When most business people think of a corporate business event, they most likely envision suits and ties and the hustle and bustle of Times Square in New York City. The last thing they expect is bits of childhood nostalgia interwoven throughout.

So, it was a pleasant surprise when attendees of Destinations International’s Annual Convention entered Exhibit Hall A and found puppies waiting to be played with. They energized the crowd and helped to break down barriers between them.

Employing aspects of children’s birthday parties may sound strange, but as the puppies’ success shows, they can create an upbeat environment in the corporate events world. You might want to consider implementing popular strategies to give your event an extra dose of fun.

Color It All

Muted-color palettes are in right now, and they’ve become a staple within the meetings world. But bursting through the brown and beige with colors that make a splash at a birthday party can liven up any event. Whether you’re bringing out the bright blue seats at the banquet or a purple couch at an exhibit, it will draw the attention of attendees.

Magic in the Air

You’ll find live music at most events you attend at one point or another. And that’s absolutely fine—except it doesn’t make your entertainment stand out. Penn and Teller’s “Fool Us” invites amateur magicians to try and fool two of the best magicians in the business—and occasionally succeed. You might add one to your next event during downtime.

Game Time

Friendly competition never hurt anyone. Classic multiplayer games will be a hit and bring out attendees’ inner child. Set up a pingpong table or an air hockey station where guests can challenge one another. Not only is it a way to get adrenaline pumping—it can also lead to networking during the post-game handshake. San Francisco’s venue, Spin, taps into this, featuring 19 pingpong tables and the capability of holding up to 600 guests—perfect for larger events.

Themed Foods

The best part of every birthday is the food—pizza and cake are staples. But this may not be realistic, unless you’re hosting a smaller meeting. For large events, create a theme for the food. Whether it’s sprinkles decorating cupcakes and ice cream at the dessert buffet or colorful vegetables coming together for a burst of flavor at dinner, picking foods that look enjoyable will convince attendees that they are truly delicious.