By Jeffry Farman, past Global President, International Association of Conference Centres.
One of the main reasons groups come together, as we have observed for almost 30 years of running a successful corporate conference centre, is to build strong and effective teams. The desire is to foster unity, teamwork and improved group dynamics.
When an organisation brings people together from disparate backgrounds there can often be awkward moments during an event. It pays to plan some activities, particularly at the start, to encourage participation, connectedness and bonding.
Tug O War
Always a good team activity that gets everyone to participate and have some real fun. Can be indoors or outdoors.
Drop the ball (except it’s an egg)
The mission for each team (of 5-6 people) is to protect the egg from cracking when dropped from a height. Teams are given one egg and some protective material (newspaper, string, straws, twig, small pieces of cardboard and sticky tape). The team challenge it to build within a time limit of say 5-10 minutes, a “structure” that will protect the egg.
The winning team is the one whose egg is intact, inside the structure when dropped from a height. You could also give a small prize for ingenuity or the most stylish construction.
Note: this one is best done outdoors.
Set up teams of 5-6 people and give them each an equal pile of newspapers and a roll of tape. Ask each team to decide on a name for their construction company and explain they have, say,10 minutes to build a tower from paper and tape. (Nothing else).
The winning team is the builder of the tallest tower. The tower must be stable and free standing. If it falls over before being measured it cannot be repaired.
Produce the Goods. (From our Free Icebreaker e-book)
Split the group into teams. Give each team a pre-prepared list of things to produce from their purses and pockets (think coins, $100 dollar bill, a comb, a baby picture, bifocals, a condom) within a time limit.
The team with everything (or almost) wins.
A Walk in the Dark
Participants will form pairs. One partner is blindfolded. The other “steers” his or her partner around obstacles using only verbal instructions.
Find a large, flat, safe indoor or outdoor area with some obstacles (but nothing too dangerous!) Materials required include blindfolds and any props that you can set up as obstacles – trees, branches, chairs, cardboard boxes, balloons.
Valuable lessons can be learned for teamwork and unity. The guide will learn about the challenge and responsibility of caring for another individual’s well-being. The blindfolded partner learns to trust and rely on another person.
A de-brief can be valuable. “What was the activity about? What did you learn (as the person being led or the person as the guide?) How does this exercise relate to the work situation?
Don’t forget to debrief with your group after you play these activities. You will find that after playing, your group may have much better trust, communication, and overall improved relationships!
There are many more ideas that will provide a great start to your event. They are all in our Guide to Icebreakers.
At CountryPlace we appreciate that all events are unique. And we are here to help. This Icebreaker Guide will help you understand the many options for getting your event off to a great start and the many activities that are available.
For further assistance please reach out to the CountryPlace team. Call 9728 7070