7 Steps for Successful Team Building Events


By: Dale Mask

Using team building exercises and events can help maximize team effectiveness. A well designed team building program can create better understanding, better communication, clearer direction, and greater motivation. Here are seven steps to follow to make your team building exercise or event a success:

1. Develop a Theme

To set the tone and purpose of the event, develop a theme to inspire the participants. Use motivational words. “Quarterly Team building Program” is not very motivational. Do not be afraid to use a little “hype” in your title, but be sure to target the purpose of the meeting or exercise. Here are some examples:

  • Targeting Team Success

  • Winning Together

  • Creating New Team Opportunities

  • Team-Power Launch

If possible, conduct the session off-site. Taking the event off-site is always a good method of getting people excited about the event. Plus, it minimizes distractions.

2. Get the Word Out 

Use your organization’s communication system, memos, bulletin boards etc. to create interest. Getting participants involved upfront is a great way to get people talking about the program and begin generating interest.

  • Consider using questionnaires filled out prior to the event and give results during the session.

  • Ask some of the participants to be in charge of a specific portion of the planning.

  • Ask some participants to give presentations within the program.

  • Ask some participants to create a sketch they will do at the event.

3. Create a Mix of Work and Play 

You may have sessions that will be considered hard work or sections that create some amount of tension or stress. Be sure to intersperse the sessions with team games, breaks, or other activities to get the team revitalized. You might also consider social activity, award sessions, and even bringing in outside entertainment.
     Be certain to follow lunches with activities as opposed to speeches or, worse yet, a film.

4. Process Information

Rather than packing the day with activities, allow some time after each activity for discussion and allowing participants to process the information they have been presented.

It is often important to use outsiders. When the information or training covered is a topic where your team does not have the expertise, bring in an outside consultant or trainer. 
When issues are controversial or relate to significant change, an outside expert can help. Sometimes the team member or organization employee will not be seen as a true subject matter expert, or is too close to the situation to be seen as truly objective. In either case, the participants are more likely to accept information as valid when it is facilitated by an outside expert.

5. Be Action Oriented

Focus on performance after the event. What will the team do differently as a whole? What will individual team members do differently?

Team members can collectively answer some basic but extremely important questions.

  • What will the team need to do more of? Less of?    

  • What will the team stop doing? Start doing?

Consensus is reached by the team and the commitment is presented to the team members at the end of the session.

Individual team members can make a commitment concerning their individual efforts to benefit the team by answering these questions.

  • What will I need to do more of? Less of?

  • What will I stop doing? Start doing?

The team members could express their commitment publicly at the end of the event. 

6. Reward Event Planners

Give recognition to people who gave major presentations and had a major role in the planning effort. Do not forget those who did behind-the-scenes work. Whether it is a bonus, plaque, or a small thoughtful gift, your effort to recognize them will be appreciated. Plus, it will help you get support for planning the next team building event.

7. Increase Event Impact

Take photographs and videos of activities during the session. You may decide to use a professional photographer for this, but it is certainly not necessary. In fact, some of the best photos are the more spontaneous ones often taken by participants. You might give each participant a “single-use” camera they can use during the event. They return the used camera and you process the photos.

Use the best photos on the bulletin board; use them in your newsletter; post them on your Internet site. You might even have the equipment to create and edit a video of your event to be shown at a later meeting or other occasion. Creating the video presentation could also be a fun project for one of the team members. 
Following these seven steps can ensure having a team building meeting that has high motivational impact. These steps can ensure there is significant improvement in team performance after the meeting.
By: Dale Mask

© 2015 Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.



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