Multi-builder

You must have seen many team building websites with pictures of structures constructed with straws and wondered how it is possible to build something strong and sturdy out from those skinny plastic tubes. I will not tell you how to do it but I will share with you my experience.

Having once played the role of a participant, I questioned the task given to us. We were given a few materials in limited quantity and were told to build the tallest possible structure and a strongest possible tower. Looking at the two packets of plastic straws and the strip of 3-metre long tape on the table, our minds went blank. But due to time constraint (we only had one hour!), we had to quickly brainstorm on ideas and sketched out a few structures. The structures looked so pretty and ideal on paper but building them seemed like an impossible task.

After some time spent taping and connecting of the straws, we finally got two structures standing tall and strong, but not the tallest yet. This achievement took longer than expected. Reason being, during the course of the construction, new tasks were thrown to us, causing us to re-strategise and we had to re-calibrate each team mate’s responsibilities. The remaining time was spent attaching more straws to the structure that was meant to compete in terms of height, in an attempt to make it the tallest. When time was up, we quickly did some touching up and stood beside our exhibits, awaiting the judges’ arrival.

Through builder, I learnt the importance of team effort to achieve common goals. Planning allows proper delegation of duties and allocation of resources. Communication ensures that work is done correctly and efficiently. It also helps us to achieve the goal more easily with the input of one another. With documentation, information can be shared and relayed to one another. Most importantly, there was a lot of encouragement involved. Without a team, the seemingly possible task would not have been possible.

Multi-builder is an activity which is highly customisable, suitable for all sorts of team bonding purposes. We can tweak the game by further limiting the given materials, encouraging sharing among the teams or delegating the role of leader to the more passive team mates. You will be surprised to see how your colleague rises up in times of challenge. If you’re looking for a session of ice breaking or team bonding and have only two hours to spare, why not drop us an enquiry! This activity is suitable for group sizes up to 200 pax. No worries about the venue, as it is very mobile. All you need is a clearing space and a group of people who are up for a challenging task!

130315 John Deere Asia (S) Teambuilding (55)130322 San Yu Adventist (52)

Indoor Team Building in Sanya

You should know by now, that Sanya is the only tropical coastal tourist city in China. The city is becoming well known as the place of sun, sea, beautiful beaches, warm climate, hot springs and a host of other ideal tourist features. Sanya enjoys warm weather and sunshine year-round and unobstructed views of the South China Sea.

What’s the best thing to do in Sanya? It is to relax. Yalong Bay is a major tourist beach located east of Sanya City. Regarded as the best beach in Hainan Province, many internationally-operated hotels have been constructed in Yalong Bay.

Early last year, we had an event at Sanya Marriott Yalong Bay Resort & Spa, one of the most premier beach resort in the vicinity. Are we going to talk about the beauitful beach or the friendly hotel staff who welcomed us with surprise souvenir seashell necklaces? Not in this entry. Since we have already mentioned the outdoor activities that can be conducted at overseas venues, let’s now talk about the indoor activities! We’ll show you, life can be as fun without the sun, sea and sand!

Brains, Brawn & Bucks
Participants were grouped into teams and sat at their respective round tables, eagerly waiting for instructions. Most of them did not know what was going to take place during the next two hours. Upon hearing that it is going to be a game show and “money” can be earned, the energy levels of the seated working adults surge. The boisterous crowd quietened down when instructions were flashed on the screen, and paid fuller attention, noting down the instructional content.

What was the first question going to be? Everyone waited in excitement and stared intently at the screen. There you go, first question – a test on sense of smell! Boxes containing unknown “objects” were being passed around,  in a neat order, so that everyone at the table would get a chance to decipher the identity of the smell.  No loud discussions were heard, in fear of being overhead by the “competitors” at the other tables. When answers were confirmed through whispers, the teams wrote down their answers and flashed the whiteboards confidently. After 35 questions, which test the logical, mathematical, artistic, kinesthetic and linguistic skills of the participants, the highest score was announced! Without a doubt, the team which held the most amount of “money” was the ultimate winner. It was really a fun and engaging day!

This game show-style team building activity is adapted from Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory on multiple intelligence. engage learners so we can get serious messages across. It aims to bring out the fact that multiple learning styles exist and many different approaches can be taken to ensure that your team mates are learning deeply. For instance, if you are making a presentation via Microsoft PowerPoint, which has strong emphasis on linguistic and spacial learning, it might not suit people who are kinesthetic learners.

This activity emphasizes the fact that people are all intelligent in different areas, and also helps develop mutual respect among participants, which is a crucial ingredient of teamwork. If you’re looking at an activity which promotes team work and healthy competition, topped up with light-hearted atmosphere and 100% entertainment value, this is the game for you! It is able support group sizes of up to 300 pax and is ideal for ice-breaking, dinner & dance and team bonding purposes! If you aren’t convinced, please feel free to email us at enquiry@singaporeteambuilding.com! And no, we will not reveal the quiz questions.

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Ideas for Team Building

Preparing team building games for adults is not easy, the task has to be complex enough for them to be interested and the rules have to be clear. If you are cracking your head trying to figure out team building ideas for your up coming meeting as an ice breaker or team building activity, here are some ideas that you may consider.

Do note that if you are not experienced in conducting groups activities for adults, do round up a few friends and get them to try it out for you so that you have a good sense of how it will work out and if you need to make any adjustments to the instructions. It will also give you an idea of stuff that you may not think of when preparing for the event.

You may also want to read our article on Optimal approach to organising team building for adults

1. Tallest Tower
The materials required for this indoor team building game is simple – a packet of marsh mallows for each team and disposable wooden skewers (or satay stick as we affectionately call them in South East Asia). The rule is to built the tallest tower with ONLY the given materials in a given time, say 30mins. Teams will be graded based on height and aesthetics.

A similar game can be done by using some sheets from magazines, newspaper and drinking straws as materials.

2. Do You Know…
This activity is great as an indoor team game especially if you have space constraints. Prepare a set of general knowledge questions of varied genre. People love to solve questions. Have some of them in multiple choices and some as “true or false” questions. This will give them a fighting chance even if they have no clue at all about the topic.

If you have new colleagues in the group, you can also find out some interesting facts about them beforehand and include them as questions to the rest of the group. For example, “which of the following people do you think was a president’s scholar?” (then list the new colleagues’ names as multiple choice answers). Or “Who do you think can play the violin?”. Adding these questions will help the group get to know the new colleagues.

You probably need about 20 or so questions for a 30 minutes segment but do prepare a few more in advance, you can always skip them if there is not enough time to finish all the questions.

3. Celebrity Bingo
This activity will require some pre-work. You will need to send out a list of questions to each of the meeting participant and also compile the results and keep them handy so you can mark the answer scripts.

It does like this. You print out questions about individuals in a grid say 9 by 9 or 15 by 15. Participants are suppose to go around the room to try and get the person who is described in the box to sign in that box. This activity will get participants get to know some interesting fact about a few other people and it will get the conversation going. Some questions you may use are, “who keep 2 pet turtles as pets?”, “who stays with his parents?” and “who runs 5km every day”.

The winner is the person who can form the longest connect boxes on the grid either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. You will have to take note that the participants can ONLY sign in the box according to the answers that they have sent to you, or this will not work properly.

4. Back to School Games
Yes, believe it or not, we have conducting “back to school” team building activities for our corporate clients. Here are some ideas for indoor team building if you have an informal group:

a) Paper Toss
I remember an iPhone app called “paper toss” that was top games download for quite a while some time back. I believe at that time it was mostly adults who were playing this game. Real paper toss can be quite interesting if you get the different team members to take turns to toss. You can also have a few levels of difficulty by varying the distance.

b) Chalk Pyramid
Using chalk as material, teams are supposed to build a wall that is as tall as possible in 10mins.

c) Five Stones
This is a classic popular with girls and some boys who like to hangout with girls in primary school. The “five stones” are actually little bean bags in pyramid shape with about 3cm sides. the five stones are stacked nicely and held on the palm of the hand, tossed upwards and balanced on the back of the hand, then toss up a second time to be caught by a downward catch. The score is the number of stones caught.

d) Spot the difference
You can either make your own changes to a selected picture (which can be more interesting if it is a picture of the team). If you wish to make your own changes, you can use graphic editing software like “Paint” or “Adobe Photoshop Elements”, or any other graphic editing tools that comes bundled with your computer or laptop. Do remember save the picture as a new file before you start to edit.

e) Sport Stacking
This sport is also known as cup stacking or speed stacking. Participants will need to and unstack the cups in particular sequences. Using only plastic cups, you could get participants to try their hand at Sport Stacking. The actual competition uses 12 cups but you could do a simplified one that uses maybe only 6 cups. If you are interested in this game, you can find a demo on Youtube easily.

Facilitating team building games takes practice and if you keep doing it, you will get better at it, as with everything else.

 

 

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.