How to Make The Most Out of Your Team Building Events
Team building events are vital for a productive, cohesive team!
Every team is made up of a group of individuals, all of whom have very unique personalities, preferences and quirks. They’re not going to automatically “gel” together just because you put them in a room and say “work together.” It’s going to take hard work for them to learn each other’s foibles, strengths, and weaknesses.
That’s where team building events come into play. We love using these events to help team members learn more about each other, encouraging understanding, harmony, and teamwork between the various players. If you want to have a truly strong, effective team, these events are an important part of the process.
But how can you ensure that your team members make the most of a team building event? How can you encourage them to use these team building events to form a strong bond of friendship and cohesion? It’s easier said than done, right?
Below, we have compiled a list of things you can do to help your team members make the most of a team building event:
Highlight their Value
It’s vital for each member of the team to feel like they truly belong. To make that happen, each person needs to know that you value them–but more importantly, WHY you value them-as part of the team.
How can you show them that you value them? Listen to them!
We like to plan team building events that aren’t just fun and games, but that can be brainstorming sessions and meetings where each member of the team has a chance to contribute to the project as a whole.
When they see their managers (you) writing down their ideas and taking them seriously, it will prove that you value them. The more they feel valued and validated, the more encouraged they will be to work hard and keep the team moving toward the project.
Our team building events focus on building up each member of the team, showing them that they truly do have a part to play in the team.
Reward the Team
When it comes down to it, we believe the best way to show people they are valued is by rewarding them. But there’s another benefit to giving your team a reward: it will bring them closer together!
There is a bond that your team members form when they are happy, relaxed, and enjoying themselves. Giving them a chance to kick back may seem like a pricey investment, but to your team, it’s a reward for their hard work.
As they enjoy the fruits of their labor, they will build happy memories. Those happy memories will involve their team members, and thus that “happy sense memory” will be triggered when they see the members of their team.
Rewarding your team members is so much more than just a good way to show them you appreciate their hard work. We recommend awesome ideas like group vacations, weekend getaways, or just a simple day of fun and games. They’re perfect for restoring morale, but they will also form a bond between your team members. It’s a win-win!
Change the Environment
If you want to make the most of a team building event, it’s vital that you get away from the environment where your team works every day. They already associate that environment with work, challenges, difficulties, and frustrations. To really promote team harmony and cohesion, you have to put them in a new environment, one free of those negative memories and emotions.
Why else do you think all our team building events take place outside the offices? The moment your team members step inside the office, they are flooded with that feeling of working hard, stress, being tired, and overwhelmed by challenges of work. It will be all but impossible for them to focus on building a team.
That’s why we like to get your team out of their natural habitat and go somewhere new! Anywhere will work – from an underground event venue to a countryside mansion to the middle of the forest.
All that matters is that your team is outside of their normal environment, and thus free of the negative mental associations and emotions that they have formed in their workspace. Being away from the office is the best way to free up mind-space for new emotions and associations – such as happiness, cohesion, and harmony.
Get Everyone Involved
How can you build a team if not everyone on the team is there? It certainly won’t work, not unless everyone participates!
Make no mistake: many people will actively dread the team-building exercises and events. They’ve attended more than their fair share of them, and they’ve been through the “same old” activities a dozen times. It’s a challenge we and you will have to overcome, but it’s vital for the success of your team.
That’s why we make the team building events fresh and new each time. If we do the “same old” thing every time, your team members will be less willing to participate. By changing it up, we encourage maximum participation. After all, most people will try something at least once.
But you have a role to play as well: you have to make participation mandatory. Make sure that everyone knows that they must participate! We ensure the activities include everyone. The “bonding” only works between the people who engage!
Play to Each Member’s Strengths
This is one of the important elements we ALWAYS remember when planning team building events!
Everyone likes to feel like they are good or “better than others” at something. Chances are, there IS something that each member of your team excels at. To encourage everyone to actively take part in the event, we have to play to each of your members’ strengths.
What does this mean? It means planning activities where each person has a chance to lead or to showcase their skills, activities that highlight the skills and talents of each individual team member. For example:
- If you have highly analytical team members, we present them with a logic puzzle to solve.
- If you have good communicators, we give them a conflict resolution challenge.
- If you have qualified leaders, we let them prove themselves capable of leading their team through a physical or professional obstacle.
Find out what each of your team members’ strengths are and we’ll help you find a way to highlight them. It will make them feel valued, and will encourage them to participate in the team building events.
The whole purpose of these team building events is to encourage your team members to bond with each other. All of the activities we plan revolve around this. Here are a few examples of activities that can promote bonding:
- Write down a list of crazy questions to ask each other, and take turns answering.
- Spend five to 10 minutes learning as much as possible about another person, and fill out a questionnaire about them and their lives.
- Play 20 questions or “Who Am I?”
- Plan a potluck dinner, and have each member of your team bring their favourite food or signature dish.
- Rent a paintball field and have each department take on the others.
These are just a few ways to help your team members get to know each other better, but there are many more. There is no “right” activity to help your team bond, but we’ll help you find the one that works best for your specific team.
All that matters is that the team building event encourages a greater understanding among your team members. How you do that is entirely up to you!
Make it a Challenge
Nothing brings people together like a common enemy! If you want to form a closer bond between the members of your team, challenge them.
In some cases, it can work to pit members of your team against each other. You can plan activities like:
- Athletic challenges
- Sports matches
However, the best scenario would be to give your team a challenge that they will have to face together. For example:
- Laser tag
- Treasure Hunt/Scavenger Hunt
- Obstacle courses
These challenges force them to work together to outwit or defeat another team, promoting a bond that is only formed “in the trenches”. They can also be a whole lot of fun!
Not every event has to be fully organized and packed with activities. Sometimes, that can actually be counter-productive!
The best way for your team to bond is to talk with each other, as that will help them to learn more about the people they work with. To encourage conversation, we like to plan activities that promote mingling and interaction, such as:
- Wine and cheese night
- Karaoke night
- Potluck dinner
- and the list goes on!
Don’t worry if the team-building event isn’t jam-packed with activities, challenges, and team-building games. Sometimes it’s better just to let nature take its course. People are naturally inclined to bond–all you have to do is put them in an environment where they are relaxed!
Try the New and Unusual
Many people will hear about team building exercises and groan, thinking “Not again!” To avoid this, we like change things up and go for something new? Instead of the “same old”, try something fresh and unique, like:
- Taking a day-long road trip out of London
- Going on a field trip to a museum, art gallery, or exhibition
- Sharing a meal together at the restaurant of your team’s choice
- Attending a sports event
- Having a day to play sports together
- Volunteering !
All of these activities are out of the norm, and can be a fun, unique way to form a closer bond between your team members.
In the end, it is only the outcome that matters: team cohesion and harmony. How you reach that desired outcome is entirely up to you. We’ll help you get creative with your team building events, and it will bring your team members closer together in a brand new way.
What do you think about these tips to make the most of a team building event? Have any more that you think would work to build harmony between team members? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think…