The 6 secrets to team away day events

You either love team-building events or you hate them. I dislike team away-days that are full of back-to-back speaker presentations. But I’d love to go to a paintball team away day. My favourite team away days are the facilitated ones, where we chat, explore ideas, innovate, and plan our new way forward at work.

A facilitated team away-day can truly enable positive change. In my experience, it depends on these 6 things that any good facilitator can get right.

  • Interactive content: Engagement is essential. Even if it’s a chat box with questions. A one-way presentation might inspire – but you are looking for more than that for real change. Include questions, activities, and feedback moments.
  • Negotiated programme: Designing the content without negotiating it with your participants is a sure way to get a lack of buy-in. Have conversations with your participants in advance. Use the info from those conversations to shape your away day content.
  • Transparency: Be clear about the themes, challenges, or questions you want to address.  Don’t surprise people with a controversial, previously hidden agenda on the day.  

  • Safety: There’s a lot to think of here. Begin with good guidelines for learning, Covid guidelines, regular breaks, on-line security, and non-judgemental listening. Make sure that you keep your event a safe space for your staff to learn.
  • Make it matter: Follow up on whatever is agreed, in a timely manner. It is then apparent that your team days make a real difference

  • Finally, a bit of a personal preference…Argh – team building! Don’t call it a ‘team-building’ day. You know that people will resist that. Brand it right: Adapt your language. You could try… design day, lunch and learn, away day or development day. Anything but Team Building!

Read our tips for embedding equality and diversity into your learning events  

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