Party Professor – March 2019


Gotta Love a Party!

Three Steps to Help You Increase Group Events & Parties


Beth Standlee

By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment

With spring break already upon us, many family entertainment centers find themselves gearing up for the holiday week, as well as the summer months. While hiring, training and maintaining a great staff is no party, I believe there is a way to find and keep good team members.

At the top level, the three steps below provide a good overall foundation for hiring the best. I’ll expand on the second step and provide you with an outline for a proven “audition” process we use on a weekly basis with clients all over North America.

1. Decide who your ideal team player really is. A friend of mine would say to create an avatar of that team member. What do they look, act, talk, walk and even smell like? Think of your very best employee. List all of their characteristics.

Now that you have that picture in your mind complete with a list of their traits, place an ad that states you are looking for enthusiastic people who fit that description. A job description doesn’t really matter if you don’t hire the right people. The right team member needs to fit into your idea of the ideal team player. You can never provide enough training to the wrong person. It costs too much time and money to make the non-ideal employee fit into your culture and when you try, they usually drag others down.

2. Host an audition and give the new candidate the opportunity to “try out” for the job. I love the idea of “try before I buy.” As a business owner, I’ve made plenty of decisions about hiring that would have been better made had I employed that practice. (And if not that, at least a good return policy!)

3. Provide a consistent on-boarding experience. What I mean is, create an orientation and training process that is the same. Orientation should include the basics. What does it mean to work at your facility? Emphasize your core values and teach new team members how to make good decisions about the business based on those values.

Introduce the new employee to others. Show them how to thrive during a shift. Deliver specific job training through online and on-the-job experience. Consistency is key! I love the idea of orientation being the second and third Tuesdays (you pick the day) of the month. As you hire new team members and onboard several at the same time, they have a network of newbies that can make it easier because it is a shared experience.


Listed below are examples of successful activities adapted from the TrainerTainment “Building Great Teams” guide that will help your management team determine which applicants are the most outgoing, friendly and capable of creating an exceptional guest experience.


Introduce yourself and welcome everyone to the auditions. Introduce supervisors and managers that are present, and give them an opportunity to speak to the group. Explain to the applicants that they are auditioning for a “role” as a “cast member” of the team. The supervisors and managers will be observing their behavior and participation to determine who will be invited back for interviews.

Audition Exercises 1 - for Party Professor March 2019Audition Exercises 2 - for Party Professor March 2019Opening Activities: 

• Applicant Introductions –– Have the applicants think of a way to introduce themselves that will make them stand out from all the others. Don’t give them a lot of guidance. You want to see how creative they can be. If they get stuck, suggest that they tell you something no one else knows about them, demonstrate a special talent, etc.

• Creativity Activity –– Copy and cut out the questions provided on the Creativity Exercises form (see graphics above). Let each participant draw a question and provide an answer or perform the activity.

Company Overview:

• Mission statement –– A valuable experience every day, in every way, for everyone.

• Core Values –– For example, teamwork, security, value, courtesy and service.

The Hand Dance:

This activity is about teamwork. Each applicant will come up with a hand gesture while seated (clapping three times or patting their legs twice, clapping twice, and snapping their fingers twice) to perform to music. Turn on the music. Start with the person seated in seat #1. That person will perform his/her hand dance. The person in seat #2 must repeat the first person’s hand dance and then add his/her own dance. This continues until you reach the last person, who must do the entire dance before adding his/her own move. Tip: You can provide some assistance if necessary, but this is an opportunity for group members to assist each other as a team.

Human Knot:

Have the applicants make a large circle. (Circles can be made up of five to 20 people. When you have larger groups, this game works well as a race between several circles.) Have everyone put their left hand in the middle and hold hands with someone in the circle, not directly next to them. Repeat with the right hand and be sure to hold hands with a different person (again, someone who is not directly next to them). Then the group must use teamwork to unravel themselves into a large open circle again while keeping everyone’s hands connected at all times. (It is okay for participants to rotate their grips.)

Audition Role Play Sample Questions - for Party Professor March 2019Role Play:

• Divide the participants into small groups of three to five people.

• Hand each group a role play question like how would they handle a difficult guest making an unreasonable demand, a mad mom at a birthday party or a lost child.

• Give groups three to four minutes to discuss their question and develop a skit to perform for the rest of the group. Each skit should take no more than three to four minutes (they can use any available props in the room).

• Ask for volunteers to present their skit.

• Debrief each skit. Look for things the participants did really well and ask for ideas from the entire group which could make the situation even better for the guest.


• Ask the applicants more specific questions about your center.

• Ask the applicants if they have any questions.


• Thank the applicants for coming.

• Ask each to complete and turn in an “Audition Card” (left).

• Give applicants instructions on next steps (when and how they will be notified for interviews).

If you still aren’t convinced to up your game when it comes to hiring, I encourage you to use the online calculator found at resources/bad-hire-cost-calculator to measure the cost of a bad hire.

By my calculations, a $10 an hour team member, who winds up being the wrong person for the job, costs the business nearly $10,000. That’s enough to make me start paying a lot more attention to finding the right people. I know it seems like the front-line team member is “disposable,” but at $10,000 per person, I think investing a little more in deciding who’s really right for the job –– rather than settling for anyone who walks in the door –– would be a great investment for your business, your guests and the people working with you.


Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and  hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at



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