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Corporate Team Building Beyond the Bullets

Team Building - Inscription Through a Magnifying Glass on old paper Background

You must seek the proper balance between message and material,” caution Ray Anthony and Barbara Boyd in Innovative Presentations for Dummies. The authors bemoan the fact that “modern presentations lie trapped in a “black hole” of text-heavy slides read by presenters.” Engaging presentations they caution, must combine creativity with  technology.

Finding a good balance between message and material is an even greater challenge when the goal is team building, Christian and Katalina know. Since they are tasked by an organization or company with guiding the employee group to arrive at solutions, some background research and then opening discussion with the group must begin the teambuilding process.

Anthony and Boyd list a number of questions to be tackled:

  • What is the importance of the problem or opportunity facing the group?
  • What are the main issues (in priority order) revolving around it?
  • What has been the issue’s prior history?
  • Does the problem or opportunity require quick, decisive action?
  • What departments and people in the organization are impacted?
  • What changes will be brought about by the solution and when will those changes occur?
  • What are possible negatives from best-case to worst-case that may impact current systems and processes?
  • What internal organizational issues, politics, or cultural aspects may impede implementing a solution?
  • What are the short term and long term costs and what savings can be achieved?

Of course, Anthony and Boyd are talking about presentations that one or more people “give” to a group. Teambuilding, as Christian points out, is far more interactive, with interaction among the team members itself forming the beginnings for the long term “solution.”

According to human resources service organization ERC, companies use team building activities to improve communication, boost morale, motivate, and improve productivity. IRC lists four main types of team building activities:

  1. Communication
  2. Problem/solving/decision making
  3. Adaptability/planning
  4.  Trust buildingWhile team building activities traditionally take the form of games, moderating a group discussion can be extremely valuable. As a leader, Katalina models the behaviors and attitudes she and Christian are trying to create within the employee group.

    Anthony and Boyd’s list of “Ten Traits of Innovative Presenters” is highly apropos for team building moderators:

1. Coherence: Make sure each point covered is necessary and adds value.

2. Curiosity: Keeping an open, eager-to-learn attitude towards the subject and towards the audience (in the case of team building, towards fellow participants)

3. Enthusiasm: If you’re enthusiastic about the topic, the others will be, too.

4. Generosity: Actively listen in silence when others are speaking and commenting.

5. Honesty:  Don’t be afraid to say “I hadn’t thought of that.”

6. Humility:  Remember – comments, questions, or even someone leaving the room aren’t about you, but about the topic at hand.

7. Innovation: Look for ways to present your point in a new or different way.

8.  Preparedness: Be prepared for technical difficulties or interruptions and stay calm.

9.  Punctuality: Show up ahead of time and keep the meeting moving.

10. Readiness: Begin planning as early as possible for the session and plan how much time is to be allocated to each step of the exercise or discussion.

In designing and leading team building sessions for employee groups in many different corporations and nonprofit organizations, Christian and Katalina remain highly aware of
the many and innovative applications of technology that are available in the modern workplace.  At the same time, there is a need to pull employees’ attention away from “the bullets” (the bullet points on the Power Point slides). Through skillfully guided interactions, the two master leaders are out to enable employees to engage with one another, building strong teams to manage change and realize organizational goals.

– by Rebecca of the Corporate Events Indianapolis blog team

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