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We’ve all been there, we’ve attended traditional conferences with traditional speakers who, you guessed it, give their presentations from a traditional PowerPoint. And all of this is fine! But it’s just that.

As companies we want our presentations to be life-changing and extraordinary and for the teams to take away tools to be more productive.

In this podcast, I chat with Angela Proffitt all about interactive team building, unity and engagement through use of rhythm and the value of offering an experience for your team.

People don’t always remember what you say but they will always remember how you make them feel.


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How exactly does a group event work when participants are separated by distance?

Drumming the Distance is not new to us – here’s how we did it in six remote sites simultaneously.

The Federal Reserve approached us because they wanted to do an all-hands meeting and that had 200 participants in the Atlanta Federal Reserve Office plus five other smaller offices in a variety of other places including Florida & North Carolina.

We began by coordinating drums to be sent to all locations and arranging AV connections between the six locations. A person in each location was in charge of the video conferencing equipment and was there to make sure that the AV ran smoothly, and the sound worked and the visuals worked.

We took all the 200 people who were in the Federal Reserve Building and we put them in the canteen. We had set up the canteen with a drum on every chair.

At the back of the room was a large video screen and on that video screen, there were five different blocks. Each block represented one of the other offices.

We started the event in Atlanta and all the other locations started at exactly the same time, so we had a rhythmic connected, real-time opening.

Each one of them heard me perfectly clearly, heard my team, and the music coming from the Atlanta office perfectly clearly.

I engaged with each one of those five offices by going into the audience and speaking directly to them via the screen because they could all see me and I could see them.

I would integrate each group with a drum roll welcome for each office, bringing them into the engagement so that they felt completely part of the engagement, as did those people who were sitting in Atlanta.


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“Diversity” and “inclusion” are two of the top buzzwords in many organizations as part of an initiative to broaden horizons and create a more supportive and positive corporate culture and environment. 

“Diversity and Inclusion” means so much more than having multiple ethnicities, nationalities, and languages present within an organization – while representing the different tribes of the world certainly is one aspect of diversity, the key element to the inclusion part of the equation is recognizing the benefits of having unique perspectives and input to pull from. The organization that acknowledges having differing opinions, voices, and styles as an asset will be more effective at vetting ideas and strategies than a company too fearful to deviate from the norm. Transform your organization and make your team more effective with these simple steps: 

  1. Re-define diversity. In today’s rapidly changing and interconnected world, it’s important to realize that the concept of diversity in the workplace extends beyond the traditional sense of gender, socio-economic background, race, and age–having a smorgasbord of ideas, skill sets, languages, ideas, and styles is very important to an organization. Not every person’s wheelhouse should or needs to be the same; in fact, it’s better if there are a variety of different strengths, adaptable to the endless possibilities of situations and challenges that may arise at any given moment. 
  2. Be self-aware. Think honestly of what is informing any negative preconceptions or assumptions of others–more likely than not it is individual fear and vulnerability. The first step to embracing diversity and becoming a more inclusive and supportive organization is for each member to overcome those fears by recognizing their importance within the team, and then making the conscious choice to be open rather afraid of newness and difference. 
  3. Champion change. Change and flux within an organization are often perceived as negative, when they should be viewed as agents of positive transformation—an opportunity for personal and collective growth. Innovation does not thrive in environments that support sameness and groupthink. Innovation is born from a respectful exchange of ideas among individuals whose contributions are informed by their unique experiences and backgrounds. 

The final and most important characteristic of being a diverse and inclusive team is celebrating and showing appreciation and respect for the differences that make your group unique. This is the ingredient that will elevate your organization to the next level and allow you to truly work together without walls. The Drum Cafe North America team often references the word UBUNTU, meaning, “I am because you are,” and it perfectly embodies this concept. UBUNTU honors the beauty of difference and shows gratitude for others’ contributions and the part they play in shaping our own experience. 

If you are ready to break down the barriers that may be hindering your team, incorporate UBUNTU into your company philosophy and champion the change you wish to see in your organization. Fast forward to February 2020 where we will be celebrating Black History Month—it’s the perfect time to kick things off with one of Drum Cafe North America’s custom Diversity and Inclusion programs. 


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The power of drumming to reinforce a message is rooted in the non-verbal, experiential, immersive journey taken by each drumming participant. The barriers of language and culture are by-passed and the ancient physical human form is embraced, awakening the senses so often dulled by modern workstation life. At our team building events, just passing out the percussion instruments sparks a sense of wonder and play. But then, of course, the real learning begins.

Here are Drum Cafe North America’s 3 Benefits of Drumming as a Team Building Solution:

  • Fosters a sense of community and belonging 

In this way, we use drumming and rhythm as a means to create bonds between us, to build trust incrementally and to demonstrate kinesthetically, that every member of every team or division has a unique contribution to make in achieving overall success. All our corporate and educational programming is designed to spark unity and engagement – to enhance and harness the POWER of ONE team.

  • Increases & encourages awareness/ active listening

Each participant is given their own distinct rhythm – their own voice. Performed separately at first, each group declares themselves, distinguishing the tone and groove of their sound.  The sounds are all so different and the challenge is to create both sonic and rhythmic harmony.  

Ears are fully engaged. Deep listening is required to enter the exchange of balanced play that creates true complementary integration. The room vibrates within minutes.  Anyone who doubted that they could fully participate in a complex system of collaboration was persuaded otherwise. Making music together encourages us to be sensitive and intuitive of all “voices” around us.

  • Decreases stress 

Many of our clients bring our programs in because they recognize that stress is a shared burden.  They understand that stress reduces our ability to work effectively with other people and thus affects productivity. But even beyond impacting productivity, stress breeds imbalance. And when there’s an imbalance, progress is severely compromised.

Drum Café North America’s programs might just last an hour or two each time we visit, but what’s remarkable about drumming is its uncanny ability to stay with us long after we play. Again, it goes back to our bodies as resonators, deeply connecting to the drum itself and to the sound of many people drumming together. 

For more information on the team building programs we offer, contact us here!