7 Tips on How to Find the Best Team Building Activities

It’s all about working with your event organizer

We stage about 2,000 team building activities a year, and we’ve been doing it since 1999. So we’ve learned a lot from observing and collaborating with superstar event organizers. How do they get the best out of our scavenger hunts and other games? How can you get the best out of any event provider—and enjoy the best team building activities your team has ever seen?

We’ve boiled it down to these seven tips…

1. Don’t buy a dog if you’re going to bark yourself.

In other words, when you hire experts, listen to them. Even if you have organized events for 30 years, you probably hired a team building provider that has spent years mastering all aspects of the kind of activity they offer. Be open to suggestions from your activity provider and the hard lessons they have learned. Micromanage only your worry that you need to micromanage.

2. The team building expert can be only as organized as you are.

When we stage a team building scavenger hunt in which all the gears mesh beautifully, it’s usually because we’re working with a client who gets paperwork in on time, reads communications carefully, gets back to us promptly when we need to know details, gets groups organized before arriving. If you can’t be at the event, make sure the event provider has the name and cell of someone who will be on site. Most problems can be solved with good communication.

3. Get real.

Or be realistic. If you are planning an activity for 100 people in March, maybe Central Park isn’t the best location. Or if you know your colleagues tend to run behind schedule, don’t think you can miraculously squeeze in a late-afternoon scavenger hunt at a museum closing at 5 p.m. If you want to end at a restaurant and have the person running the event—or your boss—speak to the group, don’t pick a bar known to be noisy.

4. Know thy group.

The better you know what excites your group, the better you will match them with the perfect activity. We love collaborating with an event planner in trying to match a group with the right scavenger hunt, but we have to rely on the planners to give us a feel for what will motivate them. Do they hate being outside? Do they hate walking?  Are they super competitive? Do they like to be silly? Help the consultant help you.

5. Communicate with your group.

Surprises can be fun, but more often they are a wrench in the machinery. Make sure your group has all of the details they need before they show up for the event. Ask your team building expert what they need to know. Do the participants need to dress in any particular way? Will there be a place to stow briefcases or coats? Do they need a map to find the meeting place or a bar after the event?

6. Spread the appreciation around and reap the rewards.

I love when planners comment on how much effort, time, and thought went into how we design a team building activity. And they communicate that to the staff running the event. Are you obligated to do that? Of course not. Do all humans perform better when they feel appreciated? Well, don’t you? And the more appreciation you send out, the more you get back.

7. Relax and have fun!

People always love seeing the person who organized the day having fun with them. They reflect the mood and energy from you!  Enjoy yourself!

Julie Jacobs is the Chief Development Officer of Watson Adventures. She joined the company in 2000 and has overseen the growth of private team building scavenger hunts from dozens that year to about 2,000 a year today.