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Tactics To Make Your Team Event Legendary


Authors of Legendary Away Days Karen Cooley and Kirsty McEwan have put together a step-by-step guide for planning, organising and evaluating a team-building event.

Building strong, responsive teams is one of the key factors in putting your organisation ahead of its competitors.

Yet even when the commitment and the will to succeed exist, hidden pitfalls lie in wait to foil the best intentions of managers and team leaders.

A key to negotiating the pitfalls and ensuring success is to follow best practice throughout the challenging process of planning, designing, delivering and evaluating team events.

We have put together three checklists to help you plan and evaluate a team-building away-day.

Checklist 1: Organising your Thoughts

* Will an external venue be preferable, or is it more appropriate to hold this event in-house?
* What message do we want to convey with this event? What type of venue will do this most accurately?
* Is this type of venue available at a price that fits our budget?
* Are we aware of the venue’s cancellation policy? What is the latest date on which we could cancel a booking without charge?
* Do we need syndicate rooms? How many? Is there a cost involved for them? If so, is it realistic for us?
* How will we resource the event? How many participants are we expecting?
* What activities will we be running? What impact will this have on the level of support needed to help facilitate the day?
* Have we identified and appointed a ‘runner’ for the day? Have we discussed our requirements with them so that there is no room for confusion or ambiguity?
* What room layout(s) will we need? Has this information been communicated and confirmed with the necessary parties?
* What equipment will we need? Have we confirmed that it will be available at our event? Who do we contact in the event of breakdown in the equipment?
* What are our start and finish times for the event?
* Have we agreed menus and details of refreshments, including timings, with the venue? Have we checked whether there are any specific dietary requirements amongst our participants? If so, have these been communicated to the catering providers?
* Have we decided whether there will be any pre-event materials? If so, have we arranged for sufficient copies to be printed and transported to the venue?
* Have we decided on our handouts for the day? If so, the same questions apply.
* Will we need any other materials for the day? If so, have these been ordered or purchased in good time?
* Will there be any post-event documentation needed? If so, what checks have we put in place to ensure that these will be circulated as soon as possible after the event and that they are completed and returned?
* Have we settled on an appropriate style and wording for our invitations? When will invitations be sent out? Are we inviting the right people to the event? Have we addressed the key points and inclusions on our invitations?
* Have we sent out clear guidelines on appropriate dress code for the event?
* Have we tried to guide people’s expectations about the event as accurately as possible?
* Are there any other points that we should note in respect of this event?

Checklist 2: Using Speakers or Specialists

* When can you meet them?
* Can you identify what, precisely, they will add to your event?
* What type of industry experience do they have?
* Is their industry experience relevant to your team?
* How much relevant experience do they have?
* Have they taken an accurate brief? Can they help you with the design of your event?
* Will they let you watch them work? Although this may not be possible if other clients won’t agree, hiring in external experts solely on the basis of recommendation without at least meeting them is a risky business and we advise against it.

Checklist 3: Evaluation After the Event

* Reaction – gathering participant reaction immediately after an event.
* Learning and rethinking – assessing changes in knowledge skills or attitudes with respect to the event’s objectives and purpose.
* Behaviour – evidence of changed ways of behaving or doing things differently as a result of the Day.
* Results – measurable impact on the organisation and the bottom-line contribution of the event such as quality of product or service.

Legendary Away Days; the complete guide to running successful team events by Karen Cooley and Kirsty McEwan is published by Gower and is available with a 10% discount off its normal price of £55 on the Gower website.


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