This past week, while picking up the dry cleaning with my wife, an 80s song came on. I couldn’t help myself – I started humming, then full-on joined in by singing the melody and air drumming.
The quiet woman behind the counter couldn’t help herself either, an started laughing uncontrollably.
I didn’t know what was so funny. I looked over at my wife – a professional musician who is used to these sorts of antics by me – but now, she was laughing, too. On our way out, she explained that while singing in public was par for the course for people like us with a performance bent, for lots of folks working the daily grind, there’s really not much in the way of singing, etc.
I agreed with my wife (as is always the wise thing to do), however I also started thinking about other workplaces I’ve encountered, both in my personal career, as well as the corporate teambuilding activities in NYC and beyond we produce at TrivWorks.
Very often, I’ll find myself on the phone with an inquiring client who states that their group is extremely reserved: bookkeepers, IT professionals, pharmaceutical researchers etc. That, or they’ve got a mixed group – say, a team of hard-charging, outgoing sales reps, as well as some quiet, introverted number crunchers. What can we do with this bunch?
The first thing I tell them, however, is that in my experience, what they think they know about their tem will be wrong. Contrary to what you’d expect, it’s the quiet ones who always come out of their shells during group entertainment events – they’ll surprise you with their enthusiasm and competitive energy, and in the case of trivia events like ours, the random knowledge about EVERYTHING that’s floating around their heads – especially pop culture references old and new – will shock you.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, however having worked with so many diverse groups over the years, I know that given the right environment and comfort level, the folks who are most quiet and reserved at the office will let their true personalities shine – you’ll never look at them the same again.
And that’s a good thing!