12 Tactics to Control Team Exercises During a Training Course

1. In order to have a strong structure

Begin by explaining the rules of the exercise in detail. Put accent on the fact that it is imperative to follow the rules of the activity. Provide each participant with a printed copy of the rules. During the course of the exercise remind the participants frequently of the rules.

2. In order to have a looser structure

Acknowledge the fact that confusion may appear during the activity. Explain that the rules may be seen as merely guidelines and they do not necessarily have to stick to them. Do not present all the rules at once. Introduce the rules only and when they are necessary.

3. In order to have a faster pace

Start the exercise promptly and keep it moving fast. Set and implement time limits during the course of the activity.

4. In order to have a slower pace

Set and implement as fewer time limits as possible. If a team or person finishes the activity before the rest of the audience, insist that they revise their work. You may present a quality-check rule that reprimands participants and teams for superficial and sloppy work.

5. In order to increase competition

Establish a scoring system in order to recognize and reward efficiency and performance. During the exercise present the result of certain teams or persons. Appraise and reward the winning group with a significant prize.

6. In order to increase cooperation

Try reducing conflict among participants and teams by increasing tension and conflict between teams and external factors (for example: time limits). Create and implement a multiple criteria winner selection. You may appraise and reward teams for quality, speed, creativity and many more factors.

7. In order to have focus on the structure

Try improving the procedure of the game by adding fun game aspects that give it a more playful look, such as surprise twist or bonus points. At certain points in the activity, pause the exercise and revise the process. Accept suggestions from the participants to improve the procedure.

8. In order to have focus on the results

Establish a scoring system in order to recognize and reward efficiency and performance. At certain points in the activity, pause the exercise and revise the results. Stress the importance of reaching the objectives and results of the activity.

9. In order to pay attention to individual needs

In case participants are at different levels of knowledge and skills, try creating balanced teams regarding these aspects. Challenge the more timid participants to actively participate by offering extra responsibilities and information.

10. In order to pay more attention to group needs

In every group and audience you can identify the participants with dominant characters. Make use of their energy by giving them additional roles, such as writing on the flipchart or keeping score. Verify that each team has regular process checks so that every need in the group is satisfied.

11. In order to increase external control

Set specific actions to enhance attention before important announcements, such as turning off the lights. You may use fellow facilitators among the participants and teams to ensure external control.

12. In order to increase internal control

Assure participants that you are a facilitator and should not be seen as an expert. When asked a process question, such as: “What should we do now?”, redirect the question to the entire group: “What would you like to do now?”