Organizing and running a teambuilding game is easy. Easy? Yes, if you know the mechanics of it and i am going to show you how.
I like to simplify the entire teambuilding play process into 4 stages:
Stage 1 – EQUIP
Preparation is everything. Don’t underestimate this stage as it will set the foundation for the rest of the teambuilding play. Start by equipping yourself with information pertaining to the desired teambuilding event:
- Understand the Objectives – What do you hope to achieve? Build teams, promote cooperation or just pure fun?
- Know your Participants – Who will be participating? What age, level, context?
- Select your Game – Which game to bring your team closer to the set objectives? How much space have you got?
- Assemble required Items – Do you need to prepare anything? What items to obtain before hand?
- Visualize the Outcome – How successful will the event will? Any possible room for improvements or errors?
The last point on visualizing the outcome is critical. As someone famous wrote, we should always begin with the end in mind. The equipping stage is all about running the teambuilding play in your head over and over again. What can go wrong? Anticipate the different outcomes and be prepared for them.
Stage 2 – EXECUTE
You have equipped yourself well and it is now time to take the stage. If you are a beginner or don’t do this often enough, this is the time when the butterflies in your stomach start to float. The way to mitigate this is to prepare and prepare well during Stage 1.
Once you have your participants’ attention, and pleasantries done with, start by explaining the game instructions to them as clearly as you can. How? Think of the words, sentences and their sequence. Can they understand your instructions? Do you understand them yourself? Tell them the game rules and stress what needs to be stressed. Look for visual clues and verbal feedback.
Very important tip, speak with authority and excitement. Explain it as if it is the most exciting thing they will be doing that day. Ask them if they have any clarifications and address concerns if they arise. Once everyone is clear, start the game.
Stage 3 – ENCOURAGE
Few things can happen once the game starts. It could get out of control if some over-enthusiastic participants step out of the line. Sometimes people may move very slowly, if they are confused and unsure of what to do. Or the best scenario is when the game goes on exactly the way you envisioned it. Everything falls into place and everyone is playing their part and enjoying themselves.
Whatever the situation is, you have to be in control. Make sure participants are following the rules (be lenient) and playing their part. Cheer them or reprimand some if you have to. Some may need assistance to get back on track. Others may even forget the game instructions. Guide them, throw in some funny comments, laugh with them and make sure everyone participate in the fun. Encourage good sportsmanship and remind them that it’s only a game. No prize money or gold medals allocated for winners here.
Stage 4 – EMPOWER
This is the debriefing stage where participants internalize the experiences which they have just been through. A teambuilding game without a debriefing session is well, simply a game for fun. Nothing wrong with that, but if you want the lessons to stick then this session is vital. It boils down to your objectives as discussed in Stage 1.
Depending on what you want to achieve, this empowering stage could take as long as the game play itself. Get them to think back their experiences working as a team earlier. Ask them questions about what they encountered during the activity. Then help them relate to real life situations. Connect the two and teach them how they can apply what they learned from their recent experience.
Facilitating skill comes into play here and it will be good if you have some foundation on teamwork knowledge and examples. The more important thing here however is knowing what questions to ask. Asking right questions is more important than telling answers or solutions. After each question and some suggestive answers, lead them with more questions. Let them arrive at the answers on their own. This is much more effective than lecturing them on what they have to do.
Wrap up the session by thanking them for their participation and sportsmanship.