Vital, but often overlooked, components to a perfectly-executed team building event are the cooperation and support of the staff and management of the venue. They have the authority, local knowledge and resources to help create a flawless event from a logistical perspective. Conversely, they have the potential to hamper every sensible idea, add unforeseen obstacles and create unneeded stress for clients and ourselves!
While the exotic instruments and impressive sets provide the focal points of any session, they become useless if they are not set up and organised in time for your clients. Planning is critical but, even with the best planning, foresight and pre-site visits, unforeseen issues do crop up. Even though pre-arranged, sometimes within the many departments of the venue, things can be forgotten. Over the years, we have seen the best and the worst in venue interventions.
To help you organise the perfect day, I want to consider some of the most important issues to consider, starting with the ‘basics’ of on-site parking, site entry and noise considerations.
On-site parking is one issue that can make or break your day. As we often bring vans full of equipment (or people), this basic need is crucial, and yet there are substantial differences between venues. For example, some venues have ample space for large, high-top vehicles and, as soon as we arrive, there is a smiling welcome, a permit with your name on it and a space right near the door you need. Perfect!
Sadly, sometimes the venue has not conferred with the security office, and we are confronted by someone holding a clip board, shaking his or her head, and informing us that there is no authority to let us on site! After multiple phone calls, emails and mutterings, we are then allowed in only to find that the parking space is a mile from where the teambuilding event will take place!
Then, there’s the ‘get in’. Everything has been arranged on the pre-event site visit. All the equipment goes in one accessible door, along the short corridor and into the room. Easy! Added to this, we are promised plenty of space, a room nearby to store equipment cases and covers and all seems well. Unfortunately, on the day we arrive, we discover that the first door is alarmed. The venue staff cannot find the code, so another route is needed. Amazingly, the alternative route involves going through a fully-functioning kitchen, then a walled garden and finally up two sets of stairs!
Finally, it is important that the venue management is aware of the noise levels associated with our teambuilding activities, ice breakers and energisers. Because most of our sessions are performance based, they often involve accompanying music or sound produced by the group. This can be the lovely soft melodic tones of group singing, the chant of the Haka or the powerful rhythm of drumming.
Even though venue staff are explicitly told about each activity and the noise levels involved, occasionally they do forget, and then arrange to host weddings, aircraft pilot exams or business meetings right next door! One of the benefits of having activities that are not heavily dependent on equipment is that we can easily move to a more suitable part of the building.
Thankfully, these types of situation occur very infrequently, but when they do, it is important that they are dealt with quickly and discreetly to avoid adversely affecting the day. All our head facilitators have the experience to deal with eventualities of this sort before they have an impact on the session.
Let me leave you with two outrageous examples of how staff at a venue created havoc within the same teambuilding event, which I observed with my own eyes.
At the event, 1400 delegates had to move from a venue room to another part of the grounds to take part in some pre-arranged entertainment. The route had been meticulously planned and walked several times. As part of one long wiggling line, participants set off in the baking heat of the summer sun, on their ten-minute ‘commute’.
Imagine the absolute horror on the manager’s face when the leading group reached the previously-open large garden gates only to find them now locked! As the approaching delegates confidently marched towards this static bottleneck, horror turned to disbelief when the head of operations informed the manager that, unfortunately, the gardener had locked the gates. He had gone home for the weekend with the only keys!
At the same conference, delegates were enjoying their last night at their Gala. As they listened intently to their Managing Director, who was on stage thanking everyone for their hard work and sharing his views for the future, all the lights and sound equipment were abruptly shut off!
The AV crew were at a loss to explain what had happened. Not a button had been pressed or a switch touched by them. Down the hall, the in-house venue electrician had decided to cut off the entire power supply to the massive room next door, no matter what was going on. This was because of employment union rules concerning his working hours, and he wanted to go home! It resulted in a disastrous end to the conference and a total embarrassment to the organiser.
So, I urge you to choose your venue wisely! We are here to help with corporate event management. For example, we are happy to provide information on a range of high-quality venues. We are also happy to work with you on the detailed logistics for your event, to ensure that nothing can wrong. Having the right venue combined with appropriate preparation, planning and flexibility will ensure that your day is hugely successful!
For more information about our team events, please contact us.
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