Activity Life Span

When you think of teambuilding, many people think of a variety of games and activities that result with groups being more productive, cohesive, and maybe even friends.
These games and activities can be fun, but have you ever participated in something and after a while it got boring? It can be hard to regain momentum especially if you are the one leading the group. Having a good list or a well sequenced list of activities isn’t enough. A successful leader knows when to end an activity and move on to the next to keep a group interested.

If you check out the bell curve above you’ll notice the 2 axes are labeled “Level of Engagement” and “Time Elapsed.” As time passes, hopefully, your group becomes more engaged or interested in the activity. Eventually the engagement level will drop off as people get bored. Once a group gets bored any number of things can happen; people become cranky, people will have a negative memory about the activity, and some people will check out completely and once that happens it can be really hard to bring them back and continue with the rest of the activities.

The trick I learned was to end an activity just after the peak of enjoyment. The bell curve is a great visual aid to understand that. At the peak of the bell curve is where the group is having the most fun or is the most engaged. Let’s look at the simple game of “Tag.” If I was teaching a group how to play Tag, I would explain the rules, start the game, and observe the group. Most times I engage in the activities as well, but I am constantly watching to see how people are interacting with one another. Once I see two or three people start to drop out or slow down, that is my cue to wrap it up, and wrap it up fast. As people drop out, others will follow. I may give a 10 second warning that the game is wrapping up, and then I end it (Point of Termination). Most people in the group are still having fun and that is the key: Leave them wanting more. They have had fun with this activity and they will be excited to see what you have for them next.


P-blo Camp Director said…
Dang Val, I think the optimal point of termination for that blog entry was middle of the second paragraph ... check your bell curve. No, seriously though that was really interesting to read and made a great deal of sense. I think I am going to use your teaching technique as a great example of how to lead activities at camp. Thanks!

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