People tend to get involved more easily when the reason for which they act is clear to them. They are also more motivated to participate if they understand all rules from point zero and when they know what is expected of them.
Create the proper atmosphere by saluting your team with enthusiasm and optimism. Teambuilding events should be fun and constructive; you don’t have to play the role of a cheerleader or a supporter. A simple smile or a supportive comment suffice for telling the team that they will go through an interesting and provoking experience.
Always make sure to explain to your team what activity is next and what it consists of. In one minute, try to present it as interesting as possible. The most common question participants ask themselves is “Why am I doing this?”, thus share with your team the outcome(s) you expect to reach at the end of the activity. Of course, you should keep it to yourself if you want to reveal this thing at the end or if the activity is conceived so that the team must discover its purpose. However, if people understand the purpose of their actions, it is very likely that they’ll be actively involved and make the best out of the teambuilding program.
If you do not wish to reveal the purpose of what your team is doing from the beginning, tell them that the more they will participate, the more they will figure it out. Nevertheless, be sure that the objective is mentioned and remembered during debriefing (= the discussion that takes place at the end of an activity or a set of activities, which I will approach in a future article).
Explain the rules or steps that need to be taken during all activities. Don’t be afraid to read from a book or from your worksheets. It would be best if you had everything noted down on some papers attached to a clipboard, which you will carry along with you all the time. When explaining, speak slowly and loudly and make a break after each rule so that it will have time to sink in. Remember that participants have probably never heard of the things you’ve practiced so hard beforehand, so kindly ask if there are any questions after you read the rules.
Some trainers have their teams participate in activities while these are being explained to them. For example, if the first step of an activity consists of splitting the team in a certain number of smaller groups, you can do this before passing on to the next step.
Most teambuilding activities are not affected if groups do not bear the same number of participants. However, if it is that important for carrying out activities, you can level teams by assigning the role of “observers” to some of the participants. Observers silently watch participants performing so that they have the decisive word during debriefing activities.
Just to make sure, you can additionally distribute flyers or other materials after explaining what activities consist of. You should only do that after you’ve made everything clear, otherwise you risk that participants be distracted by flyers as you utter the rules. It is recommended that you distribute these materials only in order to help them understand things better.
This having been said, we can now learn how to render teambuilding activities as efficient as they can get!