team building for 400 people

Posted on 2003-03-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-04
I am in charge of organising a team-work activity for few hundred people that are attending to a conference. The activity should be a team building; it have to take place in the conference room and/or around it (in the building that accomodates the confference). It have to be at least 1 hour long and at most 3 hours long.
Any idea, game description, url would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Question by:axlrose
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 8068604
a game?

Most of these involve having a task, where a group of people are split into smaller groups. Each small group does its achievement, then the whole group rejoins to evaluate. For you to do hundreds at a time, I think is a bit much. But more power to ya.

Why not try PBS site for your search. I'm sure many have already had such events, and they'd be full of ideas.

Suppose I told you that you were about to be dropped off in a strange foreign land, and you have a choice of bringing only one item, what would it be? Suppose the possibilities are limited, such as you get to choose between ten items, such as a nail file, a match, a revolver, a bible, .... Pick! It's survive or perish world!

The idea being that there's no perfect answer, but group members individually contribute a thought, and together must form a method of which answer best suits the group.  Later there's often a run down where some 'expert' can be quoted on why some answer is more right. But the groups do not need to disagree, just have right to hear if they would deduce as well as some quote expert.

Suppose you are in desert, after plane crash, and you've no idea where is what. Maybe like above, you get a couple little tools. Suppose you have canteen of water. Should you gulp it down or ration little sips? Should you stay where you are? Wait for help to arrive - hope it is soon? Or get up and go looking for civilization? Should you take a salt tablet?

Survival is among the top favored topics. For your need, there are several survival type websites. Between them your should be able to find some interesting Q/A's to last out your hour. Just remember your proposed goal, though, the Questions chosen should be something that not all members of group will instantly agree on, the goal being to allow them their chance to establish a consensus.

Now for you, you'd probably to well to prep them somehow, with some suggestions for both a possible method to allow each to express opinion, and to how some others have found path to consensus. When groups return, they can each submit to others the path they took.

Much depends on other goals involved. Perhaps someone wants leadership as a theme, so it would be suggested that each group have leader. Then - how was leader chosen? what did leader do well, and not do well, to achieve consensus. Is everyone in the group still satisfied with the answers submitted for the group?

Best - is make it as much fun as possible, so no one suffers from any disagreements.

Be happy, cheer and smile.

Author Comment

ID: 8070345
Thanks for the comment SunBow. But I still need some description of such an activity; You gave me only general ideas. Beside this, the game have to take place in the building or around it (maibe it would be possible to bring them all to a park around, but not much far than that).

LVL 43

Accepted Solution

TimCottee earned 1400 total points
ID: 8071066
I have done this sort of thing with over 1000 people, a mix of socialising and team-work. The basic idea is to give everyone a token which matches a small number of other tokens in the set. For example with 200 people you might have 20 different designs on a card (the last time I did it was with coloured blocks of wood marked with different patterns of dots). The idea is to locate all of those people with the same token, this involves people interacting and identifying the various tokens. Different team strategies may evolve as some may move around as an entire group whilst others may split up and look as individuals agreeing to meet at a specific place later. You should not make any of this obvious, this is part of the analysis later to determine the differences in behaviour and the pros and cons of each. Generally you would also award a small prize to the first x groups that turn up at a predefined place with all members of the group.

You can manipulate the size of the groups and the patterns to make this as easy or as difficult as you wish. You could combine this with something like a code-breaking or other task where in order to get the pieces you have to have all the elements together from the n different tokens. This allows you to extend the process and bring in the leadership/consensus process.
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Author Comment

ID: 8072557
Thanks, TimCottee

Your proposal seem to be exactly what I was looking for.
I will give all the points to you.
I will let you know, if you want, how everithing worked after the event.

Best regards
LVL 43

Expert Comment

ID: 8072637
It is always interesting to have feedback on how these things work, as I say last time I did it was with blocks of wood and dots, I can honestly say that I never plan to do that again with the same number of people. A simpler system of cards or paper tokens would work just as well. The key is that they should be big enough to be visible from a reasonable distance of a few feet but that the patterns should not be too discernible unless the two (or more) individuals actually have the opportunity to talk to each other to determine whether their token(s) match.
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 8226050
> the game have to take place in the building or around it

My reference was games that can be handled around a table with a few chairs, possibly permitting notes, attempting to reach a group consensus on some topic(s), possibly creating their own leader (often happens). (but usage of notes would be part of team decision).  I like that "around it" idea. I did not think you could given the size of audience and time limits, but weather permitting, letting the groups disperse to nearby areas, even outside under trees or sitting on benches (again, their choice) can help them open up, cluster as they will, and even reduce noise level (interference of loud members of other groups - allow them to add distance at their discretion).

Do let us know how it all went, for better or worse, we can all use a good lesson-learned.

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