NFIB Communications Retreat was GREAT.

The NFIB Communications retreat in Boca was excellent. While we really didn't get to see much more than the hotel, we did get to spend time with the DC communications team and the five regional media people (who we rarely get to see face-to-face). Good stuff.

Wednesday, 11/17:
Wednesday night we had an open bar, a yummy dinner and then we all went bowling. What a hoot! AND...believe it or not (with no help from me...my score was 68) my team won overall! ROCK.

Thursday, 11/18:
We had information / communication sessions all day to talk about the plans for 2005. We also got to see the plans for upcoming research. Good stuff. With the exception of a new media person being a little negative and disruptive, the day went well.

Then, Susan (VP of Communications) gave us a cool team building assignment that was due on Friday. She divided us into "Apprentice" teams to make 'faux' NFIB awareness commercials. Each team was given a prop budget of $60, an outline of rules and a video camera to shoot the spot. And, like the show, each team elected a project manager (me...whooohooo!) and created a name for their "business." We were Risky Business Productions.

Most people hadn't planned to have to work on something Thursday night...so there was a little dissention in the ranks at first. But, once we settled on a concept, everyone figured out the plan and specific tasks were assigned to each team member, things went a little smoother.

Our concept: Go ahead...Take the plunge! Join NFIB.

Most everyone on our team was able to go out Thursday night while four of us stayed behind to write the script. We finished writing at around Midnight or so. Then, everyone went to their rooms and I went to the business center to type up the script and create a shot sheet. (This whole exercise made me miss TV terribly.) It was crazy, but I ended up not getting to sleep until 2 a.m. Craziness.

Friday, 11/19:
The Risky Business Team met at 7 a.m. to walk through the script, determine prop needs and finalize tasks. At around 7:30 we broke to get things ready to shoot at 9 a.m.

Basically, Erin (DC media guru) volunteered to "take the plunge" in our hotel pool. The script talked about how she was living the American Dream by owning her own business. However, until she got into it, she hadn't realized all the pitfalls (taxation, regulations, etc.) of owning a business. She joined NFIB to have a voice for small business. The whole time the script is talking about this, we are showing a tight shot of clothes being dropped onto a pile near the pool. (no skin...yet.) At the end of the spot you see Erin in her bathing suit as she runs and jumps into the pool. "Go ahead...Take the plunge! Join NFIB."

We had a blast pulling it all together. Erin deserves an Emmy for her performance!

A 11 a.m. we met up with the other team in the meeting rooms to watch each others spots. Of course both teams ended up using the pool as the setting. Their concept was about "drowning in government regulations" and their "small businesses were on main street not Wall Street." Both turned out pretty well. Susan (otherwise known as "The Donna") declared the effort a "tie" and everyone is getting "You're Hired" T-shirts from "Apprentice."

Most of us had 2 p.m. flights back to Nashville on Friday, so we all hopped in our rental cars and headed to the airport in Ft. Lauderdale. I was home by 7 p.m. and asleep by 8:15. Didn't wake-up until 8 a.m. on Saturday. I was WIPED OUT.

Overall, it was a great trip.
Feels good to be home.

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