Who knew that one day I’d become an Event Planner? It wasn’t a core course during my Engineering degree, or subsequent Marketing courses. No-one ever told me that I’d need to be able to herd cats for a week, keeping a group of 100+ Sales people fed, educated and entertained. But it turns out that it’s one of the more interesting and rewarding aspects of the Marketing role.
Here’s a few of the things we did earlier this month to help our new Sales team get to know each other.
A Shared Experience
Do you want to take 4 or 5 groups of people, and give them a reason to mix and mingle? Maybe you should put them all on a boat, and give them something to talk about – in our case the Manhattan skyline. Spirit Cruises made this one easy – rent their boat and they provide food, entertainment and some of the best views on the East Coast. Everyone has something in common to talk about – the WOW factor of the Statue of Liberty up close – and by the end of the night, the individual groups had merged into one excited group. And we were all still talking about it the next day.
Some Lively Competition
Have you ever met a Sales guy who’s not competitive? Me neither! So what’s better than a go-cart race to get the blood pumping. Pole Position Raceway provided a great venue with electric carts in a fantastic indoor circuit. Immediate – and intense – rivalries were created, and everyone was rooting for someone on the track. A great bonding experience, which was made even more memorable with the arrival of the Taco Truck.
Laugh a Little
Did you know that there are “Corporate Comedians”? We invited Tim and Kris O’Shea to talk to the team about “Change Management”, and they brought a unique angle to our meeting. With The O’Shea Report, they gave a humorous perspective on some of the challenges found in the work environment. Not only was it a way to break up the possible monotony of Product Training, but Tim and Chris customized the program to the specific needs of our company and made it relevant to the day. Take a look at their hilarious video.
A Common Cause
Team building exercises are fun, and sometimes even help to build a team (!). But they are easily forgotten. The Leaders Institute has an interesting twist. In their 2 hour Build-a-Bike workshop, we had a few of the usual games and challenges, leading up to the group assembling some bikes. But the biggest payback came at the end when 16 kids from the local Newark YMCA came into the room and were given these shiny new bikes to take back to the shelter with them. The excitement of the kids’ faces will stick with us all for some time to come – and gave us yet another shared experience. (I’ll be honest though – the facilitation of this session wasn’t great – you might want to look at alternate providers for a similar event)
These are a few activities that worked well for us. I’m always interested to hear other ideas – please share yours.