by Lisa Grimaldi | June 01, 2006

The following checklist was compiled with the assistance of Alexandria, Va.-based Catalyst Events (

Know your group

  • How large is the group? What is the average age of participants? What is the gender ratio?
  • Has the group participated in a team-building activity before? If so, did participants enjoy it? Why or why not?
  • What is the purpose of the activity? For example, is it intended to build camaraderie, strengthen a team or motivate attendees?
  • What is the group culture? Are participants academics (teachers, researchers), professionals (bankers, lawyers, doctors, executives) or creative types (writers, illustrators, designers)?
  • Do attendees typically socialize with each other outside of work, or do they rarely interact outside of the office or organization?
  • What is the overall personality of the group? Do attendees have a sense of humor, or do they tend to be serious in demeanor?
  • Is the group laid-back or fiercely competitive?
  • Do participants prefer adventurous outdoor pursuits, or are they more inclined to intellectual or indoor activities?
  • Will everyone be able to participate in activities, or will some be excluded for health or physical reasons?
  • Will members participate actively and willingly in a team-building activity, or will they have to be cajoled into it?
  • Choosing a supplier

    If you choose to work with a third party (destination management company, event firm, team-building firm) to develop team-building activities, consider the following.

  • Provide the company with as much information about the group as possible. Highlight the group’s particular strengths, weaknesses, reasons for team building and desired achievements.
  • Discuss the group’s goals, philosophies and objectives.
  • Is the sponsoring company interested in integrating personal goals into the overall team-building concept?
  • Is the supplier willing to customize a program to fit the group’s particular needs?
  • What is the largest group for which the supplier has created activities?
  • Does the supplier provide follow-up workshops to help attendees transfer team-building skills they learn to their jobs?
  • Can the company create programs to include physically challenged attendees in the activity?
  • Meet with the facilitator assigned to the group. Is he or she engaging and energetic?
  • Ask about safety precautions.
  • Inquire about liability insurance.
  • For outdoor activities, what contingency plans are in place in the event of bad weather?
  • For how long has the supplier been in business?
  • Ask for and check references.
  • Ask for a price breakdown of services.
  • Selecting activities

  • Are the activities interesting, challenging and fun?
  • Would they appeal to the group as a whole? Are any special skills required?
  • How much time is required for each activity? Consider the group’s agenda and how much time should be allotted to team-building events.
  • Are the goals of each activity realistic and clearly outlined?
  • If possible, observe another group performing the activity you are considering.