Demand these things from your team building vendor

By Paul Russell on 30/05/2017

After much deliberation, the date for your business event has finally been fixed into the calendar. The venue has been booked, and the logistics planning involving bringing a large group of people away from their day-to-day work to one location has begun.

As a Corporate Trainer and Team Building Facilitator across Asia for the last eight years, I believe strongly in the power of bringing people together. This is more than simply an opportunity to bring your team together in one place and have a speaker present, this is a rare and valuable opportunity to engage, motivate, break down barriers and mix outside of natural work ‘silos’.

An event is also an opportunity to promote different ways of thinking. If each participant can take even one new idea or behaviour change back to the workplace, imagine the cumulative positive effect this will have.  

If planned and delivered correctly, a team building experience integrated into your business event is a great way to promote engagement, raise energy levels and deliver important learning and key messages back into the workplace. 

All too often the word 'team building' evokes images of old; groups taking part in some arduous physical activity where they are in aggressive competition with each other. Trends have changed. Nowadays, corporate team building experiences should include the following:

Experiential Learning – The quote “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” is one used often when planning a team building experience. Engaging people in activities via a well-planned and delivered team building experience is a great way to both get your event message across and make a significant impact.

Participant Engagement and Energy - Ensure your event experience promotes energy and participation from all in the room throughout the activity, regardless of age, work experience or specific skills.  Overcome the rapidly shortening attention spans and the distraction of smartphones with a totally engaging shared team experience. 

With these goals in mind, an event planner has to choose from a wide range of team building vendors, all with different products and services. Price and budget will always be an important factor when shopping around for a team building experience, but this should not be the only consideration if you want your event to have a lasting impact.

There are some key demands and areas to check with the vendors you contact to ensure maximum impact and success at your event.

  1. Alignment with your objectives

Be wary of a vendor who provides a quote for an off-the-shelf activity before they listen to your objectives. This may seem efficient and easy to get an immediate proposal but there is a big risk of misalignment. They should learn more about your organisation, who is attending and what you hope to achieve from the event and why? Obviously, you need to be clear on how to answer these questions – if you have defined a conference theme or key messages then the team building event should reinforce these.

You may be looking to promote greater collaboration and sharing of knowledge across an organisation, break down barriers between different departments, give back to the community or simply to have fun and energise the group. A good way to address this is to ask what do you want your participants to learn, how do you want them to feel and/or what do you want them to do back in the workplace after the event. 

  1. Credibility and reputation

What similar organisations has the vendor worked with and what venues have they delivered at previously? Any credible vendor will have case studies, client testimonials and photos readily available to show you, with examples of repeat customers giving you added confidence. Trust the value they have delivered to others in similar venues and seeing a group photo of happy participants at the end of a team building event speaks volumes.  

  1. Innovation and technology

It is likely your participants will have been involved with other team building events in the past. What new unique products and ideas do your vendor have to engage participants? Current trends see increases in the use of technology and bespoke apps to engage participants during the event. Can your vendor provide a mix of practical activity and innovative technology to increase participant engagement?

  1. Scalability

Organising a team building experience for 10 participants is completely different than for 1,000. Can your vendors' concepts be scaled up or down dependent on the number of participants attending and work practically for your size of the group? 

  1. Visibility and network

Is your vendor known within the industry with an established track record and history? Are you talking to the people who will actually be the ones delivering your event or will the vendor be using subcontractors? Have they delivered events in recent times in your location? Are they a sole operator reliant on a small team or are they part of a larger network of skills and experience that they can call upon?

Planning a successful event takes time. Don’t leave the details of a team building experience to the last minute. Capitalise on this rare opportunity to promote key event messages in a fun and involving way, by engaging a tried and trusted vendor who will successfully deliver to your objectives.

Your biggest investment is actually the half or full day of your executive’s time – make sure to get a real Return on Investment on that. By using the checkpoints above, you stand the best chance of getting the maximum value and impact from your team building event, ensuring your participants have a memorable and valuable experience.

For the last eight years, Paul has been a Corporate Trainer and Team Building Event Facilitator for Asia Ability Creative Teambuilding, part of the Catalyst Global Teambuilding network with offices in KL, Singapore, Bangkok and Vietnam supporting corporate clients across the region.


Article code: 4124

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