7 ways to successfully include humour into teambuildingPosted on: 20/01/2020
Humour is a key component of any teambuilding event. It breaks the ice between different levels of the organisation or between different departments who may be meeting up for the first time in a long time. This is all well and good, but if you are taking on the potentially onerous task of organising your team`s next teambuilding event, how can you be sure that the humour is going to be used in the right way by your event provider? Here is Black Cat`s 7 point guide to humour and when to look out for it from your side and how Black Cat uses it from his.
1. Evidence of humour: I have been to numerous teambuilding events and have become adept at knowing quickly whether the event was going to keep me engaged or turn me off quicker than a 3 minute egg timer! Whoever is making your booking may have the opportunity to assess which extreme is likely.
Recently, I was advised by Sainsburys that I was the top buyer at my local store of small bags of Apricots for the whole of 2019! Now some might say that shows slightly excessive sharing of marketing information, but it made me laugh as the email included a congratulation, a golden trophy and some exclamation marks to show they wont taking this too seriously.Now, admittedly, I am not employing Sainsburys to run a teambuilding event, but I am very keen to try and hold on to my position as top Apricot eater in 2020!
2. Arrangement of humour in your event: Wait!..before you think that organised humour is the worst type of all I mean that it is valuable to know that your event company is going to use it. Here at Black Cat I give the option of personalising teambuilding treasure hunts by including photos and info relating to fun facts about and provided by participants. This always works as a quick win when you are prepared to show your colleagues your haircut from 2001 or possibly admitting that you have a quirk of locking-unlocking and locking your front door every time you leave home! It is the perfect way to discover that the faceless person from Finance who you normally only speak to on the phone has a real personality.
3. Integration of humour: Now you have established that humour is going to play some part in effecting an improvement or lead to teambuilding, it is also important to know how that will be achieved. It is useful to give advance notice that the release of humourous info or photos and their use is optional and will be done subtly. Being the butt of everyones amusement unannounced and publicly will definitely achieve the opposite effect from that desired.
Black Cat uses the info received as a starting point for the questions,challenges and general presentation of the hunt.The intention is not to embarrass, but to applaud that individual. Once the outcome has been seen by that person they will not only become your supporter, but they will try hard to answer/complete the relevant question/challenge that they are involved in.
4. Meeting point humour: This can be a tough one, but if handled well by the event provider can set the standard for the rest of the event. Black Cat always allows you to choose where you want to meet. Often from a hotel or sometimes from a restaurant or pub. Your colleagues should be relaxed, comfortable and intrigued rather than apprehensive as to what is in store. My own view is to thank the attendees for either bringing good weather/making it downstairs on time/finishing your drinks by the start or whatever seems appropriate to the group to get a quick laugh before the start. Distribution of the hunt fairly soon after introductions is normally a good next step as the teams can see their photos and info.
5. Break the rules: Law breaking is of course frowned upon in the workplace and rightly so, but in the context of a competitive treasure hunt there is carte blanche to use this to my advantage in a humourous way. I am often asked at the start if there will be any opportunities for bonus points with the expectation I will say `No`. However, generally I will say I am open to bribery and corruption come marking time and alls fair in love and war during the hunt. This slightly unexpected reply will break any remaining tension and gets teams ready to start.
6. Post event humour: When teams return to their hotel or pub the mood should by be relaxed and jovial. Teams should be encouraged to grab a drink (offering discounts can help...that is for another blog) and then either appoint one person or discuss the photos/video clips (of challenge completion) as a whole group with Black Cat. I aim to appreciate strongly their creativity, but also pick up on any glaring mistakes. For example one team recently had a Frenchman on their team who failed to translate a challenge properly that I had included that was written in French! May take him a while to live that down!
7. The Round Up and Prize Giving: It is key at this late stage not to spoil all the good work that has gone before in making this a fun event and contributed to the goal of teambuilding. Comments about each team`s performance should focus on their best moments even if they have trailed in a distant last. The tightness of the group as a whole will undoubtedly pick up on any losing teams weaknesses! Prizes or should I say high quality prizes should not be the main aim for taking part or choosing the activity. I normally include postcards for the losing teams and sticks of Rock (I`m referring to events in Brighton here) for the winners- if they are not local companies. This `expense spared` routine will give the final laugh and make those who came last feel better about things in that they have not missed out on an all expenses paid trip to Bali. Having said that some companies do like to upgrade what I provide on the prizes front!
For a fun and amusing teambuilding event contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org