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Team Building Events Mean Business

Last week on April 14th we were proud to participate in Global Meetings Industry Day, a day when leaders from across the meetings and events industry united to showcase the real impact the industry has on business, the economy and the community. Our own McKenzie Kaufeld Counts, Manager of Making It Happen, sat on a panel as part of Greater Orlando’s Meeting Professionals International chapter that discussed why meetings matter.

In Person Meetings Builds Relationships

If you’re trying to convince your colleagues that it’s important to hold an in-person meeting or event, Meetings Mean Business provides a great GMID Talking Points document that will help. Our favorites, which echo our sentiments on why you should host in-person team building events as well, include:

  • “Personal relationships are at the core of every business decision and face-to-face meetings provide professionals with that personal interaction, which leads to deeper relationships.” That’s why our networking events are so popular – they encourage people to interact with new people they may have never come into contact with before in a non-threatening way.
networking activities orlando

With a networking activity meeting new people CAN be fun!

  • “When people meet face-to-face, relationships are developed in a way that technology cannot recreate or match.” The only exception is if you can use technology in your team building event to strengthen relationships! For instance, in our iTech Trek events teams use an iPad to work together to explore an area while completing on-iPad challenges.

    iTech Trek

    iTech Trek – connecting people with technology.

  • “Meetings create a shared sense of missions and purpose, foster empathy across organizational lines and create camaraderie that positions an organization for success.” All of this is a key component in a face-to-face team building event like our Make a Scene event. In it, teams’ missions are to create a commercial for their company that shows their purpose (what sets them apart from all others). The camaraderie that’s developed in writing, directing and acting in the commercial strengthens what they need to focus on for success.

    make a scene

    Set up for our Make a Scene event. Teams are ready for their close up…

  • “The ability to sit down one-on-one with colleagues provides for instant collaboration and real-time productivity.” We especially love team building events that inspire people to work together to beat a deadline, such as our Escape program that challenges teams to be the first to solve problems in the form of clues and puzzles to escape a series of rooms they’re held captive in.

    team building escape game

    Can your team “Escape” in 90 minutes?

  • “These events serve as critical education platforms for professionals and are key components for developing advanced skills for workforce training.” And, education delivered in as fun format is more likely to be remembered. Remember Schoolhouse Rock? I never would have remembered the preamble to the Constitution without singing “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…” That’s why many of our team building events, such as our Not Your Typical Game Show, incorporate our client’s training information – to ensure the information sings in their heads for years to come!Not Your Typical Game Show – not your typical training activity!

Greater Meetings Industry Day also talked about the economic value the meetings and events industry contributes, highlighting these facts from Oxford Economics – 1) companies that invested more in business travel during the economic downturn grew the fastest and 2) every dollar invested in business travel realizes $9.50 in new revenue and produces $2.90 in profits. Good news for us, as we were on the road conducting team building events again this week!   Aeme’s suitcase is getting some wear and tear as she opened the week conducting a Red Wagon Brigade event for 250 people in Las Vegas and will close it in Miami delivering a jewelry-making charitable event to benefit Dress For Success – just doing our part to support the economy!

wildly different vegas

Aeme getting wildly different in Las Vegas

Theme Park Team Building Activities

When planning a meeting in a location where there is a theme park – or in our case (Orlando) many theme parks – our clients are conflicted on what to plan for their group. There’s a certain “attraction” to allowing their group to enjoy the theme park. But, they don’t want their attendees to simply scatter to do so. What’s the answer? Host a team building event in the theme park!

Do’s and Don’ts For Team Building at a Theme Park

Some things to consider when doing a theme park team building event include:

  • Pick an event that will enhance your attendee’s theme park experience. Something like a treasure hunt or an Amazing Race-themed event allows them to explore the theme park.
  • Ensure you’re not disrupting other guests’ visit. Theme parks are busy places and although the theme park is in the amusement business, they will not be amused if you upset others’ enjoyment of the park. Some good rules of thumb are:

….Tell teams you’ll deduct points from their score if they’re spotted running in the park. Although I mentioned we do Amazing Race-themed events in theme parks, we give teams points for completing challenges well rather than for doing them the quickest.

…Don’t create challenges that require attendees to bother others, such as taking photos with or getting items from strangers or employees working in the park.

…Ensure all challenges can be completed in open public areas, rather than inside stores, restaurants or attractions.

…If you aren’t booking private event space through the theme park you’ll want to plan your event kick off and ending off-site. You can kick the event off at your meeting location before transferring your group to the theme park. Allow teams to review team building event materials, such as rules, as they’re being transported. And, end the event by having one person from each team turn in materials at a meeting spot within the theme park, but reveal the results and award prizes later on in your meeting.

  • Don’t require teams to ride an attraction. You never know how long the lines will be on the day of your event and some people won’t be able to ride because of motion sickness, a bad back, pregnancy, etc. The last thing you want to do is upset your people.
  • Consider hosting an event later in the day, as many theme parks offer discounted tickets after a certain hour.
  • Conduct a site visit of the theme park at the time of day you’ll host the event, so you’ll get a sense for what your group’s experience will be. Are the places you want teams to visit open at that time? Will a parade shut down the street just at the time you want materials to be turned in?
theme park team building

Gaby & Kerri doing a site inspection at Epcot

Make Sure Your Event Has A Theme

The word “theme” is in “theme park,” so theming the event should be easy! However, with a “wildly different” imagination you can integrate any theme or company information into your team building event! For instance, when we did a hunt for a movie organization, we had them check in with event staff at locations throughout the theme park to get a clue that led them to reveal the name of a movie. Can you figure out what movie this clue related to? The answer is at the end of the next paragraph!

corporate team building orlando

What movie is hinted at here?

In “short” (hint, hint), a theme park team building event is the ideal way to get your group to connect with one another in a fun way while enjoying all the attraction has to offer. Do it right and it’s sure to be a fun ride! Oh – and the answer to the clue above? It’s The Big Short, of course!

The Demographics of Team Building

Trying to Decide How To Choose The Right Team Building Event For Your Group. Be Sure To Consider The Demographics of Your Group

Many times when we get calls from someone interested in organizing a team building activity we hear things like, “My boss loves ropes courses. Do you have anything like that?” Or, “I’ve been there and done everything, wow me with something I’ve never seen before.”

Now, I’m not saying that you should ignore what the boss wants. And, we pride ourselves on coming up with concepts that are, well, “wildly different!” But, I always want to ask these people, “What are the demographics of your group and what would make them happy?” After all, getting a big cheer from your group for the wonderful experience they had makes your boss happy and makes you look like a rock star, right?

So, today I’m going to encourage you to keep the demographics of your group in mind when planning your next team building event. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the age range? Have a younger group? Maybe they’d love to make videos to rival those posted on YouTube in one of our Make a Scene events. Have an older group? It doesn’t always mean you shouldn’t go active (see my colleague Mac’s story below), but it does lead to the next question, which is…
  • How physically active is the group? Would they be keen to run relays? Or, is something more sedentary, like decorating plant pots to donate to the elderly in a nursing home, more their style?
  • What’s the male vs. female ratio? Just because there are men in the group doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy something like our Icing on the Cake decorating competition – remember, the Cake Boss is a man! But, if the group is mostly male, they may be more at home with an event like our Spud Racer activity where they make racecars out of fruits and vegetables, which will remind them of their scouting pinewood derby days.
diverse team building

Yes, men AND women do enjoy decorating cakes!

  • Are they a shy bunch that would cringe at the thought of having to stand in front of their peers and compete in a Karaoke-style Raise Your Voice competition? Or, are they more outgoing
  • How will they be dressed? Women in short skirts, high heels and perfectly coiffed hair may not appreciate our With Flying Colors event, which is a blast, but has players visiting activity stations and getting color thrown on them if they complete the activity successfully!
diversity team building ideas

Who, me? Get covered with color? Bring it on!

  • Do they all speak English well? If not, Treasure Hunts with cleverly worded clues may not be the ideal event for them.

Think about your group and they’ll thank you!

An Oldie But A Goodie… Team Building For Older Adults

As referenced above, Mac learned that being older doesn’t always mean not being active! During a recent Beach Dash event, a series of beach-themed relays, she noticed the flowery green lei team had a gentleman who was over 80 years old!  She worried about how he’d do, but whenever a new game was introduced, there he was riding a pool noodle, Hula-Hooping, or tossing fish into a team member’s hip baskets right along with the best of them. His team’s beach song presentation did not disappoint either.  Each man on the team took the stage with a beer in their hand (a practical prop, of course), and perfectly-timed choreography to go along to with their original composition.  Although he was not the lead singer during their song, his enthusiasm was contagious! This one man’s spirit kept his team motivated, got him voted most valuable player and ultimately his team went on to win the gold!

senior team building

You’re never too old to have fun!

A Doggone Great Visit with Orlando Health

Just as you have to keep your group’s demographics in mind when planning your team building event, if you’re doing a charitable event, keep the charity in mind! What do they want and need? To find out, Jane met with Theresa Eber, Manager, Corporate Giving for Orlando Health Foundation /Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation to ask what they could use. They spent over an hour brainstorming new charitable team building concepts that would help the organization impact lives.  A tour of their campus is being planned to inspire us even more when it comes to making our CSR events that much more impactful.

On a side note, Jane even got inspired to see if her dog, Duke, could become a therapy dog. In Jane’s words, “He has a gentleness about him and people tend to love him when they see him.” Is she partial? See the picture below and let us know what you think!

unique corporate team building events

Who can resist that face?!

team building rescue dog

Duke alert and ready to go to work as a rescue dog!

Aww…Moments

We had a couple of tearjerkers this week when…

…Mac’s client couldn’t stop crying after her group assembled care packages for the troops, which made her think of the many friends and family members she knows who are serving.

… 150 kids were jumping up and down when Aeme dropped off TOMS shoes one of our groups decorated and donated to the Jack & Jill Center. Watch this space, as rumor has it we’ll get pictures of these kids in their new kicks next week!

team building event jack and jill center

Can’t wait to see these on the little ones’ feet!

How To Pick A Charity and Charitable Team Building Event

cheer packages team building event

A few of the many donations our clients assembled this year!

I often get asked what is our most popular team building event and my answer is, it’s not just one event, but an entire genre of events – charitable team building activities. In fact, in the past year, Wildly Different has created programs that:

  • Assembled 200 red wagons
  • Decorated 220 pairs of TOMS shoes
  • Stuffed 3500 care packages
  • Built 185 bicycles
  • Crafted sculptures using 40,000 cans of food

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