thing. It’s also a fun physical exercise because it gets people up and moving, which is a nice energy boost.  

How It Works: Set a time limit (1-2 minutes is plenty in most cases) and ask everyone to select ONE item to show everyone and explain why it’s their favorite thing. Ask them to leave the item where they can see it for the duration of the meeting (unless it’s a pet or a person of course!), so they can be reminded of that positive energy every time they look at it.

Extra Credit: Take a screenshot of everyone holding their favorite thing and share it after the meeting as a fun keepsake.

BONUS Coolest Ice Breaker #4: Take a Stance 

Why We Love It: It’s visually interesting and can encourage spirited interaction during and conversation afterwards.

How It Works: Everyone starts with their cameras OFF. The facilitator asks a series of questions and if the team members vote YES or NO or choose between two options by turning their cameras on or off. For example:

  • Does pineapple belong on pizza? Absolutely, or no way?
    Turn your camera ON for absolutely… (cameras off) Turn your camera ON for “no way.” (The correct answer is “absolutely btw! *smiles*)
  • Do you prefer the mountains or the ocean?
    Turn your camera ON for mountains…(cameras off) Turn your camera ON for the ocean… (cameras off)
  • Dogs or cats?
    Turn your cameras ON for dogs… (cameras off). Turn your camera ON for cats… (cameras off) etc.

Note: This ice breaker works best for environments where everyone can have their camera on and be visible at the same time (i.e. Zoom or Microsoft Meetings in “Together Mode.”).

We hope you enjoyed these ice breaker ideas. Would you prefer someone else handle the details and host the ice breaker for you? We do that!

For more information about all the different kinds of ways we can enhance your next virtual meeting or event, click here.

Thanks for reading, and have a good meeting!

“A Taste of Entertainment: Virtual Extravaganza” on February 18

For immediate release

Lauren Ansley Comedy Productions to Showcase Four Virtual Entertainers During “A Taste of Entertainment: Virtual Extravaganza” on Thursday, February 18

Virtual Performances Include Award-Winning Magic + Mind Control, Comedy, Team Building + Improv, and Event Hosting

(Charlotte, NC – February 4) On Thursday, February 18 at 1:00 p.m. EDT, Lauren Ansley Comedy Productions will present a special sampler event to showcase four virtual entertainers now available for virtual corporate events.

Since the pandemic hit and live events were put on hold, entertainers have pivoted to offering creative entertainment online. Four of these entertainers will be showcasing their talents during this virtual sampler event: Lauren Ansley, Chris Dugdale, Don Garrett, and Jenn Bianchi.

Lauren Ansley is the event producer and host. In September 2019, Ansley went full-time into comedy show production after quitting her job and selling her house to fund her dream. Six months into her 12-month launch plan, COVID hit and all her shows were cancelled. Ansley adapted to offering virtual comedy shows and have since expanded her offerings by partnering with other experienced corporate entertainers to include comedy, magic + mind control, mixology, trivia, music, casino games, and more. She most recently added music bingo and an international Elvis impersonator to her roster.

Chris Dugdale is an award-winning entertainer and magician who has performed for the Queen of England, Beyonce and at The Pentagon. Used to selling out theaters and performing internationally, Chris has transformed his home studio into a virtual stage. During the February 18 preview he’ll provide a “sneak peek” of his award-winning show “Down to 1,” a journey of magic and binary mind-control, into a virtual performance where now everyone gets a front row seat.

Don Garrett is a Charlotte-based stand-up comedian who was recently named Queen City’s Best Comedian of 2020 by Queen City Nerve. He will be performing a comedy set during the February 18 event. Ansley and Garrett shared many stages pre-COVID, and Garrett has proven to be a crowd favorite on Ansley’s virtual shows, as well.

Jenn Bianchi is a corporate training and improv coach and performer. During the February 18 event, she’ll be providing a sampling of group team building activities to show how attendees could utilize these to enhance their own working relationships with coworkers through the power of the “Yes And” governing principle of improv.

Ansley regularly hosts virtual sampler events like this one to showcase what’s possible in a virtual setting. She hosted over 25 holiday parties in December 2020 across four continents from her home office in Charlotte, NC. Ansley enjoys working with other experienced entertainers and has a true passion for creating much-needed joy and laughter.

For more information and to RSVP to “A Taste of Entertainment: Virtual Extravaganza” on February 18, please visit www.laurenansley.com.

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