Here’s the deal with team building activities for large groups; they’re really hard to find. In fact, successful team large group team building is almost an oxymoron. Almost an oxymoron but not quite; and that’s the good news.
So if you do need to find great programs for larger groups they are out there. The best programs are specifically designed to work well with big groups. They’re fun, inclusive, productive and surprisingly, they really do bring people together. I’ve seen groups of over 1,000 share experience that makes everyone feel closer, creating the same kind of energy and exchange of ideas you’d expect from small group team building.
After I came up with the idea to write this blog, it actually took me a while to come up with five team building activities for large groups. My point is that if it’s hard for me to come up with five, I can understand why you may be struggling to find ideas for yourself. So here’s some help
Five Large Ideas for Team Building
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of scavenger hunts. But there are newer hunts and group challenges that use GPS, cool apps and technology to power outdoor activities that can be scaled up for large groups. We’re all glued to our smart phones aren’t we? So it makes sense to consider team building that allows you to use the techie devices we all love so much.
While team hunts or challenge activities can include a couple of thousand people, they really deliver like small group events since you will break into lots of small teams. With these programs, you’ll get the individual participation you want but you won’t come away with one big unifying experience shared by everyone.
One of my favorite team building activities for large groups is building with Lego® bricks. My good friend Jody Lentz facilitates Think With Your Hands which is a Lego activity.
I’ve participated in this program and I’ve also helped lead the program. I think it’s fantastic. You can do this in a ballroom with several hundred people seated at tables. You won’t get lost in the crowd because each table group will work together. You’ll build models that illustrate your current state and then you’ll build models that illustrate where you’d like your organization to go.
Everyone works individually with their own bricks at first. And then working with the people in your group, you’ll pull the best pieces of each person’s model to create an ideal model of what you’re all visioning. Talk about building the future; this is it!
After each group is done, the lead facilitator will tie it all together by comparing the different processes and varying results each table produced. You’ll come away with powerfully connected ideas about who you are and where you’re going.
Disclaimer that I’m about to talk about my own programs. But hey, I’ve spent a great deal of time developing effective team programs for large groups. We now have a long track record of success so this is real!
Songwriting is a unique blend of left and right brain activity. There’s real thinking involved as you share mission, message, identity and goals through the process of creating lyrics about your organization. There’s creativity and emotion involved as you set your ideas to music and perform. In fact, it’s the very combination of left brain/right brain engagement that make songs reach us in such a powerful way.
When you need to create a team building event for your entire conference in a general session or keynote slot a team song program is effective. Your entire group will create a unified performance as you perform and record the song you create together. Yet small groups will have a chance to work together on themes and ideas. Individuals will have a chance to contribute via live microphones and conference apps or social feeds.
My current land speed record for this event is writing a song with 1,700 people in 45 minutes. And it really worked. This program is a great motivator and morale booster. A rock star experience in which every attendee is part of the performance.
The songwriting program also works great when you want to divide your large group into teams. When splitting into teams, this program maxes out at about 450 participants.
People break into teams and each team creates and records it’s own song. After the small group songwriting, teams all gather together for a song competition. It’s always fascinating to hear how each team comes up with a different melody, groove, song title and lyric while sharing the broader common themes of your organization. This team program incorporates small team work with a unified large group experience.
My friend Duncan McGee leads a large group music team experience where participants co-create a symphony orchestra. Duncan has developed bamboo instruments that large groups can actually learn to play in a 30 to 90 minute session. Each bamboo stick creates a different musical note and when combined they create a melody. For example, you can perform the melody from Beethoven’s ninth symphony, the Ode To Joy.
If you want to stress collaboration across a large group this event is great. You’ll get individual team work but you’ll also share positive emotion and combined success for your entire group. You can find Duncan online.
I saved this idea for last because if I led with it you might think I’m just being lazy. But believe it or not, there’s value in taking everyone to a baseball game. However, you’ll only be satisfied with the value if this aligns with your goals.
Do you want to get everyone out of the office and mix it up in a different context? Do you want to share camaraderie to help open new lines of communication? Do you need to recharge by having fun? If these three goals are all you’re concerned with then you can definitely consider hot dogs, beer and home runs.
Need Help Finding Great Team Building Activities for Your Large Group?
I’m confident in each of the programs above. You do need to think about your goals and your people to find the best fit for your large team. But honestly, I’m so enthused about these five programs that I think you should do one of them each year!
If you’d like help finding the perfect team building activities for your large group we can help. We’ll craft the ideal program to energize and unite your group and we’ll make sure they have a lot of fun along the way.