Bars Wars? Battle of the Bands? Wha? This is a team-building event? Oh indeed… oh indeed. One of the largest budget increases across the event marketer’s line items? Team training. Across corporate America, events and meetings are investing in team-building activities that disseminate information and/or bring attendees closer together. The goal, of course, is to increase performance. And the newest team-building activities are doing just that, with fun, funky elements that have event attendees begging for more and ROI through the roof.
We reached out to Ridgefield, CT-based True North Teambuilding principals Michelle Powers and Cindy Crean for a look at some of the most popular activities they’re executing for companies such as Pfizer, MetLife and more. Have a look:
Culinary Competitions. Competitive cooking shows on the Food Network and The Cooking Channel have inspired cooks—and event marketers—everywhere. Event cooking competitions have all attendees working as teams to create a meal. All the teams then sit to enjoy their meal together.
GPS Scavenger Hunts. Leveraging the latest and greatest in smartphone technology, this activity takes problem-solving to a whole new level. Teams work together across a venue or a city to locate a list of items.
Bar Wars. An EM editor’s fave: Turn a traditional event cocktail party into a competitive mixer—no pun intended—with a Cocktailing Competition. Teams compete in a series of activities to secure the ingredients to make the best tasting, best looking and mostmarketable cocktail.
Cake Decorating Competition. A great way to enjoy dessert, have a lot of fun and boost morale as teams work together to design, shape and decorate cakes. Teams present their cakes in a final event to a panel of judges.
Multigenerational Understanding. It’s always been a challenge getting event attendees across a wide range of ages to work together or get passionate about (or understand) the same things. In this activity, mixing and mingling multi-generational teams in a facilitated manner helps build understanding, knowledge and acceptance between 20-, 30-, 40-, 50- and 60-somethings. This type of team building is a terrific way to evolve companies in the acceptance of such things as social media, for example.
Retro Games. Dodgeball, kickball and badminton are always good fun and bring people back to the field days of their childhoods.
Creating Music. When a team-building activity is “well orchestrated,” attendees are working well together. Music-themed activities, when, say, a group creates a viral music video or creates and performs a song, get attendees to work together in a way that may be out of their comfort zone—but in a way that gets everyone to contribute. “These types of programs work wonders for collaboration and empowerment,” says True North principal Cindy Crean.
Wellness. Activities that help attendees find work/life balance, understand how to manage stress and learn how to live an increasingly healthy lifestyle can create a strong bond. Elements include stress management, anti-bullying and healthy cooking.
DiSC, Belbin Activities. The hottest new team-building “systems” to hit the event scene help employees understand their own behavior as well as others. The goal is to open up the lines of communication, enabling teams to work effectively both internally within their own department, with other departments and even with external agencies. More info: discusonline.com, belbin.com.
Social Responsibility. Still key in corporations and getting big play inside team-building activities are CSR initiatives like event attendees refurbishing playgrounds, building handicapped accessible tree houses, restocking food pantries and building Toys for Tots.
Global Networking. Virtual events and hyrbrid meetings can unite teams physically located around the world. Although attendees may not be located in the same physical venue, they begin to find commonalities—countries visited, size of family, plays in a band—that bring them together. “And remember, interesting differences also help bring long-distance teams closer,” says True North principal Michelle Powers.
Game Shows. They’re invading events, as marketers leverage a healthy blend of collaboration and competition to get departments together.