Advice Bureau: Team building - Working together

Six agencies show how to achieve results from your team-building activities.

JOHN BIRD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CATALYST GLOBAL

What is your newest team-building activity? Knowing Me - Knowing You is a bespoke networking game designed to address a specific client brief, Orchestrate! involves delegates playing classical instruments, while in Making The News teams produce the front page of a newspaper.

What advice would you offer clients working to a tight budget? Be honest, so we know you are on a tight budget, then maximise the time you have by ensuring a strategic and tailored event is in place, rather than a fun, generic activity.

What are the most important things to consider when booking a team-building event? Decide what you want to achieve and listen to the team-building expert. At Catalyst, for example, we know what does and does not work.

What types of team-building activities are proving popular among event managers? Events that take place in one room, for one hour, with one clear message. These are based around networking, visualising the future and events that reinforce conference messages.

www.catalystglobal.com

SHOENA PAYNE, SALES MANAGER, MAXIMILLION

What is your newest team-building activity? An environmentally themed event called Eden. It encourages teams to engage with social and environmental issues while experiencing informative and interactive tasks and challenges.

What advice would you offer clients working to a tight budget? Be clear about your expectations and desired outcomes. Decide what the most important element of your event is - location, venue, catering or activities - and channel your money accordingly.

What are the most important things to consider when booking a team-building event? Consider what you hope to get out of it. Think about the profile of your group and what they would enjoy. Balance fun with learning to provide an enjoyable experience with clear aims.

What types of team-building activities are proving popular among event managers? Conference energisers, where the organiser wants to engage delegates in a group activity but time and space are limited. Interactive activities, encouraging guests to network at evening events, are also popular.

www.maximillion.co.uk

PAUL HORTON, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, M&MR

What is your newest team-building activity? Set the Scene is a conference break-out activity encompassing many of the concerns facing businesses. It involves delegates producing their own conference, taking care of everything from the presentations to actually building the set.

What advice would you offer clients working to a tight budget? Communicate your budget to the event company. With team-building events, budgets are often eaten up by the cost of the venue, but at the end of the day the success of the event will be judged on the relevance of the activity, rather than the splendour of the location.

What are the most important things to consider when booking a team-building event? Agree your objectives; set out a brief in order of priority; check the credibility of the event company; and make sure risk assessments have been carried out.

What types of team-building activities are proving popular among event managers? Every event is different, although there has been a definite move over the past few years to provide less 'threatening' challenges that are suitable for all, as opposed to the traditional, more physical varieties.

www.mandmr.co.uk

JAMES COAKES, MANAGING DIRECTOR, PROGRESSIVE RESOURCES

What is your newest team-building activity? We have revitalised our range of Command Tasks and added new ones. We will also be launching a new concept for this season that was inspired by the TV series 24.

What advice would you offer clients working to a tight budget? We are the wrong people to come to. I get frustrated when clients approach us with a budget that wouldn't allow you to go bowling and have chicken in a basket. My advice would be to wake up to the fact that your people are your greatest asset and treat them better.

What are the most important things to consider when booking a team-building event? You have to do something that will appeal to as many people as possible, so the event needs to be multi-faceted. Some managers think it's a good idea to keep an event secret; the reality is that's the best way to alienate your team. It's best to keep it open, enjoyable and effective.

What types of team-building activities are proving popular among event managers? At the moment our Parmesan Job event is popular. This sees clients undertaking a day of fun challenges, driving around in Mini Coopers. Many of our events are tributes to famous shows.

www.teambuilding.co.uk

EWAN KASSIR, KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER, BLUEHAT

What is your newest team-building activity? In the past year we have launched two events: Eden, in association with Maximillion, and Beat the Clock, which was designed by our creative division to combat the challenges of awkward event spaces and lack of time.

What advice would you offer clients working to a tight budget? Remember that team building offers a genuine return on investment - it can be measured and tailored to suit budgets. The client has to be honest about their budget and what they are trying to achieve.

What are the most important things to consider when booking a team-building event? The client needs to understand its end goals and what activity will offer the greatest return on investment and address its needs. In short, it is important to have a conversation with the team-building supplier and you should expect them to ask you questions that will help you with your decisions.

What types of team-building activities are proving popular among event managers? The requirements of event managers are often seasonal and therefore the solutions we put forward follow a similar pattern. For the past few months the focus has been on indoor events, but now, in spring, and especially as summer approaches, we are beginning to see more requests for outdoor events.

www.bluehatuk-teambuilding.co.uk

MARK KATZ, MANAGING DIRECTOR, POISSON ROUGE

What is your newest team-building activity? We have recently launched two new activities: the Mind Illusion Challenge and the Airline Challenge. The former allows teams to experience mind magic close up and learn how they can apply its techniques in their day-to-day work. The Airline Challenge involves teams designing and launching an airline.

What advice would you offer clients working to a tight budget? Many companies have champagne tastes and lemonade money. Find a common theme that inspires most of the team and work around that one subject. Keep everything simple. If being off site is a key factor but there is no budget, consider a simple walk and talk in the countryside.

What are the most important things to consider when booking a team-building event? Be clear about your objectives and realistic about what can be achieved. Information overload is a killer in terms of achieving impact. Try to prioritise what the three most important outcomes are and publish those at the start of the event - or if possible before the event even starts.

What types of team-building activities are proving popular among event managers? Popular trends include activities based around well-known TV shows such as Big Brother and The Apprentice, activities that offer amazing outcomes, along with those that can be very short.

www.poissonrouge.co.uk.


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