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Icebreaker Activities-Team building checklist!
By Angi - Admin on January 18, 2013
- Make sure you have enough time for the activities. If you are racing against the clock, schedule the team building activities for another day. If you rush through an exercise, you are not only wasting time and money, but you are setting the tone for future team building sessions. Team members will not take the activities seriously because you have not made them a priority. Each of the exercises has a time that it takes to complete, as well as the time required to set up each activity.
- Schedule breaks. You are working with humans, not machines. They need breaks to go to the bathroom, and they need a mental break. People have about an hour long attention span before their minds begin to wander. If you are working with children, their attention spans are even shorter.
- Make sure that you have water and snacks. People do better when they are hydrated. Avoid sodas and sweet snacks.
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- These can cause some people to fall asleep after a short burst of energy. Fruit and protein foods, like peanut butter, are better and healthier choices.
- If you are doing a day-long teambuilding session, make sure that you have planned lunch. I recommend that you bring food in. If people leave for lunch, they may be late getting back and they may have discussions about the activities that may be better within the larger group. Some team members can negatively influence others, and the whole mood and energy level can die after lunch. If you have lunch brought in, you can make it a working lunch. You can give team members an assignment for an activity after lunch or you can have a group discussion about the activities they have already accomplished. You can also have a guest speaker come in to teach a new teambuilding skill or concept. If they do have lunch on their own, have a few places that they can go.
- Encourage the team members to go in groups to build rapport.
- Look over the activities you have chosen. Double check that you have all the supplies you need for each activity. Have a couple back-up activities ready in case you need them. You may have extra time or a particular activity may not work as expected.
- Look over the space you are using. Make sure you have everything in place for the activities you have chosen. If you need help setting up, make sure that you have planned this ahead of time. There are a few room setups that work well with these activities.
- Have tables in a “U” shape. That way it will give you plenty of room in the middle of the area to do activities. It
- also allows you to interact with all the team members at once. If you need more room, it is easier to just push tables and chairs backward in this configuration.
- Have chairs set up in a circle. In this configuration everyone is equal and important. It gives a sense that no one is above anyone else and the team is in it together.
- Have no chairs in the room. This is beneficial
- when you need a larger space to do activities. People can sit in a circle on the floor. Make sure everyone is in optimum health if you choose this configuration, as some people may have difficulty getting up and down.
- If you choose an outdoor setting, make sure you bring chairs or have each team member bring a chair.
- This may seem obvious, but do not allow people to drink alcohol during the team building sessions. Some groups are very close and enjoy socializing. There is a time and place for these sorts of activities and team building time is not one of them. I had the experience of having a daylong team retreat that was scheduled to take place at a bar. As you might guess, not a whole lot was accomplished that day. If you choose to meet afterward to socialize, that is fine as long as it occurs after the scheduled team building activities. You may wish to mention that people should not drink during the lunch hour, as your afternoon sessions may not go as well.
- If there are smokers in the group, make sure they have a designated place and time to smoke (during breaks). • Make sure that, if anyone on the team has special needs, accommodations are made ahead of time. Pick activities that are not only age appropriate for your team, but that also take into account any member that cannot participate.
- Try to remove any and all distractions. That means you may have to check cell phones, PDAs, and pagers at the door.
- Make sure that team members have cleared their calendar during the time you have scheduled for team building. Nothing can break a group’s concentration more than ringing cell phones.
- Consider giving rewards for correct answers to queries and active participation. These can be small candy rewards or some cheap toys to play with like clay or colored pens. They can be motivational rewards like time off from work or a pass to dress down for a day. Rewards can be motivational, but at the same time distracting. You are the best judge of your group and how they would react to small prizes and awards.