Michael Murphy is the general manager of Hyatt Regency Austin, in Austin, Texas. He has worked with Hyatt Corporation for nearly 20 years. www.austin.regency.hyatt.com
Teambuilding activities are an important way to foster connections among meeting attendees. In today’s world of instant entertainment and viral internet sensations, people are looking more for memorable experiences rather than the traditional meeting schedule. To break up the monotony of lectures and meeting sessions, fun and creative teambuilding activities can help to bring your attendees together, serve as a stress-relief tool, and most importantly create memories that they will never forget. It is important to truly engage your attendees with unique activities in order to keep your company meetings current, fresh and new. However, certain factors exist that you should keep in mind.
One of the main goals of hosting a meeting is to create an experience that your guests will be talking about until your next event. The easiest way to do that is to provide activities that pique the specific interests of your attendees. Do you have a group that likes to be outdoors and do something active? Does your group want to relax and spend leisurely time with one another?
Know what success looks like to you — whether that is building relationships among your team, fun or relaxation — and stay true to that overarching goal.
Are they more adventurous or reserved? These are all factors a meeting planner should consider when thinking of what will be an appropriate and successful activity for their group.
In my experience, I’ve seen a variety of unique teambuilding experiences, from 5K races and kayaking for more active groups to “Make Your Own BBQ/Salsa” competitions for food enthusiasts. It really depends on the interests of your group to determine what activities will have the most successful impact on your event.
It is critical to find a venue that is able to accommodate the activities that reflect your guest’s interests. The venue’s team should be willing to help you to think outside of the box and be creative in organizing an event that is customized to your specific group, rather than offering cookie-cutter options.
Also, it is typically best if the location of your meeting venue is versatile and offers many different types of nearby attractions. For example, a property such as Hyatt Regency Austin is situated directly on a lake but is still located in downtown Austin. This allows the property to provide a variety of teambuilding activities from water sports and hiking, to scavenger hunts for all of downtown’s iconic attractions. A versatile location helps to offer more activity options to ensure you are meeting the interests of your guests.
Instead of a traditional teambuilding activity, meeting planners can work with philanthropic organizations to give back while creating connections within your team. For example, a “giving back” teambuilding event could include working with a local animal shelter to arrange for your group to take dogs on walks throughout the day. You also could work with a local food pantry to host a cooking competition among your employees in order to help feed the homeless, or host a trivia quiz with the winner’s team being able to donate a set dollar amount to a charity of their choice.
By adding a philanthropic component, meeting planners can help to bring their teams closer all while boosting morale by doing something beneficial for the community.
Even if you are not planning a large teambuilding event, it can be beneficial to the overall success of your meeting to organize relaxation activities. Although your meeting may not be particularly stressful, relaxation sessions can help to mix up the event’s schedule and help guests enjoy the overall experience. Activities to relieve stress can be anything from yoga or meditation classes, to something more energetic such as sumo wrestling in padded suits. These small steps go a long way to keep things exciting, fun and memorable.
With all of the extravagant teambuilding events and activities out there, it is important to ensure that you are doing what is best for the overall success of your meeting. Know what success looks like to you — whether that is building relationships among your team, fun or relaxation — and stay true to that overarching goal. You don’t have to go big to create a memorable experience, and it is most important to arrange experiences that support the values of the organization and resonate with your participants. I&FMM