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What's in a Name?

Murder mystery character actors relaxing and laughing

Now I’m not claiming to be the next Eddie Izzard (although that would be great, wouldn’t it?!) but one of the most important things affecting my well-being is the ability to laugh, and to make others laugh. We know all the scientific stuff about releasing feel-good chemicals, and we know without being told that it can reduce tension and stress, and helps us feel connected to others.  Therefore, it makes sense that fun team building activities are going to be more productive than boring old dull ones.

Even without the benefit of research we know that jobs in which we’ve shared a joke with fellow employees have felt much more rewarding and productive than those in which you’re stuck in a room with people possessing the sense of humour of Victor Meldrew.   However it’s always nice to see some official research, and this is one such piece which shows that:

“Workers who have a good time while they’re on the clock accomplished more, showed a higher level of creativity and extended more help to co-workers”“It builds their emotional attachment to those they work with.  It would make sense that you’re more likely to help your co-workers when you know them better”

Our events tackle some important issues, but to us it’s imperative that it’s done with good humour to relax participants and avoid any feelings of being overwhelmed by the seriousness of it all.  It can take a while to find the right balance between adding a humourous touch and just being downright silly but we know we’ve perfected the technique.

Oh, it was all a joke!

The first murder mystery I ever wrote and performed back in 2004 took itself rather too seriously.  We’ve all got to start somewhere, so I invented a singer named Tallulah O’Brien and her entourage, all possessing boring names such as Frances Pickard and Brian McFee.  I suspect that a number of the guests had not been told that they were attending a murder mystery, and were genuinely surprised when, despite having chatted to us (in character) for 30 minutes, we revealed that Tallulah was, in fact dead.  ‘Oh!  It was all just a joke!’ one guest was heard to exclaim.   I like to think that this was a testament to our acting skills, but from that moment on, I decided that there would be no room for confusion.  I’m all for secrets and suspense, but both I and my clients/guests should know firmly where they stand, in my opinion.

So I took a leaf out of the late great Terry Wogan’s book, and our next production included an opera singer called Wendy Curtain-Falls, and a private detective called Noah Thingortoo.  It was much more fun for us and the guests and the whole evening was a triumph.  It’s become a Teams Unpuzzled ‘thing’, and wherever we go you can be assured of a chuckle at the silly puns.

Someone close to me once suggested that I drop the silly names if I want to be taken seriously, but my answer was that I don’t want to be taken too seriously – after all, we’ve already established that humour can enhance employee productivity.  Using our range of comedy names essentially puts people at ease; the characters are not intimidating and therefore they break down the barriers before we’ve even started working on communication skills and the like.

Our Evidence Room tells a serious murder story, the victim being Sir Orson Ounds, local racehorse trainer.  On the case is private detective Hugh Dunnitt, questioning witnesses such as Doug Deeply the gardener.  Having learnt a little bit more about our sense of humour, I’m sure you get the idea…