In March my partner and I attended a conference for the network company we are involved in. After lunch we had a musical team building session. In 45 minutes, a room full of 3500 delegates came together in a hilarious, energising musical team building exercise.
The after lunch slump
We have attended the annual conference a few times. It is a fantastic, well-organised event that has motivational speakers, exciting business changes and recognition for those who have achieved various milestones within their business. However, no matter how uplifting the event, the inevitable after lunch crash makes an appearance. You try to fight it but the yawning starts as you try to stay focussed – we’ve all been there! So when the leader of the team building exercise came on stage, he had his work cut out to grab our attention and get our buy in for what was to come. This was not a problem and he had our engagement within seconds. I remember thinking “this is different for this event”. It was very clear that we were about to experience the energiser of all energisers.
Grabbing our attention
The team leader was able to grab our attention with a simple clapping exercise, breaking down the auditorium in to smaller but still large groups. The clapping in your group was done on his signal, with the objective being in time. Of course this did not happen and the feedback was delivered, sometimes to individuals with an appropriate level of humour, which had us all laughing from the outset. After a few minutes of bringing us together with various clapping routines, we were still not in sync. Then we were told that by the end of the 45-minute session, we would create an orchestra that would play a piece of music in time, as one team. We were both intrigued and excited. How were we going to achieve this?
Bring out the Boomwhackers
The answer was with Boomwhackers. Boomwhackers are light, coloured plastic percussion tubes in varying sizes. Tapping the tube on the palm of your hand creates the sound in the form of a musical note. The various sizes cover the range of notes. Once introduced to the Boomwhackers, the next task was to distribute one to each of the 3500 delegates in less than two minutes – a teamwork task within a teamwork exercise. Additionally, we were challenged with beating the time of the task from the conference the day before. Volunteers appeared down each side of the hall with large bin bags stuffed with the tubes. Everybody embraced the challenge, working fast to take a tube and pass the rest on. Our determination led to success and we beat the previous day!
Building through leadership
Now it was time to build the piece of music, bringing it to a grand finale. One by one, a team member from the company running the exercise came on wearing a coloured T-shirt that matched the colour of one of the Boomwhackers. When your colour came on stage it was your turn to learn your note and how it was to be played. Some were a single tap and others more. As the number of team members grew on stage, so the piece of music started to develop and come together. Every person in the hall focussed on their part, looking to their on-stage team member to guide them. The team leader, who constantly had us laughing with his feedback on our rhythm and musicality, coordinated all this. We were completely enthralled with what we were doing. Music can be so uplifting and being part of creating the music was giving us a real buzz.
The Grand Finale!
Just when we thought that we were coming to the end and feeling proud of our achievement, an additional section was added to the piece. Several of the head office personnel came on stage with drums. They were going to add a section halfway though what we had already developed. More fun and laughter ensued as they went through a pretend mini version of what we had done with the Boomwhackers. Whilst it was clear they had rehearsed prior to the event (their element was much more complex) it still added to the experience.
The 45-minute session was drawing to a close. In such a short space of time we had transitioned from a large uncoordinated team to a real time orchestra. It was time to play our piece from start to finish with the last note to be a single tap of our every Boomwhacker in the room at exactly the same time. For the final time, the team leader gave us our cue and the orchestra began to play. It was truly a magical sensation as the whole piece played beautifully right up until that final note. Would anyone miss hit and throw the whole piece out? The team leader brought his arms down in one final swoop as the auditorium brought their Boomwhackers to the palms of their hands – BOOM! Silence! Roars of cheers and applause! We had done it! Success was ours.
This event was provided by Creative Team Events – www.creativeteamevents.com
About the author: Stuart Dickson’s passion for personal development began in September 2013, when he joined a Network Marketing Company. Part of his development is increasing his spirituality and the many ways of doing this. His first blog, Happy Monday People was born from a project that came about from his personal development journey facebook.com/Happylifepeople