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Why we should put team building first

Most senior executives recognise the importance of creating the appropriate team building activities to help individual employees to collaborate.

Good team building can go a long way towards uniting team members with a common goal to benefit the organisation as a whole.

Yet despite the value of team building exercises, they often don’t receive the recognition they deserve at conferences, being relegated to the second day of the meeting. This begs the question, why don’t we put team building first on the agenda?

Conference timeline

The timeline for a conference commonly begins with the opening reception, maybe followed by a welcome speech from the CEO. Then there’s lunch, probably breakouts and then dinner in the evening to round off day one. Day two is when the team building activities are likely to appear on the agenda.

Considering the value of team building, it could cast a whole new slant on the meeting if it was held first. When delegates are encouraged to create a team on their first day, the dynamic of the event will change. Employees will be meeting new people, or bonding more firmly with existing colleagues, thus creating a team spirit from the word go.

A major benefit of this is that new employees (or those who aren’t fond of breaking the ice at a conference) will find “their people” from the start, eliminating any feelings of exclusion.

Team building functions

Team building activities at conferences have several different functions: they can be entertaining, so that delegates have fun, while also being educational, getting your team to think differently.

The main focus should be on getting your team members to behave differently after the team building activities when striving to reach their collective goal.

While activities such as scavenger hunts can be fun, it’s also important to educate attendees and encourage interaction which has objectives and goals, rather than simply having a good time.

While most planners start out by thinking up entertaining activities, the ultimate aim should be educating the delegates into behaving differently, as this creates the greatest ROI after the conference is over.

An increasing number of event planners believe the earlier the delegates share goals and objectives, the easier it will be for them to bond and collaborate, making the best use of their time at the conference.

A team isn’t simply a group of people — it’s a body of individuals who are mutually committed to a common goal. A strategic, well-defined plan with objectives, purpose and values binds people together and transforms them into a team.

Best practices

All things considered, we should be putting team building first and moving it forward on the agenda to recognise its importance in corporate culture.

It’s also important that event organisers operate best practices to ensure all goes to plan and that the team building exercise is beneficial for the team members and the organisation as a whole.

Ensure you meet with your team building partners during the early planning stages of your meeting, to make sure you’re all on the same page. Always be open about your goals, budget and desired ROI, while embracing new technology that can assist you.

Study the profiles of your participants and the corporate culture to devise relevant activities. Also, take into account there are likely to be several different generations at your workplace, who are going to have different fitness levels and physical abilities. This way, you won’t leave a section of your team feeling excluded because they’re not physically capable of participating in your chosen activity, as this would be disastrous.

Organising icebreakers and energisers at the start of the meeting seems logical, as it will generate camaraderie. New friendships form this way and it can be the beginning of a new community. Never underestimate the power of team building, no matter what size your organisation.

Choosing a venue

A welcoming venue is the path to a successful meeting – so let our sister organisation &Meetings organise a purpose-built meeting facility, enabling you to focus on getting your team building activities right.

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