Just preparing a series of icebreakers and team-building exercises is not enough if you do not take into consideration the following aspects:
1. Every participant is different, and every one of them has a different level of understanding and emotional condition when they begin the course. Research your audience, for example you want to use a certain element in an exercise but you may discover that one participant has a phobia for that particular element. Be prepared before encountering these awkward situations. Don’t base your research only on age; you may be surprised by the results.
2. Always buy more resources than planned. You can never know what part of your logistics may fail you, what material may break before or during or the way the participants will handle the resources.
3. Adapt your teaching style to the learning styles of the participants. Remember everyone is different and understands things in a certain way. People may react differently in different contexts.
4. Timing is essential. Offer time for discussions, recreation and the unexpected. Don’t group together too many physical exercises. The best proportion for a team building program includes: 33% physical exercises, 33% experiential learning and 33% discussion and traditional exercises.
5. The scope of a team-building is to reach certain objectives. Remember them when choosing an activity. Don’t choose an exercise because it is funny or popular but because it covers a need of a team or reaches an objective of the team-building.
6. Allocate sufficient time for the team-building. A well prepared training can take from 2 to 5 days. If the time allowed is less than half a day then it beats the point of the entire team-building.
7. BANG at the beginning and end. Start the team-building with well-prepared icebreakers that will set the mood for the course and allow people to relax and fin a comfort zone. At the end of the sessions, inspire and motivate them to set in action the lessons learned during the course of the activities.
8. Make a logistics list, prepare your material ahead of time, double-check them and learn to use materials that you haven’t worked before.
9. Debrief after each exercise and ask participants to make notes of their conclusions in a Learning Log.
10. Never presume that everyone will be able or accept to do a certain task, especially if it implies a risky activity. Prepare sub-task, which a person can handle.
11. Everyone is equal during a team-building, therefore do not allow participants put pressure or hassle other participants. Often, people in management positions give orders just because of their position outside the game. Do not hesitate to remind everyone this is a group activity, where everyone has the same position.
What other aspects do you include in your checklist?