Conducting A Corporate Team Building Session?

Conducting a Team Building session?

Do you have to be as smart as a rocket scientist to conduct a corporate event? I suppose not; but you may need some pointers, especially if it’s your first time conducting. Conducting a team building session can be fun and easy. The purpose of this article is to help you learn how to prepare for, and facilitate games in a professional manner (or at least appear to be so).

If you are going to organise some form of ice breaker 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 the team games.

Before you proceed, please make sure you have already read our article on organising a corporate event. It will give you tips on administrative matters pertaining to planning a corporate event.

There are quite a few types of team games around; generally they can be categorized into:
1. ice breakers (or warm up games)
2. low impact team games (initiative games, puzzles… etc)
3. ball games
4. low & high rope obstacles

We will focus on items 1 through 3 for this discussion. 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 seriously hurt if you do something wrongly and you may end up in jail (or bankrupt).

Preparation

Rule No. 1 – more games is better than less games. 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 games resources (or go to this ice breaker page), 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.

Work out the number of teams before hand, if possible, let the participants know about their teams and nominate a team leader so that it will be easier to get the people into their teams on the actual day. It may not be easy to move people into teams in an open space if you are new at it. Having a whistle or loud hailer will help a lot. For group sizes 30 and below you should be able to be heard if you project your voice properly.

Get game rules right

Make sure you know the rules to the games. Know – as in know and able to explain it clearly to another person, not know – as in you know how it works or how to solve it. 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 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).

Simplify the rules

Make the rules easy to understand, if the rules are complex, use visuals, this will help participants who receive visual signals better understand the rules better. It will also help prevent any mis-conception, as the rules are written out.

Conducting Corporate Games Requires Energy

Conducting a corporate team building session requires a lot of energy. Make sure you have enough rest before the actual 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, look happy. 

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 out going and you 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!

Begining the Session

At the start of the corporate 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 are the objectives of the team games. 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 (mega phone) 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 Games

Make sure you are have your full attention. 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 games. If you watch soccer, you may realise that even the professional referees take notes. Imagine facilitating a ball game, you have to remember who scored, the score, and also 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 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 session. If the participants are 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 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 thier participantion.

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 such team games for various organisations since ealry 2003, I realised that a rocket scientist may not fit the job requirement perfectly either.

Just like everything else, practice makes perfect. There’s nothing that cannot be learnt, if you are willing to practice. We wish you a successful corporate event!

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