Conducting Team Building Activities
How to Conduct Team building Activities Like a Professional
Conducting Team Building Games – No Rocket Scientists Required
Someone once said, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conduct a team building game”. I suppose that statement is true to a certain extent. The purpose of this article is to help you learn how to conduct team building games professionally (or at least appear to be so).
If you are going to organise some form of ice breaker or team building session for the first time in the near future, this article will give you an idea of what to look out for and how to behave when conducting team building games.
Before you proceed, please make sure you have already read our article on organising a team building event. It will give you tips on administrative matters pertaining to planning a team building event.
There are quite a few types of team building games around; generally they can be categorized into:1. ice breakers (or warm up games)
2. low impact team building games (initiative games, puzzles… etc)
3. ball games
4. low & high rope obstacles
We will focus on items 1 through 3 for this discussion (and we will term them “team building games” or “team building activities” for simplicity). You will not need any professional qualifications to conduct such games and there is a very high probability that nobody is going to get hurt if you do some things wrongly.
For item no. 4 however, we hope that you are not considering conducting that by yourself, if you are not trained or certified to conduct them. Someone may get hurt if you do something wrongly and you may end up in jail (or bankrupt).
Pre-Team Building Work
Rule No. 1 – more games is better than few. The reason is simple, if you have a lot of games and time is running out, you can always skip the rest of the activities. However, if you have not enough team building games you may be forced to end early.
This may or may not be a good idea as sometimes there are transport arrangements, other times the meals may only be ready at a stipulated time and people may wander off when they have nothing to do.
Search the internet or visit your local bookstore for team building resources (or follow this link), choose the games that you think are suitable and draw up a timeline. Make sure you fill up the time, with one or two extra games as backup.
Get the rules right
Make sure you know the rules to the games. Know how it works and be able to explain it clearly to another person. The easiest way to find out is to grab someone who does not know the game and try explaining it to the person. If he/she gets what you mean, you should be on the right track.
Another important thing is to make sure you know the solution. If you can’t remember them all, make notes. Unlike a Singapore (or American) Idol contestant, a team building facilitator can, and is encouraged to refer to notes (once in a while, that is).
Make it easy to understand
If the rules to the team building game are complex, do up some form of visuals in point form. This will make explaining much easier. It will also help people who prefer reading to listening understand better.
Team Building Requires Energy
Conducting a team building session requires a lot of energy. Make sure you have enough rest before the team building day, especially the day before. Hydrate yourself well and sleep early. This also helps minimize any chances of you falling ill on the important day.
Be happy when conducting team building activities
Before we continue, if you are going to organise a team building session or leading some games for your colleagues, we hope that you are outgoing and enjoy leading a crowd. If you are not such a person, then at least appear happy and enthusiastic when conducting the games, and SMILE! Remember, negativity is contagious, so is enthusiasm!
Beginning the Team Building Session
At the start of the team building session, introduce yourself and your assistants, and make sure that the participants are all feeling well and properly hydrated. Let them know what the objectives of the team building session are. When giving instructions, make sure you speak in simple English (or whatever language it is supposed to be in), in short sentences, and make sure all the participants can hear you. If you are in an outdoor environment, you may want to prepare a loud hailer (megaphone) or outdoor sound system.
When using the loud hailer, take note that it is directional, it amplifies your voice very well but it narrows the angle of projection, thus you may have to repeat the same line in a few directions.
Have someone hold the visuals when you explain (if applicable).
While Conducting Team Building Games
Make sure you are sharp. You will need to concentrate to make sure that you get the right calls. Most competitive participants will insist that they are right; you have to know who is telling the truth.
We suggest that you have a minimum ratio of 1:2 (i.e. one facilitator to two groups) when doing tele-matches or other competitive games. When working with more experienced facilitators, you can reduce the ratio to 1:3, but it still depends on the complexity of the games involved.
Another important thing is – TAKE NOTES during the team building games. If you watch soccer, you may realise that even the professional referees take notes. Imagine facilitating a ball game. You have to make sure the players play by the rules, the score, and who you have given verbal warnings or yellow cards during the game. Taking notes will help you remember.
Be polite but firm when conducting the team building games, let the participants know that if you have to, you will penalise them, by either giving demerit points or sending players off the game (all these should be explained to them before the game). You will have to put what you have said during the briefing into action, or they will start to bend the rules.
Be Sensitive to the Participants’ Feelings
Make observations of the participants throughout the team building session. If the participants are all physically exhausted, be sure to give them breaks. If they look like they can’t go on anymore, end off the team building session slightly earlier, so long as the objectives have been achieved.
Ending the Team Building Session
Close off the team building session on a high note, commend the different teams on their efforts and performance and give any feedback of the observations that you have made during the session (if applicable). If possible, get participants to share about things that they have learnt during the session. Give out prizes to winning teams!
Finally thank them for their participation.
After reading this article, I’m sure you will agree with me that it does not take a rocket scientist to conduct a team building session. However, I must add that having organised team building sessions for various organisations over the last 14 years, I realised that a rocket scientist may not fit the job requirements of a team building trainer perfectly after all.
Just like everything else, practice makes perfect. We wish you a successful team building event!