Ever hosted a team building event and come out of it feeling more disconnected than when the whole thing started? We have compiled a few ideas to consider based on decades of facilitating and hosting at our Algonquin Park Centre for Transformational Retreats and beyond. They are principles we follow in our own staff meetings, and concepts we hope will help to make your next team building workshop one for the books.
1. Make Sure Participants Know What They’re Getting Into
Bringing folks together for an extended period of time (beyond the length of your average meeting) can be stressful for some, particularly those who are more introverted. Let everyone know well ahead of time what the day will look like and what will be expected of them. For example, is there a physical element? Or will everyone be required to speak in front of a larger group? A simple heads up is likely to stop (most) disassociation in its tracks.
2. Set the Stage, Start on Time & Finish Early
Set the stage at your team building event in a way that will ensure focus. Remove distractions and limit potential interruptions by agreeing on some simple rules and/or expectations around things like cell phone use. Have your schedule easily accessible to all participants and show them that their time is valuable by starting when you said you would, keeping the focus throughout the workshop or meeting and ending early when possible.
3. Craft an Intention or Inspiration Ahead of The Workshop or Meeting
What is the goal of your team building workshop? Fostering better communication? Building trust and empathy? Helping to integrate new co-workers? Problem solving? Bonding? Based on that ultimate goal, come up with a question that you think would give you insight into the minds of your co-workers and send it out as part of a preparation communication. Formulate it using phrases like “What would it be like to feel fully supported in your work environment?” Encourage team members to be honest, and let them know that their individual responses will remain confidential. From there you can compile each response together to create your intention and/or inspiration for the meeting or workshop – essentially, the guiding force that everyone can come back to throughout their time together.
4. Address The Elephant In The Room
They can be difficult conversations to have but if structured properly, addressing a potential elephant in the room of an organization or team can have powerful results. Put it on the table. Talk about it. Talk about the challenges that it is causing for individual team members as well as the collective and then work together to come up with some concrete responses to these challenges.
5. Gather In A Circle
It seems so simple but the circle is one of the strongest universal structures on Earth. It’s strong and flexible framework designed for equality, harmony and balance make for a uniquely supportive space when it comes to building strong connections amongst a team – and a team building workshop is a great place to try the concept on for size. To learn more about the principles of the Way of the Circle and the value that it can offer your team and organization, click here.
6. Get Outside
While there is no way to get around hunkering down and getting some work done at team building events, making room for some bonding time outside of the four walls of an office, conference room or a board room can really aid in building morale. Send people on a treasure hunt, have them figure out how to navigate a 10-person canoe together, or simply host your workshop outdoors! Fresh air and a fresh environment can do wonders.
Apply these concepts to a simple half day workshop, or take them one step further during a full-on corporate retreat. Check out our ultimate Planning Guide below for some more tips, tricks, and ideas to get started planning the ultimate getaway with your team.
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