Your team will expect that team building activities will be stimulating, interesting, and yes, fun. That does not mean that the facilitator has to be a comedian, but it does obligate you to incorporate some activities into your team building event that helps to engage your team members.
Planned team building activities will bring the following elements to your training:
- Keeps the day moving at a stimulating pace
- Fun helps to bring people together and break down barriers
- Laughter leads to an endorphin release, which is healthy
- Improves retention of material by providing hands on application and practice
In order to fully involve your team members, make sure that you preface activities with a discussion about safety. Let them know that what takes place in the team building sessions stays in there, so that they are encouraged to take risks, challenge previously held assumptions, and make mistakes and learn from them.
Choosing the right activity is very important. One sign of a good facilitator is someone who knows how to choose and even modify an activity to fit certain situations. A good resource library of activities is important so that you don’t find yourself re-using the same activities and tiring of them, or exposing them to people over and over, especially if you are an in-house fcilitator developing workshops for the same people.
The following list is a handy reference of the types of activities that can be the right fit for your training. Although some of the headings may overlap, the definitions are here to give you a better understanding of the range of activities that can be used.
Team Building Games: A game is an exercise that normally has a set of rules and an element of competition. Games often include some kind of reward.
Team Building Icebreakers: Icebreakers are used as an exercise to introduce group members to one another (break the ice), encourage some energy into the beginning of a workshop, and lead into the topic material. They are an important starting point to your training session.
Team Building Energizer: An energizer is a brief pick-me-up activity designed to invigorate a group if energy in the room is waning, or to bring them back together following a break. Energizers are often about five minutes long.
Simulations: A simulation is useful to train equipment operators when the tools that they will use are either very expensive or dangerous. Simulations are designed to be as realistic as possible so that participants can learn from the situation without worrying about damage or financial cost. Flying aircraft, offshore emergency evacuation procedures, combat training, and driving all make use of simulation training.
Role Plays: Role-playing is a helpful way to understand how participants react to certain situations. They are a very useful approach for practicing new skills in a non-threatening environment, where a participant learns to apply behavioral techniques and gets feedback without fear of making a mistake in front of their own customers or clients. Roleplays are helpful in learning conflict management, counseling, sales, negotiating, and many other skills.
Case Studies: Case studies are stories normally extracted from a participant’s workplace or industry. They can also be written specifically to simulate a scenario. Case studies are often examined by individuals or groups and then analyzed to stimulate discussion or demonstrate aspects of training.