Meeting Activities to Foster Team-Building

Looking to build better bonds between meeting attendees or even your association’s staff team? Here are some outside-the-box team-building activities to consider.

About a year ago a friend’s fiancé went to Vegas with his groomsmen to celebrate his bachelor party. Of course, there was gambling involved, but that wasn’t the thing the group was most excited about.

What the seven of them were most looking forward to was a visit to Dig This.

So, what’s Dig This? Well, it’s a playground of sorts, but instead of climbing or swinging, you get to operate a bulldozer or excavator for a few hours. The guys got to dig, push, drag, haul—even play a game “excavator basketball”—under the watchful eyes of instructors.

But, it turns out Dig This also markets itself as a team-building activity for companies and will custom design tasks to fit what organizations are looking to accomplish—whether building better communication or generating camaraderie.

I’m thinking it could also be a fun activity to consider offering to a small group of meeting attendees or even board members.

However, if driving around heavy machinery doesn’t sound like the right fit for your group, here are some other interesting team-building options worth checking out:

Get out. Here is one I’ve been wanting to try myself: escape rooms. It involves being locked in a room with about 10 people and then having 60 minutes to escape. But, in order to get out, you have to work together to answer a number of interconnected clues and riddles. The last solved clue usually reveals a physical key. According to an article in the New York Post, the growth of these venues has been exponential. Worldwide, they went from zero in 2010 to close to 3,000 in 2015.  The International Society for Technology in Education offered an escape room session at its June annual meeting in Denver.

Give back. Some of the best team bonding happens when employees not only get to work together but also when what they’re doing involves giving back to the community. That’s the idea behind Build-A-Bike, which brings groups together to build bikes for underprivileged children. In order to get the parts and tools required to assemble the bikes, participants must work together to complete puzzles and answer clues.  The Dairy Farmers of America has done this with their staff, board members, and other elected officials.

Cook it. It’s often said that people bond over food and drink. So, why not try a culinary-based team-building activity or competition? For example, at the upcoming American Fire Sprinkler Association’s Annual Convention & Exposition, attendees can sign up for an “Iron Chef” competition. Working in teams, they’ll be given secret ingredients and asked to create a dish. Team entries will be judged by the executive chef from the Gaylord Opryland Resort, where the meeting is taking place.

What are some creative ways you’ve done team-building with either your meeting attendees or your association’s staff? Please share what was most fun and worked best.

Las Vegas' Dig This. (YouTube screenshot)

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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