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Tribe Building Event.

Connect because you can.

Intro

Great organizations show their people they care about building meaningful relationships at work by carving out actual time to let people connect.  It’s one thing to say, “Hey, this stuff is important and we encourage you to make the effort on your own time.”  It’s a whole other thing to say, “Hey, this stuff is important, and to prove it we are willing to take time from work, so that we can invest in those relationships.”

How does it work?

Quick tips before you get started...

 

TIP #1 - We strongly encourage you to make this a regular thing as opposed to a “one off” event that you never do again.  We say that because “one off” events often make people feel like their organization is just trying to “check a box”, rather than making the type of longer term commitment that shows they are serious about this stuff.  

 

TIP #2 - We recommend dedicating at least one hour at the very least to each Tribe Building Event, as anything less than that won’t allow the time it takes to build meaningful relationships.  


TIP #3 - Tribe Building Events can happen either in person or virtually.  It will come as no surprise that we always lean toward in-person events, but if that is not possible then by all means feel free to do this online.  If you choose that path, please ask all participants to turn on their cameras.

 

 

Step 1 - The Invite 

 

 

 

 

 

The way in which you get people out to this event is up to you, but we would like to offer a few things to think about before you begin.  To be completely candid, the best approach for making this a highly attended event is to make it mandatory.  Don’t worry, after people show up they will be glad that they came.  So, if you are able to get “buy in” from the leaders of the various departments who have the clout to “force” participation, then you’re off to the races.

 

If that isn’t available, then you will still want to get those same leaders behind this by strongly encouraging the members of their respective teams to get involved.  To do that you will want to create an invite that is appealing to the eye, and entices people to participate.  A simple graphically designed PDF is more than enough, and shouldn’t take you too long to put together.  Tell everyone the what, the when and the where, and most importantly let them know why this event is important.  Remind them that getting to know each other personally makes going to work more fun, and is an important investment in their own physical and mental health.  Throughout The Human Connection Group website, feel free to cut and paste any of the research that we’ve offered into your invite that offers even more proof that these kinds of events matter.

 

Step 2 - Opening Remarks 

 

 

 

 

 

When bringing people together, we understand the temptation of wanting to use that time to make unrelated, yet important announcements.  We encourage you to avoid doing that as it takes away from why you are there, but if absolutely necessary, make it quick! Just remember that you want this event to be special, and for it to feel distinguished from other gatherings your group has become accustomed to in the past.  

 

Speaking of which, why not make this extra special by starting off with something they aren’t used to.  Perhaps a story from one of your leaders where they share a heartwarming moment when one conversation changed the course of their life.  Or maybe there is room for a participant to offer up their personal feelings about the importance of human connection before people jump into their own conversations?  However you choose to kick off your Tribe Building Event, just be sure to start on both a positive and meaningful note.  

 

And finally, during your opening remarks make sure you clearly communicate what the Tribe Building Event is, why it’s important, what they stand to gain personally and professionally, and ultimately the positive impact it will have on the organization.

 

Step 3 - Get Them Talking! 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s time to ignite some powerful conversations between the incredible members of your group!  If you are connecting within a virtual space, be sure that the person at the controls knows in advance how to break the audience up into smaller groups.  If you are bringing your people together in a live setting, give some thought to the room in advance, and be sure that you have a big enough space for people to spread themselves out into separate conversations.  A bunch of people talking in a small space can get pretty loud!

 

So, the opening remarks have been made, everyone understands why this is important, and now it’s time to establish the rules of engagement.  At this point you will want to tell your group that they will soon be breaking out into smaller groups to enjoy meaningful conversations by using interesting and fun conversation starters. Before doing that, remind them that the best conversations happen when people actively listen, give others a chance to talk and ask great questions.  Now that everyone is on the same page, you are now ready to break them up into smaller groups.

Note: 

 

From experience, we find putting people into small groups of three to be the sweet spot, but by all means if you want your groups to be a little smaller or larger, go for it!

 

How Do We Split Them Up?

First and foremost, don’t make it complicated!  Telling people to get into groups by finding those whose last name ends in the same letter is a very bad idea!   The most important thing to remember is that your goal should be to split people up in a way that allows them to speak to people they don’t often interact with on a daily basis.  We know that it’s never an exact science, and that there will be moments when long time colleagues find themselves in the same group.  Just try to set things up, so that this doesn’t happen too often.

 

You can achieve this by assigning numbers, colours, characters, stations, etc.  We know how smart you are, so we will leave that to you.  People will always be tempted to talk to those they know the best.  This is why it is important to hold their hands a little, and gently guide them into conversations with those they do not know, or know the least.  

 

Once they have found their group members, give them between 10 to 15 minutes to engage with each other before they move onto their next group.  If you look around the room, and everyone seems to be in deep conversation, by all means, let the time go a little longer.  Just keep in mind that the more often people get the chance to move into new groups, the more they will be able to connect with others. 

 

What Do We Talk About?

Below is a list of creative questions that will be sure to spark powerful conversations!  Most times, you will find that one question is enough to keep them going, but if you want to pad things a little, you can offer two questions per breakout session.  We suggest that you don’t give them more than two, otherwise you risk moving them away from great conversations, and instead toward a dialogue that feels more like an “interview”.

Final tips...

 

TIP #1 - Always be encouraging from the beginning.  Remind them that this isn’t a competition to see who is the best conversationalist, but rather an opportunity to invest in relationships that matter.

 

TIP #2 - Emphasize the importance of finding a good balance between sharing and listening.  Tell them that it’s ok if some people talk more than others, but make sure those who are more comfortable contributing understand the importance of listening and asking questions.

 

TIP #3 - Set the tone of your event with music.  There’s nothing more awkward than walking into a quiet room, where you know you will soon be asked to connect with colleagues you are not yet close to.  Music can help you soften the mood, and is a great way of setting a tone before your event even begins.  So, grab a bluetooth speaker, pick an upbeat playlist that ideally doesn’t contain lyrics, and make sure it’s playing in the background as your attendees walk into the room.

 

TIP #4 - Find a way to get everyone’s attention, because you’ll need it multiple times during your event.  When you finally get the room talking to each other, you will notice that things can get loud pretty quickly (this won’t be a problem if you’re doing this virtually).  For that reason, you will need a way of moving them into new conversations. You could use your bluetooth speaker by cranking the music up for a few seconds, or if you want something a little more subtle, you can invest in something like a small bell that can be rung.  We’ll leave it to you to grab their attention some way, somehow.


TIP #5 - Volunteers can make a world of a difference, and for that reason we strongly encourage you to consider asking a few colleagues for help in making this a big success.  While volunteers are great at handling some of the logistics, they are even better at supporting meaningful conversations.  In advance of the event, ask them to help you generate a powerful dialogue between employees by spreading themselves out into the different breakout groups to make sure awesome questions are being asked, and that everyone is getting a chance to share.​

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Wrapping up

After reading the instructions that we have provided throughout the Tribe Building Event resource, it might feel a little overwhelming, however try and not be daunted.  It might feel like there are a lot of moving parts to be considered, but after you get one event under your belt, you will see that it’s pretty straight forward.  We just wanted to make sure that you felt fully covered, and weren’t left with any questions or confusion to make this a huge success! So, you are now officially equipped to have your very own Tribe Building Event!  Go get em!

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