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By: Caroline Davis|May 18, 2017

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Employees dread boring team building events that add little to no value to their life. Another team pot-luck not only requires them to do work—cook or buy a dish to bring—but promotes forced conversation in a casual environment.

Get employees excited to work together with a team building activity that teaches real-world skills. Not only will events like this be valuable to your organization, allowing employees to learn more about one another and improve upon how they work together, but they’ll provide more value to participants as well.

Get inspired by the following ideas, which range from cooking to selling.

Self Defense Course

In 2006, there were 16 million reports of crime against individuals ages 12 and up in urban and suburban areas in the United States, according to the National Victimization Survey. A self-defense course will help your employees learn the skills they need to defend themselves.

The key is finding the right instructor. “It would be important know the instructor’s teaching style, attitude, methodology, and background to make sure she/he will not only deliver a reasonable workshop, but also that she/he fits with the culture of your workplace. Proper vetting is an absolute must if you’re looking for practical and competent self-defense training,” suggests Jeremy Pollack, self-defense expert for The Home Security Superstore.

To find the right instructor, ask for referrals from other companies and vet every option based on the specific needs of your company.

Culinary Group Experience

culinary team building eventAsk employees what they know how to cook, and you’ll likely get a short list from everyone with a few basics that they’ve mastered. Broadening their cooking skills with team-building events like the Salsa Showdown, Chili Cook-Off, and Just Desserts is both fun and educational.

During this event, co-workers won’t just work together to create their meal, but they’ll learn from one another—with managers learning from their employees and executives working side-by-side with associates. This gives everyone a chance to get to know one another and forge stronger bonds as company.

Solve the Fictional Problem

This is a simple team building activity that can be done right in your office. Break employees into small groups and create a fictional problem for them to solve. Have the group solve the problem together, writing a two -or three-sentence answer on a piece of paper.

Now, comes the fun part: “Have each member pass the sheet to the left and ask them to use the idea to create a new solution. Continue the pattern for a few rounds and see what the final results are,” explains Aubrielle Billig, with Small Biz Trends.

Teams will get to work together, while each individual employee is empowered to find a new solution that’s better than the first one.

Outdoor Skills Adventure

outdoor team building eventWilderness survival skills are important for everyone, whether your employees live in a big city or sprawling suburbia. Outdoors skills classes also serve as a great way to get everyone outside and working together without the confines of computers and email.

Check out programs like Bushcraft Adventure for your team. This particular program, from USA Adventure Activities, provides all the equipment and materials, including food and drink for participants. This makes it easy to plan and execute.

“Sell An Item From Your Desk”

This idea, from Process.St, is simple and perfect for every employee—we’re all selling in our life, whether we’re persuading someone to come to dinner or pitching a new potential client. The idea is simple:

“Call everyone to pick an item from their desk, and then come to the conference room. Now tell them they need to improvise a sales pitch for that particular item that makes the rest of the room compelled to buy it. Bonus points if they stay within the confines of reality!” explains Benjamin Brandall, of Process.St.

To make this a team building event, create teams of two of three and have each group choose just one of the products to sell together. Format the challenge as a bracket, with the winners moving forward to a championship round.

In the final round, executives choose the two products to be sold and the last two groups standing will have an allotted time to prepare—think 15 or 30 minutes. Whoever is most convincing wins all around.

Will You Bring the Real-World to Your Office?

These team building events don’t just help employees form stronger bonds; they also give everyone a chance to learn something new that can be valuable both in and out of work. Not to mention, they’re a lot more fun than the usual bowling or happy hour outing. Poll your employees to see which one they want to try first and give it a whirl.

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