Event Planners: Put a Spin on Boring Outings with Ping Pong


Your office mates may love their jobs but one thing they’re less likely to love is staring at the same four walls day in and day out. A change of scenery is not only good practice, it’s practically expected in a lively and active city such as Chicago. Networking opportunities abound in Chicago’s metropolitan area, and the Loop is a popular gathering spot. So where to take the team for a much-needed jolt of energy?

There’s the standard bar outing for happy hour specials on drinks and appetizers. That’s been done to death though, hasn’t it? You can go wild and trek up to the observation deck of a skyscraper or seek out a rooftop bar. But aside from the view, it’s kind of the same old, same old: Chat with your colleagues, grab a beverage, snack on some avocado dip and then call it a night. Not that there’s anything wrong with avocado, but you know how it goes.

Predictability in event planning is kind of defeating the purpose. If you’re looking to make a change and leave a lasting impression, then you need a space with dynamic activities. Here’s the challenge: what kind of activity is conducive to jovial networking and can be performed in business attire? Ping pong is the ideal fit.

Ping Pong is Inherently Social

This is not a solo game. There’s no candy to crush. You line up against your opponent, anticipate their movements, get inside their head with a bit of trash talk (optional, of course), and then exchange a polite ‘Good game’ and handshake after the match is over. That’s the good sportsman’s take, anyway. You can be surly about the outcome if you choose, but don’t expect to be invited back onto the table after a display of grumpiness. It’s just a game after all. Don’t fret about it too much.

Burn Off Calories 

Tennis players cover about 3 miles over the course of a match. If that sounds like a daunting task for your post-work social then keep in mind the game is also called table tennis. It’s like tennis, only smaller. So you’re not covering marathon distances but you’re certainly covering more ground than you would just shuffling back and forth to the bar. Your heart will thank you for a little mild cardio to cap off your work week.

Don’t Kill Time — Slow Down Time

Combining new experiences and breaking routine does wonders for your social life. But variety also has an impact on your brain chemistry. If you do something out of the ordinary then you’re forging new pathways into your brain’s tangle of neurons and memories. These new encounters stand out as especially memorable since you’re not used to repeating them with the same frequency as your morning commute, your weekly status meeting, your typical happy hour spot, and so on. Playing the game of ping pong itself might be old hat, but playing in exciting surroundings with great music, good folks, and unique food and beverage is an experience worth remembering.