You’re an intelligent, independent, proactive human being. You lead a strong team in your workplace, and you truly care about how everyone feels and gets along. Heck, you’re probably attractive and funny, too.
So why the heck does it seem so difficult to put together a great team-building event? One that’s effective, efficient, enjoyable, affordable, memorable, and achieves the specific outcomes you want to accomplish… is that too much to ask??
It’s not, but it’s a lot easier to get all that with the help of a team-building facilitator. A great facilitator will evaluate your team, let you know the best way to accomplish your goals, and work within your preferred budget, activity level, and time frame.
Before you sigh and wonder where to find such a person, relax. That’s what Firefly Team Events is for! We have a team of amazing facilitators on staff ready to build the perfect event for you. But if you feel like branching out, we also recommend everyone on the list below. These are some of the industry leaders we respect, learn from, and sometimes even work with on a daily basis.
At Firefly Team Events, we’ve got your team-building facilitation, planning, setup, takedown, and debriefing covered. If you’re in the mood for a one-stop team-building shop, give us a shout.
6 Team-building Facilitators You Can’t Go Wrong Hiring
Firefly wholeheartedly recommends any of these corporate team-building facilitators:
1. Michelle Cummings
Michelle has been an industry presence in experiential education for a very long time. Whereas other facilitators sometimes make their best guess at how to serve a client, Michelle is an expert at evaluating a group and uncovering what it is they really need. If you have a specific outcome you’re hoping for, she can help you get there.
In fact, her expertise in the art of facilitation is so legendary, she has trained countless other team-building activities facilitators in addition to setting up resources on her website where clients can purchase the materials they need for workshops.
2. Chad Littlefield
Chad deserves a spot on this list because of the emphasis he places on “connection before content.” In other words, he’s incredibly focused on building connections that actually mean something in real-world scenarios. If your office has been feeling a bit cold and isolating lately, Chad would be a great pick for a facilitator. He’s also a versatile keynote speaker if you want to building connections at your next conference.
One of his best known tools is a set of cards, WeConnect cards, that provide ideas to spark quality conversations. We love this strategy, because it means everybody—from employees to managers to professional facilitators—can keep a resource at their fingertips that will allow them to encourage meaningful connections within a group.
3. Jenny Sauer-Klein
Jenny is the founder of The Culture Conference—not to be confused with the myriad other “culture conferences” out there. We’re talking about The Culture Conference.
One of the things we love about Jenny is her impressive ability to create intimacy in any group, no matter the size. If you have a large group in your organization that must work closely together, Jenny can help create an atmosphere where everyone knows and trusts one another.
Her other superpower is that she knows how to craft an efficient, meaningful experience from beginning to end. She doesn’t waste time on small talk or housekeeping during those first few crucial minutes of your event; she jumps right into building meaning and drives toward your goals and delivering positive outcomes.
4. Priya Parker
Every team-building coordinator on our list is fantastic, but Priya is a real rock star. She has a book called The Art of Gathering that effectively puts into words everything Firefly as a company tries to personify.
She was able to take her experience as a high-level facilitator in the realm of conflict resolution and put it down on paper for everyone to read, study, and use for their own purposes.
Whether you’re interested in hiring her personally or simply brushing up on some amazing intimacy-building and conflict resolution techniques, Priya’s website and book are great places to start.
5. Mark Collard
Mark is an Aussie, but we try not to hold that against him.
He founded the website Playmeo.com, which is an amazing resource for facilitators, managers, and employees (or anyone else who is interested) to come up with team-building activities, games, and challenges.
Mark is also just a truly delightful human to be around. His demeanor has a way of drawing folks in and encouraging them to open up on a deeper level. If you want to see why we love Mark so much, you can view some of his work on YouTube.
6. Amy Climer
Amy thrives in a creative space especially when helping groups learn how to find their own creativity. One of Amy’s most interesting offerings is a set of processing cards that helps users brainstorm activities, come up with deep, impactful conversation starters, or process experiences.. She refers to them as metaphor-style cards because they have pictures on them that can be applied to many different types of scenarios. They are a wonderful tool for facilitators, managers, and coaches.
Like some of the other people on this list, she also trains other facilitators, speaks at conferences, and hosts a number of creative workshops.
Thinking of DIYing an event without a team-building facilitator?
If we could give you just one word of advice: Don’t.
The truth is that you can pull off an effective team-building event on your own, but you’re putting yourself at risk of a number of pitfalls.
For one thing, nobody is ever as funny as they think they are. Just because you think you’re hilarious does not mean you can get up on stage and have your audience rolling.
More important than a few awkward silences, however, is the fact that you could actually be impeding the communication of your team.
When a person who is internal to the team tries to lead an event, it creates a barrier in participants’ minds. There are certain lines the leader can’t cross and certain things participants won’t want to say. This is doubly true if the person leading the event is also the team’s workplace leader.
For example, let’s say one of the reasons you’re holding a team-building event is to build trust among a group that doesn’t necessarily feel comfortable opening up to each other. It’s likely that everyone will show up already wearing their emotional armor, and they’re extremely unlikely to take off that armor and become vulnerable if the event leader is someone who can affect their daily work lives in a big way. An unbiased third party, on the other hand, is far more likely to get participants to open up and share their true thoughts and feelings.
Finally, opting to lead the event internally means you’re forfeiting all the expert knowledge, skills, and experience you’d get from hiring a professional.
If you’re on a tight budget, the trade-off might seem worth it. But at the end of the day, your event might not accomplish what you want it to. Isn’t it worth letting go of a few dollars to make sure an expert facilitator guides your team where they need to go?
If you’re truly set on doing a DIY event without a professional facilitator, that’s okay. We can still be friends.
Just keep the following in mind:
- Your event will likely be more successful if you have someone outside of the team leading the discussion. Turn to your HR people or a leader from an entirely separate department. Avoid selecting someone from the group in question to get up on that stage.
- Don’t make assumptions. We often find that internal event leaders pick activities because that’s what they think a group wants or needs. Whereas if you actually talk to your participants beforehand, you might find their preferences are completely different.
- Avoid coming into the event with formed opinions. The goal of a great facilitator is to draw contributions out from the group as a whole, not to impose their will on everyone. It can be tempting to try to steer the group toward a particular conclusion, but this is the opposite of helpful. You’ll know you’ve found success when the teammates put their heads together and come up with some insightful and unique solutions to problems—perhaps ones you’ve never even considered before.
We forgot to mention our (totally unbiased) favorite recommendation for when you need a fun, custom event: Firefly Team Events!
Almost every person on the list above is, in some way, a competitor to us at Firefly Team Events. The fact that we’re recommending these people should demonstrate how much we respect their contributions to the industry and value the results they get for their clients.
However, we’re no slouches at what we do—which is pretty much everything related to team-building. We handle the planning, facilitation, emceeing, and even setup and takedown for your event. Whereas most facilitators (even the folks mentioned above) can put together a fantastic team-building activity, their suggestions will only resemble part of what Firefly does.
That’s because we have not just one facilitator, but a whole collection of them. In addition to these talented people, we also have a ton of team-building activities that are time-tested and proven to accomplish goals. Simply talk to us about your goals, and we’ll take it from there. We can tailor your event toward building trust, improving communication, resolving conflicts, or any other outcome you’d like to achieve!
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