Team Building: how to organize it?

How to plan a corporate event

Team building is entering fully into global corporate culture. We have already explained what team building is, given ideas for choosing the right activity, and told the difference between team building and incentives. But there are many things to know about teamwork formats. Team Building: how to organize a corporate event that is both effective and exciting to experience?

There are more and more times when a team building event can play a decisive role in the organizational context. Do we want to reward the team for achievements? Do we want to incentivize employees to achieve more? Or do we want to build loyalty and create team spirit? In all these cases, team building is the necessary first step. In this article we give you ideas on how to organize team building in your company!

1. Corporate Team Building: educational or incentive?

First, we must be clear about the purpose and occasion of our corporate event. Do we want to train the team, integrate them, change people’s attitudes toward teamwork, stimulate positive behaviors and overcome resistance? Then ours will be training, which can be done through classroom training or through experiential learning methods (also read Wikipedia’s page on experiential learning on this topic).

Or do we want to reward employees by creating a memorable experience that improves team spirit and a sense of belonging to the company?… Then it will be an incentive event, suitable for the occasion of a company party or Family Day, or to welcome visiting foreign clients.

These are two different events, or even two different phases of the same corporate event that should not be confused at all.

Based on this first choice we will set the style of everything that will happen during our experience. So here are the questions we need to answer before we start planning a corporate team building event:


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Un post condiviso da Team Building Dubai (@teambuildinggulf)


  • What is the occasion for the event: a time of crisis and change or conversely a celebration of achievements and successes? On this will depend the style of the event and the attitude with which it should be handled.
  • What is the season in which the event will be held: summer or winter? On this will depend the choice of an outdoor or indoor format.
  • What is the time of day dedicated to the event? How much time is available? On this will depend the choice, the length of the initial briefing, and the spirit in which the activity should be handled: more intensely or more relaxed.


Who are the participants:

  • Members of the same company team, members of multiple teams, or customers of the company?
  • People from the same hierarchical level or different levels?
  • Colleagues from the same age range or belonging to multiple generations?
  • People from the same or different corporate culture and geographical background?


What are the reasons for the company to hold the event:

  • Too rapid and strong company growth, market crisis?
  • Merger or acquisition? Under these circumstances, people with different personal cultures and corporate cultures find themselves collaborating; managers of a smaller company find themselves communicating with people of “lower” rank with whom in the new reality they are on an equal footing. All this can create problems of incommunicability that must be managed in good time.
  • Meeting or convention between different task forces?

Choosing the right team building activity depends on all these factors and others that can be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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2. Experiential Training: how to choose the activity?

Team building activities are not all the same! There are a hundred different types of activities that can be held. We talk about outdoor, culinary, musical, creative, adventure and even “extreme” events – which one will be right for the occasion?

Formazione Esperienziale

It all depends on the purpose of the corporate event.

  • Training: to train and integrate new people into the team;
  • Action and Adventure: to “wake up” team members between conference activities, test collaboration and problem solving;
  • Music: to work on communication and listening to each other;
  • Creativity: to visualize the future of the company, make explicit and explain Mission, Vision and Values;
  • Cooking: to boost team spirit and practice division of labor while preparing the company lunch or dinner;
  • Urban Game: to let a foreign incentive group discover the area;
  • Social: to create team spirit while doing something useful for the community.

3. Location for team building: how to find the right one?

In the city, in the mountains, at the lake or at the sea: where do we want to take our Team? Once we have decided on the kind of team building we are going to organize, we find the location that presents the necessary characteristics. The location of the event has the key task of creating the right mood in the participants. What kind of location to choose then?

  • Exclusive and luxurious location: to impress top managers or important clients, or create the right atmosphere for a corporate party. But beware: each location has its own peculiarities, and glamour is not always synonymous with comfort. Bringing our clients to an authentic medieval castle will certainly create an exclusive and special setting, but we may be deprived of some of the technological comforts we are used to.
  • Rustic location in the countryside: to host an educational program in contact with nature and emphasize interest in ecological issues. Great for promoting informal communication and for hosting an outdoor team building event or training day on the farm. It may, however, be a limitation in terms of travel, and seem unsuitable for top managers.
  • Hotel in the city or near an airport: to be chosen mainly for the convenience of participants if they are coming from distant countries. This is why it will be useful for an incoming incentive event, especially if you then move to other locations.
  • Mountain cabin: perfect for action and adventure events. However, in this case one must take into account the distance and time needed to reach the location.

Is there any risk for the organizer? Yes, choosing the least expensive location, regardless of the level of service it presents. Instead, we need to think about how to organize a corporate team building in which the services are at the level of participants’ expectations.

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4. Corporate event: how to plan it?

The organization of the corporate event should not be underestimated. It is an important job, either done by in-house event planners and event managers or outsourced to external professionals.  While corporate event managers do not run these kinds of events every day or even every month, companies that specialize in team building know how to organize a team building. But if you want to do it yourself to design a team building: how to plan it?

event management

A lot of things need to be taken care of:

  • Design the event in all details;
  • Lay out a schedule and timeline that is structured but also flexible;
  • Get all the necessary materials and equipment in good time;
  • Hiring professional coaches;
  • Choosing additional service providers.

Regarding suppliers, too often there is a tendency to emphasize catering at the expense of other services. But everything related to the event must be given equal importance. Therefore, in addition to the location and catering, one must also think about gadgets to give to guests, audio and possibly video service, direction, service staff, and materials needed for team building.

How to recognize a good provider? Here is a list of the most important elements to consider:

  • No middlemen: it’s best to contact each vendor directly to avoid overcharges attributed by “handyman” communications agencies…who will then pay for the service to the same company we might contact!
  • Photo and video materials from previous events: if they do not exist, the vendor we are contacting has probably never organized such events. Do we want to venture to be his first clients-or perhaps it will be better to look for someone with experience?
  • Previous clients: it is always a good idea to check who our vendor has worked with before, and perhaps ask previous clients we are in contact with for their opinion of him.
  • Other organized events: what kind of events does our vendor usually work in? Does he specialize in what we are asking for?
  • Customization: is the service we are requesting from the provider designed and customized ad hoc according to the company’s needs, or is it something pre-packaged?
  • Flexibility: making changes in the course of the organization and responding to “crazy” requests from the client can be arduous for any supplier. But it is also a positive challenge that helps to find “ingenious” solutions and increase one’s experience. A true professional is not afraid of challenges and will be ready to cope with any sudden problem.
  • Behavior during the briefing: does the supplier show attention to the company’s unique needs? Does he listen carefully? Is he ready to cooperate in case of special requests?

How to test suppliers effectively? One can rely on the so-called “Van Halen Method” to do so.

Test the suppliers: the Van Halen method

Event organizers often complain about the “absurd” demands of clients. A classic example is music stars, who demand all kinds of bizarre services during their tours. Particularly famous for this reason are Van Halen. They always included a point in their contract that there should be a container of M&M’s backstage, but without brown chocolates, under penalty of immediate dissolution of the contract and full refund.

The musicians’ request seems absurd only at first glance. In fact, the Van Halen method serves a very specific purpose: to find out whether the organizers are careful enough to read the contract completely, down to the last clauses. If the vendor forgets to take off the brown M&M’s, this means that he is not thorough enough–and could make far worse trouble during the event!

Metodo Van Halen per scegliere i fornitori

N.B. We do not suggest providing instructions as bizarre as Van Halen’s, but it will be good to test the reliability of service and activity providers before organizing a corporate team building.

5. Team building: how to organize the conduct of the event

Finally, we reiterate: it is by no means a mystery how to organize team building internally within the company. Of course, to be successful and leave a good memory with the participants, a corporate event needs meticulous organization. Nothing should be left to chance; possible mistakes and unexpected events should not be underestimated. That is why it is important to:

  • make a checklist of things to do and materials to check;
  • assign and distinguish roles and responsibilities;
  • be present at all event venues (even if it means being in several places at once!);
  • coordinate the timing of catering, directing, sound and lighting;
  • pay constant attention to the needs and general feedback of participants;
  • stick to the day’s schedule: it should not be too hectic, but most importantly, there should be no “downtime” where participants can get bored and scatter.
Organize your corporate team building now!