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Bad Team Building Events: How to Avoid Embarrassment

Published October 2017

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Team building is a bit of a marmite subject with most people. Love it or hate it, most of us have experienced a bad team building event at least once in our careers. At best a bad event is simply a waste of time and money but at worst it can actually lead to disengagement within a team. 

So why do so many people get it wrong? Part of that is down to the fact that so many established team building companies have been selling poor quality events for years, it’s almost become the norm. So how do you avoid embarrassment at your next event?

What’s fun for some is often miserable for others. Not everyone is great at athletic activities so a full scale out of bounds weekend might not be ideal if you have a mix of ages and abilities in your team. Although we offer a variety of outdoor activities for corporate events, the equipment we use, such as lightweight shotguns for clay pigeon shooting, means that everyone can take part and can be successful at our activities.

Nothing’s worse than being singled out at an event. It’s surprising how often we have seen event organisers from other companies (not to be named) making fun of participants who are struggling to get the hang of something. This is not an approach we take. Our friendly staff are supportive and seek to motivate and encourage groups to work as a team to succeed. At our team away days no one is put on the spot or ‘volunteered’ to demonstrate in from of their colleagues. Plus the puzzles and challenges we use in our events are designed to test a variety of skills so there is bound to be something that everyone is good at

Poorly themed activities are also a real event killer. Whether it’s a knock off of ‘game of thrones’ which makes you feel like a participant in a cheap role play game or an ‘I’m a celebrity’ themed bush tucker trial which sees your colleagues gagging over a bowl of tripe. These activities are often poorly run and leave staff feeling short-changed. 

Even worse are the murder mystery evenings with cheap costumes and a requirement to perform your role at dinner. If you have a team of inspiring actors and actresses then it may be for you, however from experience we have found that these types of events are not popular with the majority of delegates and leave teams running for the bar at the first opportunity. Safe to say these are best to be avoided.

So what are our top tips to avoid embarrassment at your next event:

  • Know your audience - pick activities that suit your team’s personalities to ensure your event is a hit with your colleagues.
  • Ask for photos - a good team building company will be able to share images from past events so you can see what you’re getting. If they only have stock photos - don’t book!
  • Avoid event companies that offer too much - chances are they are a jack of all trades and a master of none, or they outsource, either way you can’t be sure of the quality. 
  • Think about the weather - given the UK can be rather wet and windy, think about the time of year you’re organising an event for and plan accordingly.

If you’d like some help organising a team away day or would like advice about the best type of team building activities for your staff, please get in touch. We’d love to help and are determined to change the way people feel about team building events. We promise we won’t ask you to sit in a trust circle or stand up and sing.

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