The very mention of the words, “team building” can bring many out in a cold sweat! Many employees will instantly bring up images of rope courses, dreaded paint balling and even awkward fire lit walks through frozen forests!
I’ve worked for companies that are obsessed with team building and have seen activities that range from the sublime ot the ridiculous. Personally I throw myself into anything, however, many of my colleagues have not enjoyed events that play to the strengths of those organising the events. Not much ‘team’ building happens on those days and I am sure you can relate to such occasions.
Planning Team Building Events
So how do you plan an event that will cater to your entire team?
The first thing is to really examine the objective and purpose before diving into planning and communicating a team-building activity. What are you looking to achieve?
- Just a fun social gathering.
- Boost morale.
- Kick start a new teams forming process.
- Address a communication problem.
- Reward performance.
- Celebrate a milestone.
A key that we will always start from is to ask for input from the people that will be directly involved. You will get a diverse range of views, but know that they will be more engaged if the activity represents their definition of fun and they understand the objective.
Gamification of Team Building
There is a huge amount of hype around gamification of work and the reality is people love games. Just make sure there are mix of games that the group are comfortable with and others that take them out of their comfort zone.
Splitting groups into multifunctional groups is another great way of building in some competition and co-operation that lasts long into the future when back at work.
Solving Team problems with Team Building
If there are problems within a team, first sit down with employees individually to find out what they would like changed and what the impact will be if these issues are not resolved.
These discussions need to be held in-confidence as the issues can be deeply rooted in a lack of respect for diversity, understanding of others priorities or communication problems.
The next phase is to bring the group together in a way that they can share a problem, understand more about the whole person and see strengths in the individuals outside of the pressures of the workplace.
Whatever you decide to do; getting input early, being clear on the objective and ensuring that the group gets out of the usual work environment usually leads to success that can then be repeated.
In the two short years since starting out, we’ve done more than our fair share of exhibitions as Gamewagon Events. From London to Liverpool we’ve attended or exhibited at events focussed on games, weddings, venues, bar mitzvahs and err… events.
Exhibitions are a fantastically condensed way to do business, cramming weeks of leads, networking and deals in to a few long days. They can also be a hellish slog if you’re not prepared. So, in no particular order, here are some of the lessons we’ve learnt and how to make the most of the show, without losing your sanity.
Don’t run out of business cards. How ever many you think you need, you’ll always need more.
Do talk to the other exhibitors. Make friends with your stand neighbours and take the time to walk the show floor. Other exhibitors can often be the most valuable contacts.
Don’t eat the food at the show. Exhibition hall food is always over priced and generally rubbish. Nip in to the town of an evening and get some sandwiches for the following day. You’ll be glad of your Tesco meal deal when others are spending £6 on a cold hotdog.
Do treat everyone you meet like a potential lead. No one is irrelevant to your business. It may not be immediately obvious but anyone can be of use.
Don’t pay the list price for show space. The organisers are always open to negotiation, especially as the show date approaches. Haggling is par for the course and the cheaper your pitch, the bigger your margin on deals closed.
Do make contact with the organisers. The exhibition can be a hugely complicated affair and knowing who to speak to when something isn’t right with your stand will save precious time in putting it right.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. When you’re on your feet all day, talking for hours on end, water is your best friend. Keep plenty of bottles of water on the go, just don’t drink them on the stand.
Do think about the presentation of your stand. Think about the key information you want to convey and the most effective way to get the point across. People will walk past time and again without stopping to chat. If your stand is interesting or distinct enough, it’ll go a long way to maximising your contacts.
Don’t let your leads go cold. Follow up with everyone, big or small, immediately after the event. Try and make your emails personalised. A message the references the specific conversation you had will be far better received than a copy/paste group message.
Do enjoy yourself! If you’re having fun it’ll show. Keeping your team motivated and enthusiastic is the number one way to draw a crowd.