12 Ways to Fit Team Building into Your Next Conference, Seminar, or Full-Day Meeting

| Meetings, Team Building


Team building can make refreshing addition to a busy day of meetings. Whether you’ve got a lot of time to work with or just a little bit, here’s how you can easily fit it into your schedule.

Meetings are a vital part of any successful organization. Not only are they a great way to bring employees together, but they also provide a forum to exchange ideas, strategize, and discuss objectives. Whether you have a conference, full-day meeting, seminar, or annual retreat, some of the many reasons why meetings take place include: 

  • Providing an opportunity for learning and improvement
  • Kicking-off the start of a new fiscal year or celebrating the end of one 
  • Discussing any changes that impact employees and the company at large 
  • The launch of a new product 
  • Having remote employees meet and get to know each other better  

But while these events are important and valuable, sometimes they can take a toll. Drawn-out meeting days and packed schedules can make employees feel tired, burnt out, and distracted. In fact, research from the Muse found that executives view more than 67% of meetings as failures and that unproductive meetings waste more than $37 billion per year. Plus, the data also says that 69% of attendees check their email during meetings, which means they’re not very engaged with what’s happening right in front of them. 

That’s why team building can be a worthwhile addition to a busy day of meetings, whether your group participates in a quick icebreaker or a longer activity in the middle of the day. It helps make your meeting more effective by providing a refreshing break for your colleagues and address a variety of elements like collaboration that are key to employee engagement. No matter how packed your schedule is, you can easily fit team building into it. Here are 12 ways how: 

  1. Participate in a Team Building Activity to Officially Commence Your Meeting: Whether you’re at an annual retreat, kick-off meeting, conference, or seminar, a team building activity can start things off on a positive note and leave colleagues feeling energized in preparation for the rest of their day or weekend ahead. If you’re at a meeting for multiple days, you can even use it as a fun way to begin each day.


  2. Make it an Added Social Feature for the Entire Duration of the Meeting: Sometimes, with a packed schedule, there isn’t much time for colleagues to get to know each other on a social level. Smartphone activities like Getting to Know You or Team Pursuit can help bridge that gap and encourage socialization by being paused and resumed, extending over a few days and fitting in where it’s feasible. This allows colleagues to participate whenever they can, be it over breakfast or into the evening. It’s also a great way for groups to mix and mingle.


  3. Help Remote Employees Get Acquainted: If employees who work remotely are flying into the meeting from out of town, team building can help them get acquainted with their colleagues in-person and get to know each other better. An activity like Wild Goose Chase can encourage your group to collaborate and communicate in a variety of ways by teaming up and tackling entertaining challenges.


  4. Explore Your Destination with an Exciting Scavenger Hunt: Whether you’re in your hometown or visiting another city for your meeting, you can get out and explore the area with an interactive scavenger hunt, if weather permits. One like The Amazing Chase includes challenges that are built around your specific location, so, along with engaging in a little friendly competition with your colleagues, the activity can also serve as a unique and high-energy tour guide!


  5. Do it Over Lunch: An easy and effective way to fit team building into your schedule is by simply integrating it into your lunch break. Take that time as an opportunity to connect and collaborate with your colleagues on a deeper level. Plus, it doesn’t keep the team off the meeting floor for too long. You can do an indoor activity like Code Break right at the restaurant table.


  6. Re-Energize and Refresh in Between Meetings: Team building can be a nice breath of fresh air in between long meetings – especially when you actually get outside! Check out our selection of outdoor activities for a variety of ideas, such as the feel-good charitable scavenger hunt Random Acts of Kindness or a more hands-on activity like Cardboard Boat Build Building ChallengeIf you’d prefer an indoor optionMinute to Win It, which consists of fun, 60-second challenges, is a great way to get a jolt of energy.


  7. Use it as a Transition Between Sessions: A couple quick icebreakers can nicely split up a busy afternoon and the good news is that it doesn’t have to take long to get to know your teammates. At Outback’s own annual Summit, for example, we engaged in a round of Colleague Connections both before breaking for lunch and then after coming back. In the activity, employees spend five-minute intervals one-on-one with their colleagues asking questions designed to help them learn more about each other. Then, employees switch to meet with a different colleague. It served as a great break and helped us ease into the next portion of our day.


  8. When Your Group is Traveling Between Venues: If different parts of your meeting are being held at different locations – and especially if they’re walking distance from one another – you can use your traveling time as an opportunity to do outdoor team building. One like Urban Fear Factor, which encourages your group to get out of their comfort zones through daring challenges, can also integrates your location into the activity.


  9. Really Short on Time? Make it an Express Activity: Not much time available? No problem. At Outback, we offer express versions of some of our top activities. So, if you have a 30- to 60-minute timeslot in your schedule that nothing else can really fit into, these types of activities provide an opportunity to do something quick, fun, and engaging with your colleagues.


  10. During an Off-Site Dinner: If your group is having dinner together at a restaurant, an interactive activity like Clue Murder Mystery can be a fantastic accompaniment. It’s a great way to have fun and socialize as a team, while putting your heads together in order to figure out who committed a deadly crime. Played through our smartphone app and with minimal set-up (just some case files and audio/video recordings to analyze evidence), it’s an easy addition to your evening.


  11. Combine Team Building and Training: If your meeting is covering some professional development elements, you can always do a team building activity that focuses on some of those skills. That way, you can blend your meeting agenda with your activity. An activity like our Corporate Escape Rooms would be great in this instance because they emphasize collaboration, communication, and creative problem-solving within groups.


  12. Wrap Up Your Meeting in a Fun Way: A team building activity can be used to celebrate the end of a successful meeting and reinforce all the positives that you gained and connections you made along the way. You can try a philanthropic event like Hardware Harmony, where you use tools and hardware to make music before donating the items to charity. Or, you can try something collaborative such as Bridge Builders, which has groups create a functional and free-standing bridge.

Want More Expert Advice on How to Fit Team Building into Your Schedule? 

For more ideas on where team building activities can fit in your conference, seminar, or full-day meeting, just get in touch with our knowledgeable Employee Engagement Consultants.   


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Team Leader
2 years ago

 These are some of the best ways to fit team building into the next conference or a meeting. I will share this article with my leader, and I hope he’ll read this and give it a try.