Small Meeting Destination – Creative Team Building Ideas

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When it comes to team building, the now-cliché “trust fall” from many years ago is long gone. These days, team building can take many forms: competitive cooking challenges, spirited bowling matches, golf outings and arcade games.

A 2014 survey of meeting trends shows that team building continues to be a strong trend. Destination Hotels and Resorts, the fourth-largest hospitality management company in the United States, forecasts several meeting trends to watch for in the company’s second annual “State of the Meetings Industry” survey. Based on input from more than 180 corporate, association, independent and government planners nationwide, the report provides insight on a number of key topics. As supported by the 92 percent of the survey participants, team building continues to be a strong industry trend with event planners seeking unique locations to link corporate social responsibility with exercises to build the team.

In recent years, creative minds have dreamed up a host of new ways to challenge groups to work together while having fun doing it. The following team-building ideas in High Point, N.C., may provide just the right balance.

Golf Outings

Captain’s Choice is a great way to mix people with very different skill levels, much like what occurs every day on the job.  Because each team member hits each shot and the best shot is chosen for the next stroke, it is a good team builder. Remember that the fewer rules the better, for example, only requiring that each player on the team must contribute at least one or two drives and putts, with a maximum number of strokes per hole.

Be sure to add in special awards such as the longest drive or the closest to the pin, with humorous awards for the most improved, shortest drive or most outlandish outfit to make it a fun event for everyone. Identical prizes should be given to all team members.

Bowling and Games 

Similar to golf, bowling usually involves mixing people with different abilities. For instance, the finance department might decide to form teams along the functional lines –an accounts payable team, an accounts receivable team, a general accounting team, etc. – to strengthen teamwork within those groups, or teams might mix functional groups to build teamwork within the department as a whole.

It’s also important to balance the teams with regards to skill level, so if you have a few good bowlers, distribute them among the teams. That’s what team building is all about: teammates helping each other to succeed. 

Another good idea is for the participants to expect twists. For example, the first bowling match might be a traditional game, but the second would include wacky tasks. For example, bowling blindfolded while being guided by a coworker or bowling with the non-dominant hand to level the playing field and for coworkers to see the fun side of each other.

Groups of 20 to 25 are ideal because they’re big enough to have good competition among teams but small enough to keep the groups together on events.

To finish things up, the event wrap up with a meal and an awards ceremony. And, to keep it fun, if there’s a tie, the teams can to do a tie-breaking cheer. 

Arcade Games 

Arcade games have stood the test of time, even through the endless number of video game enhancements over the decades, and they are here to stay. It’s no surprise that they are still popular even amidst the highly advanced consoles of the 21st century. Rev up your co-workers’ competitive juices and get them ready to compete in a series of games. Arcade games like car racing, horse racing, basketball, trivia and skee-ball primarily focuses on building camaraderie, with secondary focuses of enhancing communication and collaboration. At nearby Celebration Station in Greensboro, team building can also involve go karting and bumper boats.

Get creative.  Set up awards at the end for the highest scoring team and perhaps the most innovative way to play.

Cooking Competitions

No matter what the occasion, everyone always seems to end up in the kitchen, and bonding over food is a great equalizer. A kitchen competition encourages a friendly rivalry as teams face off in a timed cooking event that will rely on teamwork and creative problem-solving.

One location that offers team building exercises through cooking is at Fearrington House in Pittsboro, N.C., southeast of Greensboro, which has been offering culinary challenges and classes for several years.

One exercise includes having groups break into teams of about five people.  Each team is tasked with creating a menu, preparing dishes with limited resources, using a secret ingredient and doing it all in a set amount of time before presenting their food to the restaurant’s executive chef or sous chef for judging. Since co-workers don’t often cook together it’s a great way to get them all working together.

Another option to consider with the many local wineries nearby in North Carolina, such as Zimmerman Vineyards in nearby Trinity, is to have wine-pairing classes, when teams learn about pairings from a wine director. The wine blending challenge allows groups to learn the basics of blending techniques before competing to find out which team can create the best pairing of food and wine.

Have fun!

Team-building exercises can be a powerful way to unite a group, develop strengths, and address weaknesses – but only if the exercises are planned and carried out strategically. In other words, there has to be a real purpose behind your decision to do the exercise – for example, improving the team’s problem-solving or creativity skills.

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Contact the High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau at 336.884.5255 or email Nancy Bowman for additional information regarding creative team building opportunities in High Point.

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