You can plan ahead by weeks or even months for your activity, but none of that will matter if you botch the actual team building itself.
Here at Outback Team Building & Training, we provide corporate groups with experienced Event Coordinators to run their activities, anywhere in North America. These professionals are trained to make sure everything goes according to plan, all the logistics are covered, and the participants are excited and engaged.
But what if you want to run your own activity? Maybe you’re trying one of our self-hosted budget activities, or maybe you’re working by yourself to plan an event that’s just for your team. No worries! Keep reading for tips and tricks that can help make anyone seem like they’re a professional Event Coordinator.
Here are 10 things our team of professional Event Coordinators always make sure they do on the day of an activity.
On the day of your event, you’ll want to arrive at the venue nice and early to make sure everything is in order, and to set up any props or decorations. How early depends on what type of team building activity you’re doing, how large your group size is, and what type of venue your event is being hosted at. In general though, you’ll want to get there at least one to three hours before your group is scheduled to arrive.
When you’re setting up, make sure to check the space to confirm that all the items you need are there. Keep an eye out for special meeting amenities you might need, such as microphones, projectors, or other audio-visual equipment. You should also take this time to meet up with any other event organizers and see if they have any last-minute problems or concerns.
As attendees arrive, you’ll want to welcome them and get everyone organized for the event. Having a sign-in sheet is a great way to keep track of who is ready to start, and will help you know if anyone is missing.
Before the event begins, you might also want to distribute nametags, hand out event information packets, show attendees where they can wait, and meet with any volunteers to go over final details.
Depending on the activity, you may require some kind of official record of permission from participants. Signed waivers can allow you to film the activity, take photos during the challenges, or highlight any potential risks that might come with participating.
To help make sure everyone signs their waivers, you should distribute them right before the event begins. This also gives participants an opportunity to ask any questions they might have before things get started.
The vast majority of activities require large groups to split down into smaller teams. You may wish to let participants choose their own teams, but this runs the risk of having people group up with coworkers they’re already familiar with. A better tactic is to randomly assign teams, or purposefully mix up employees based on their different personalities or departments.
How big should the individual teams be? Research done by the Harvard Business Review indicates that the most effective size is between four to seven people. But of course, you’ll want to decide on a number that makes sense for both your overall group size and the type of activity you’re participating in.
Going straight into a team building activity can be too much for some groups, especially if you’ve already had other intense business sessions or meetings in the same room. Instead, you might want to try some warm-up exercises or icebreakers to create the right type of “team building” atmosphere. These should be fast and quick games that get people to loosen up, have a few laughs, and help break any tension that might be in the room.
For some ideas, check out our free downloadable guide: 10 Free Team Building Games You Can Set Up in 10 Minutes or Less.
When you’re finally ready to start, you’ll want to kick things off with an opening speech. This can help set the tone for the event, lay out any goals for the day, deliver the instructions for participants, and explain the rules of the activity.
For example, you may want to start out by saying something like this:
“Hello everyone and thank you for joining us. We have a very exciting activity planned for you today! Are you ready to have some fun?
Today, teams will be competing in a series of challenges by submitting answers through a smartphone app in the form of fun videos, photos, text, and/or trivia responses. The challenges require teamwork, communication skills, problem solving, creativity, and the ability to strategize to succeed.
Time is of the essence – to get started, here is what you’ll have to do…”
It may sound counterintuitive, but encouraging a little bit of friendly competition during your team building activity can help make it much more exciting and engaging for participants. For example, if you were running a Team Pursuit activity, you could project the leaderboard at the front of the room so everyone could see the points that they’re accumulating.
Other strategies for encouraging competition include playing high-energy music, shouting words of encouragement during the challenges, and offering special prizes for winning teams.
Once the team building event is underway, try to take as many photos or videos of the action as you can. If groups are going to be in multiple locations during your activity, you can ask key individuals on each team to take pictures along the way.
This multimedia will be a great way to share and remember the experience, keep the team building buzz going, and extend the morale boost from the event. For example, you could send the photos out in a follow-up email to all participants, share them on your organization’s social media feeds, or use them to promote future team building activities.
Depending on the activity, you may want to award medals or prizes to the top performing teams. Even if the awards are nothing more than homemade prizes or plastic medals, they can still help motivate every participant to try their best. And, of course, they also come with bragging rights!
To help make things less competitive, you can also award medals and prizes for teams who succeed in more non-traditional ways. For example, you could reward the most creative team, or the team who made the biggest comeback, or the team with the best cheer.
At the end of the activity, you’ll want to announce any winners and give a closing speech thanking everyone for their participation. This can be a great opportunity to ask employees if they learned anything along the way and whether they have any stories from their team that they’d like to share.
For example, you may want to end off by saying something like this:
“I wanted to say thank you to all the teams for participating! It was great watching you all work together to complete the challenges as quickly as possible. Did everyone have a great time?
Today, one team went above and beyond to complete the most challenges. Will that team please come up here to join me and accept your prizes?
That being said, I wanted to offer a big congratulations to everyone here today. You all did a phenomenal job, and really showed some great collaboration and communication skills along the way. I look forward to seeing you put some of these skills to use back in the workplace. Thank you again, and I hope everyone has a great rest of the day!”
For more tips and tricks on planning your team building activity, check out our free downloadable resource, The Ultimate Guide to Team Building. And if you want to have one of our professional Event Coordinators come in and do all of this work for you, get in touch for your free consultation.
“Everything was hassle-free and fit the budget and objective of our team building event. It was easy to work with Outback. I received timely responses and I liked that they contacted me ready with options for our group. — SunPower Corporation