by Morton D. Rosenbaum | February 01, 2005
Scavenger huntFew team-building exercises sound more enjoyable than an old-fashioned scavenger hunt. But all too often, the theory proves more exciting than the actual excursion. To stage an effective activity, heed the key to successful hunting and don’t put too much stock in the thrill of winning, advises Bret Watson, founder of New York City-based Watson Adventures ( “Only one of your teams will win,” he points out. “The trick is to keep it fun the whole way through, so that at the end of the day, everyone’s had a great time.” Some advice to ensure a successful hunt:
    " Set enjoyable goals and tasks. “Don’t have your attendees trying to get a napkin signed in some bar,” says Watson. “Give them something fun to do or see, or you’re wasting their time.” Watson recommends holding hunts in museums or conducting citywide excursions that focus on genuinely engaging landmarks.
    " Keep the teams small. Ideally, groups should have six to eight participants. “More than that can barely walk down a sidewalk together,” Watson notes.
    " Encourage creativity. Organize a photo tour, for example, that prompts attendees to do more than huddle pitifully around a statue. “On our tour of Little Italy, we told the teams to find the perfect backdrop and take their best picture posing as ‘wise guys,’” says Watson. “We got some hilarious photos out of that one.”
    " Keep clues and questions simple. “Don’t make it so hard that they’re frustrated,” Watson says. “Frustration is a total joy killer.”
    " Don’t make a day of it. A good hunt should last about two hours, Watson says, and certainly not longer than three.