Unique International Team Building: An International Fair
by Anne Thornley-Brown, President
Executive Oasis International
When organizations go global, fostering an understanding of the culture and business etiquette at your various locations becomes crucial. How can you do this in a unique and inspiring way? A half day international fair with interactive team building is an approach worth considering. You can offer this as a stand alone or as an add-on to any conference, retreat or sales incentive trip.
An International Fair: An Innovative Affordable Team Building Approach
How to create a splash with an International Fair
It’s very simple.
- Identify the key locations
- Invite tourist boards from the various locations to set up displays and interactive exhibits featuring country profiles, business etiquette guides, DVDs, and toys and challenges, and, of course, give-aways
- Divide your group into cross-functional and cross-regional teams representing the various regions from which you have drawn your exhibitors.
- Kick things off with a food court featuring cuisine from around the world. Start with finger foods. After revealing your main space, provide heartier fare and invite people to sit at the table that has been designated for their teams.
- Open and reveal your main event speace with a splash. A showcase of Native Canadian culture or Lion Dancers is the way to go for maximum impact.
- Have something small and sweet (such as country specific candies) at each display.
- Design interactive an team building exercise consisting of general trivia relating to all the countries and giving participants and a chance to explore no more than 2 of the countries in depth. To keep it simple, have circuits with no more than 2 exhibitors and 5 teams per circuit (e.g. Asia, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean). You’ll need about 2 hours.
Postpone alcohol service until after your team building so that participants are clear headed and focused enough to move smoothly and easily through their circuits.
- Offer a cultural showcase featuring dancers, singers, and musicians from various destinations throughout your international fair.
What you feature will depend on the countries you have selected to exhibit. Here are some examples. For Middle Eastern exhibitors such as Dubai try belly dancing, for Jamaica, include a traditional mento band, and if you’ve included a European circuit, tap into some of the classical and folk music.
- Have lots of door prizes and spread them out throughout the session.
- Return to the food court for a cornucopia of desserts from around the world.
- Identify the winners for your team building, one winner per circuit so that there are lots of prizes to go around.
- Close with a bang. Whether it be Lion Dancers or Samba and Capoeira from Brazil , it’s important to go for maximum impact and leave participants with something truly memorable and meaningful.
Planning an International Fair
How much time do you need to pull your international fair together?
You’ll need about 4 months if all participants are in the same city or country and a minimum of 6 months if participants are coming from around the world. Streamline your planning committee and process. Have no more than 3 people on your committee which will be your core group with decision making authority. Form a sub-committee of no more than 6 participants to assist the core group. There role will be to brainstorm, research, contribute ideas and execute the myriad of tasks that go into pulling off an international fair with success. Select your venue and caterer in the first 3 weeks. You can tweak the menus and detailed specifics of set up and agenda later.
How much should you budget?
Based on a group size of 200, about $160 – $175 per person should cover everything except transportation to the venue (if required).
Effective Team Building and a Memorable Event to Inspire Your Team
An international fair with interactive team building can be created at any location around the world. With these simple steps you’ll create highly interactive teambuilding and a memorable event that will inspire your team for years.
If you need help in designing, planning and organizing an international fair or any other international team building or event, please don’t hesitate to contact Toronto based Executive Oasis International: