Planning a Teambuilding Activity: 4 Essential Stages

Planning a Teambuilding Activity: 4 Essential Stages

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This week, I found myself planning a teambuilding activity for all staff at work. It was an urgent task as the intended teambuilding instructor had to pull out due to unavoidable reasons. Thank goodness the task was given to a small ‘crack team’ of experts at work. Each of us has our own set of experiences to leverage on and it took us about half an hour to agree on a plan. Considering the event will take place the night itself, I felt that it was quite a commendable effort by the team.

I must admit that I was quite rusty especially in planning a teambuilding activity for corporate groups. There will naturally be more variables when it comes to planning for adult groups.

Nevertheless, the quick planning session got me recalling 4 basic ingredients to planning a teambuilding activity.

1.Ice-Breakers

Ice-breakers are essential to a teambuilding activity programme. The purpose of ice-breakers is to get the participants familiar and comfortable with one another. It will be quite difficult to have an impactful teambuilding experience if the participants are awkward to one another.

Having said that, you could skip this stage if the participants already know one another prior to the programme such as a department in a company.

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2.Energizer/ Warm Up

Energizer activity is the next stage to consider when planning a teambuilding activity. Energizer could help to warm or tune their mood for the real teambuilding activity.

The participants, when they arrive at the programme, may have their minds pre-occupied with work. Hence, they will have difficulty focusing on the teambuilding activity. Trainers have to try sync their participants to the whole programme so that they can be fully involved in the activity. Their full involvement will then provide ample experiences to be reflected on and draw quality learning points to bring back to their workplace.

3.‘Starter ‘Teambuilding Activity

This is the crux of a teambuilding session where its main focus will be worked on. There are many ways to go about planning for this stage but my key points are:

  • Remember the exact objective/s of the whole session
  • Recycle some activities which you have conducted or experienced before
  • Enhance the chosen activity by making any necessary customisations

As trainers, you will need to visualise what your participants might be doing when given a particular task/ activity. Ask yourself questions such as

  • What might require from your participants to perform a particular action?
  • How could those action/s be talked about later on during the debrief session?
  • What feeling/s might be associated with those action/s?
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These are just some guiding questions for trainers to ask themselves when planning a teambuilding activity.

4.‘Peak’ Teambuilding Activity

If there is ample time, you could insert a second teambuilding activity. I term it as a “re-enforcing” activity. The flow is similar except that try to plan out something that is more challenging than the earlier activity.

However, be prepared for the teams to perform this final activity with ease after they discover their own magic formula to operate. If that happens, trainers need not feel disappointed but instead applaud the team’s effectiveness. At the end of the day, teambuilding activities are not meant to make their participants’ life difficult but to be able to work together.

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Outdoor Educator

I'm an outdoor educator and blogger. Outdoors, I teach both technical and experiential courses. Indoors, I blog about the outdoors, environment, health and life! Contact me if you'd like to explore opportunities together, whatever they might be.

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