Starting a Team Building Session

How we start off a team building session is important. Starting off a team building session on the right note allows participants to “break the ice” with one another, get an idea of what the session is about and ideally get introduced to the main concept of the activities or discussions that follow. Below are some ways you can kick off a team building session or simply to improve your team building skill.

1) Using a short video

Using a short video that represents the concepts that our about to reinforce can capture the attention and imagination of the audience. With the wifi, 3G or even 4G connection, you can easily find interesting clips on YouTube, Youku and Metacafe, you can easily find short video clips on motivation, leadership, team building and even clips on the corporate values of well known corporations. Ideally, the video should not be too long, between 5-10mins or some participants who have had not enough rest might start dozing off.

2) Starting With an Ice Breaker 

Ice breakers or short team building activities are a great way to start off a team building session, meeting or even training. Here are a few short ice breakers you may consider:

a) Make this amount
Get participants to take out their loose change to form specific amounts of money like $2.95 or $3.55 or $0.45. The team with the correct amount should bring the money to a specifc person in the room and you should specify how many correct entries you will be taking. this activity drives home the simple point that “together we can achieve”.

b) Trivial Competition
Interesting facts about interesting or famous people, animals, plants or even insects can get the instant attention of the audience at a meeting. You may also try to start a mini-competition among the teams so the participants’ senses will be heightened and they will be open to concepts that you are trying to reinforce.

i) Colonel Sanders (of KFC fame) held odd jobs like being a steamboat pilot, insurance salesman, railroad fireman, and farmer before starting a restaurant in Kentucky. He started the franchise business after his restaurant failed at the age of 65.

ii) In the animal kingdom, predators that work together like lions, african wild dogs and killer whales have much better success rates at catching preys compared to those that do not. In fact, African wild dogs have a success rate 50% because they take turns to lead the team when chasing prey.

iii) 30 giant hornets can wipe out 30,000 European honey bees and plunder their hive for larvae and honey within a few hours. Japanese honey bees have developed a defense against this by killing the scout of the giant honey bee through team work.

c) Electric Current
You will need a big coin for this activity. Split the participants into 2 teams, get them to join hands and close their eyes with exception of the first person. Tell the participants that the con represents a switch and identify which side is “on” and which is “off”. As you toss the coin, the first team member will decide if the coin is “on” or “off” and if it is on, they will squeeze the hand of their “blind” team member.

The “blind” members will simply pass the current down to the last person can stand up, raise his hand or shout out a slogan loudly. First team with the last member completing that action wins a point. This activity shows that in order for a team to function well, every team member is important. If there is a spot where the “current” cannot pass through, then the action cannot be completed.

Indoor Ice Breaker

3) Engaging the audience in an exercise
The following exercise is called “High & Low”, it is a very interesting exercise that I picked up while attending an NLP course conducted by Brad Greentree of Tad James and Company in Australia (i’m not sure if he or Tad James or neither of them invented this but I did learnt it from them).

Being an NLP course, this activity drives home the point that “your thinking affects your behaviour”. It proves it to them (or at least most of them).

Ask the participants to close their eyes and imagine that  a large helium balloon is tied to their left hand and their right hand is carrying a heavy load. Gradually increase the weight of the heavy load and the size of the helium balloon (or number of balloons). After a while, you will see the left hand of the participants rising up and the right hand of the participants sinking down. This is based on the simple truth that our brain controls our body functions and if we imagine something or believe something enough, our body will act it out as if it is real. Do take note that this activity will work 100% of the time ONLY on participants that will follow your instructions.

4) Telling a Story
People love to hear stories. Good stories, that is, and told in an interesting and meaningful way. Many good team building trainers are excellent story tellers. Good story telling skills come with practice. A good story teller can use a few technique to engage the participants.

Metaphors are stories that help us understand a moral or value in an unintimidating way. A good example is the story of “The Tortoise and The Hare” – tells us that arrogance can be a stumbling block if we are not careful. “Three Little Pigs” help us understand from a young age that it is good to be hardworking. We all know that tortoises and hares do not race one another in real life and pigs don’t build houses but precisely because the characters are not real, our minds are put in a “pretend mode”. In NLP, this is called “suspended disbelieve” it happens all the time when we are watching movies. It is shown that in this mode, our brains are more open to new ideas and concepts. This is the reason why corporations (and sometimes governments) pay huge sums of moneys to get product placements in popular moives.

An interesting case is in “Pirates of Carribean: At World’s End”, Sao Feng (played by Chow Yun-Fat) makes mention of a particular country. Ever wondered why did the director or script writer choose that country out of all the countries in the world? Some speculate that it was a paid endorsement and what a smart way to get the world’s attention (if it was indeed an endorsement)!

We trust this article has given you a few interesting ways of starting your team building session or meeting and engaging your audience in a meaningful way.

 

More Team Building Venue Options

Here are a few more team building venues that with price range between S$50++ to S$98++ that you may consider.

Many of our indoor team programmes can be easily deployed at this venue (at additional charges). For example:

a) Brains, Brawn and Bucks – a indoor game show adapted from Dr Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory
b) Wheel of Chaos – a hilarious team bonding sabotage game show
c) Paramount Conquest – a leadership strategic planning real-time board game
d) Restaurateur – our leadership, customer service & team building game.

1) Furama City Center @Eu Tong Sen Street

Furama City Center is a convenient meeting venue as it is located within 300m of Clarke Quay MRT Station and Chinatown MRT station. There is also a Hong Lim Park nearby which can be considered for outdoor activities.

Our team has also run many “Cultural Races” around that area (Chinatown, Bugis, LIttle India) with our clients through an adapted “Synergy Race” a highly popular team building activity which we have run at least 500 times at the time of this post since 2003.

Furama City Center is able to host 18 pax group size, as well as 500 pax in cluster style seating, making it  one of the few venues in Singapore that can host large group sizes. Half-day seminar packages start from S$62++ and full day packages start from S$70++ per pax.

FCC

 

 

Address: 60 Eu Tong Sen Street Singapore 059804. Contact: +65 6533 3888

2) Clifton Training Facilities @Robinson Road

Clifton Training Facilities is located right inside town area along Robinson Road. Initially popular with computer training, with the recent increase in rental, they have been very successful in attracting other clients who do not have enough meeting rooms or training facilities.

Clifton Training Facilities is a well known international brand. Their seminar rooms in Singapore are well equipped and professionally run. Highly recommended if you want a venue that is within town. Full day seminar packages for 10 persons start from S$98++ per pax. Maximum capacity is 60 pax in cluster seating.

clifton

Address: 108 Robinson Road Level 11 The Finexis Building Singapore 06890. Contact: +65 6591 7999

3) D’Kranji Farm Resort @Lim Chu Kang

If you are looking for a team bonding venue that is extraordinary, you may want to consider D’Kranji Farm Resort. With interesting team bonding activities like prawn fishing and farm tours, it’s as if you have just flown yourself a few hundred kilometers to a country side resort. Of course if you are looking for team building activities, we will be happy to assist you with it.

Many of our outdoor team building and indoor team building programmes will fit nicely at this interesting venue.

 

Address: 10 Neo Tiew Lane 2 #01-05, Singapore 718813. Contact: +65 6898 9228

 

 

 

Mid Range Team Building Seminar Venues

The following seminar packages are priced between S$50++ to S$80++ per pax for full day options.

1) The Chevrons @Jurong East

It was previously called “SAF Warrant Officers Mess” and located at Beach Road. Since moving to Boon Lay Way in October 2001, it has become a popular entertainment center in the west. Among other facilities for its SAF Warrant Officers and Specialists, it also has a KTV, Bowling Alley, restaurants and even Chalets if you wish to spend the night with your colleagues.

Seminar packages start from $50++ for half-day and $62++ for full day. Their minimum group size is 20 persons.

Chev1  Chev2

Address: 48 Boon Lay Way Singapore 609961. Contact: 6668 8865 / 67 / 68 / 69 / 70.

2) Orchid Country Club @Yishun

Orchid Country Club is located in Yishun (in the northern part of Singapore). It is not exactly the most conveniently located but it does have fairly frequent shuttle service to and from Yishun MRT station.

It also has a function room that can host up to 350 people at one time and smaller rooms that can take group sizes from 30 persons onwards. The seminar package prices are competitively price at S$58++ and S$68++ for half-day and full day options, respectively.

occ

Address:

1 Orchid Club Road Singapore 769162. Contact: +65 6750 2166.

3) SAFRA Mt Faber (@Telok Blangah Way)

SAFRA Mt Faber is located in the western central part of singapore, near Mt Faber (technically near the foot of Mount Faber). Safra Mt Faber is a fairly new club and it has a ballroom with 300 pax capacity. Its minimum group size is 20 persons.

We will like to make a special mention that SAFRA Mt Faber also houses “Pioneer Spring Restaurant” which has a 4.5-star rating on the foodies site, “hungrygowhere.com” as well as the celebrity chain restaurant which serves decent Thai fushion food, Porn’s. There is also another Japanese restaurant, Himawari. So you will be spoilt for choice if you are considering having dinner there after a full day of meeting or team building.

Seminar packages rates are at S$52++ for half-day and $70++ for full day. Minimum group size is 20 pax and maximum is 300 pax.

Address: 2 Telok Blangah Way Singapore 098803. Contact:  +65 6278 6011

 

 

Affordable Team Building Meeting Venues

Most of our clients host their team building session in hotels. However, for smaller scale meetings, this may not always be feasible. If you are looking at somewhere slightly more affordable, you may want to consider one of the following venues:

1) The Place to Succeed @Tan Quee Lan Street

One interesting venue conveniently situated near Bugis MRT you may wish to consider is “The Place to Succeed”.

Located on the second storey of a row of conservation shop houses, this meeting venue is recommended for it’s quirkiness and value for money seminar packages.

Half-day seminar packages are priced at $31nett and full day packages are priced at $51nett. Minimum guarantee is 20 persons. Maximum capacity is 60 persons in theatre style seating (also known as class room style).

If you intend to conduct team building activities in the room, it will likely be able to take around 30 people in cluster seating with small or no tables.

TPTS2 TPTS1

Address: Heritage Place, 21 Tan Quee Lan Stree #02-08 Singapoe 188108. Contact: +65 9112 0208.

2) Gallery Hotel @Robertson Quay

This beautiful boutique hotel is right at the edge of the central business district and sits beside the Singapore River at Robertson Quay. It is tastefully decorated and they delivered great service the last time we ran an event there.

There are a few seminar rooms there, minimum group size that they take in is unfortunately 30 persons. Their function room is fairly large and can host up to 160 persons in cluster style seating. Half-day seminar package is priced at $50++ and full day seminar package is at $60++.

Gallery

Address: 1 Nanson Road, Robertson Quay, Singapore 238909. Contact: +65 6849 8686.

3) NTU Alumni Club @Slim Barracks Rise (off North Bouna Vista Road)

The NTU Alumni Club function room is one of the most convenient team building in its class. Only about 3mins’ walk from One North Park, you can choose to have an outdoor activity at the park and still have a wet weather back up seminar room nearby. This venue is ideal if you are looking for a simple venue that offers both indoor and outdoor versatility.

The minimum guarantee for this venue is 20 pax and maximum group size is 50 pax for cluster seating. Half-day seminar package is priced at $45++ and full day seminar package is priced at $55++.

NTU

Address: 11 Slim Barracks Rise, #09-03 Singapore 138664. Contact: Emmanuel @ 6777 1101.

Choosing Team Building Venues

While assisting our clients to search for venues for their team building session, we realised that some of them are torn between selecting a decent venue and paying for quality team building programmes.

This is where we can help. For a small fee of $200 or 15% of the total F&B expenditure (the higher thereof), we can assist in settling the venue selection. Alternatively, you can book the venue directly and just engage us for the programme portion.

If you do choose to book a venue directly and find that most of the hotel and resorts are out of your budget, you may want to consider some of these options that we have listed here. However, do take note that the prices are accurate at the time of the post but the venue providers may vary their prices without informing us. Do contact them directly to obtain the latest rate card.

Also, if you are not too familiar with booking seminar packages with venue providers, it will be very useful if you read the remainder of this post.

Types of seminar package

When hotels, resorts and other venue providers quote a “seminar package”, it usually comes in “half-day” and “full day” options.

“Half-day seminar packages” will usually include one lunch and one tea break (with 2 or 3 tea break items); and “full day seminar packages” usually include a lunch and two tea breaks (with 2 or 3 tea break items per break). Some hotels package in “banquet style lunch” (where dishes are served at a round table), while other include “set lunch” and yet others include their “buffet style lunch” in their seminar packages. So do clarify what type of lunch is included by the venue provider even if the venue may be well known for their buffet lunches (they may not include that in their seminar package).

Seminar Package Prices

Seminar package prices are usually quoted before government taxes and service charge. If you see a nett price, like $50nett, that is good news, because it means they do not charge service charge and they are not goods and services tax (GST) registered. More often than not, for hotels, you will see a “++” behind the amount. For example, when when you are quoted $80++, you are actually going to pay $94.16 ($80 x10% more for service charge + 7% more of the sub-total for GST = $94.16).

Booking Hours

Most venue providers work with 9am to 1pm for half-day (morning) seminar package (1pm to 5pm for afternoon seminar package) and 9am to 5pm for full day seminar package. Some venues will charge additional rental if you are starting your meeting early or end your meeting late. It may be good to get this information handy if you have some issues to discuss or lengthy discussions during your team building session.

Minimum Guarantee

Some venues charges the same price regardless if you have 10 persons or 200 persons. Other venues offer bulk discounts, which means, the price they charge a 100 persons group is lower than the price they charge a 10 persons group. however, in the quote, they should specify what is the minimum number of guests you have to guarantee in order to get the “special price” they are quoting you. For example, if they quote you $80++ for minimum 100 persons, it means that to enjoy the special price of $80++, you will have to have 100 people attending the team building workshop. If you have a lower number, the price may increase. They will also stipulate what is the latest date you can update your numbers with them – some venues give 14days, others give one week.

Complimentary Parking

Some venues give 20% of the number of guests complimentary parking coupons, other venues only give 10%. You may want to give the drivers in your team a heads up before the event date especially if the hotel is in town and the seminar hours are long. The parking fee may be quite a substantial amount and some drivers may opt to take public transportation instead.

Booking a venue can be quite a handful but as long as you get the important facts right, you should be fine. As with any contracts, if you know you do not have a keen eye for details, getting help from someone in your team who is good with details to read through the contract before signing may be a good idea.

We hope you enjoy checking out the other posts in this category, which lists possible venues you may consider, it will save you a lot of trouble seeking them out individually.

Welcome to our revamped team building blog!

Welcome to our new blog, which will focus on our experience in running team building programmes in different parts of Asia. We believe that it will provide very useful information to people planning a team buiding or training retreat.

Planning for a team building retreat can be a daunting task, especially when a large number of participants is involved, venue selection is not done and when it has to happen at short notice. Matters can further complicate if there are too many choices – of venue, training provider and team building activities. If this is your first time planning for a team building event, you will need some help. If you can narrow down on the rough type of location and activities (or even learning objectives) that you have, it will help you a lot when you are making your decisions.

In entries that follow, you will see a list of locations that we have been to and some of our team building activities. You will also see some information on possible local venues that you may consider for your local off-site.

We will also publish some pictures taken of some team building games our clients have participated in and hopefully it will give you an insight of what you can expect should you choose to work with us.

Should you have any queries at all, please feel free to contact us.

 

Team Building near Ruins of St. Paul in Macau S.A.R., China
Team Building near Ruins of St. Paul in Macau S.A.R., China
Carton Box Raft Building Activity in Sanya, China
Carton Box Raft Building Activity in Sanya, China