Experiential activities are having a moment at corporate events right now – and for good reason. An experiential activity involves breaking attendees into smaller teams which are given a challenging, yet fun task to complete. The task is set within an immersive theme that masks any connection to challenges currently faced by the organization. The teams are in competition with each other to achieve the best possible outcome within a set period of time. Once the hands-on portion is complete, a skilled facilitator leads a debrief of the activity. Attendees love them, of course – but so do executives. Here’s why.
Experiential activities work for a wide variety of audiences, regardless of age, experience, or role. By their very nature, experiential activities can be customized to use with front-line employees, managers, leaders, and executives — or the whole organization at once, depending on the goals.
They also work for a variety of corporate event objectives. Whether you’re trying to build trust and collaboration across the organization, create alignment on a strategy, or kick off an ambitious project on the right foot, experiential activities will fit the bill.
No one likes a slow death by PowerPoint, and even the best keynote speakers will lose people’s attention after a while. But when you use an immersive theme and a challenging task to get people out of their seats and out of their comfort zones, it can be transformative. When participants step into the experience, they shed the official expectations of job title and expertise, meaning they can bring their unique perspectives and personalities to bear on the task at hand. The time limits and element of friendly competition keep the energy high and the ideas flowing, and people can surprise their colleagues – and themselves – with their performance.
With experiential activities, the real power is in the debrief. Once the activity has concluded, a skilled facilitator leads a discussion that ties it back to the goals of the event. Essentially, the facilitator holds up a mirror that allows participants to reflect on both their own performance, as well as related situations within the organization. This can lead to some powerful moments of understanding as people connect how their behaviors impact – or could change – actual realities faced at work.
They Have a Lasting Impact
By definition, experiential activities are pragmatic challenges that require people to apply their skills and solve problems – which is far more effective than learning by reading, listening, or watching.
But even more impactful is the creation of a common language that can be used back at work to reinforce the learning outcomes and deepen participants’ understanding and application of the concepts. When you use experiential activities with a solid debrief, individuals feel a conviction to implement what they have learned, which leads to real, lasting behavior change. These changes, in turn, generate a measurable impact on the organization.
Make Your Next Corporate Event Count
Regardless of your objectives, experiential activities have a role to play in your next corporate event. They provide tremendous value for attendees, so they will be happy to invest the time away from their workload. They break down organizational silos, encourage teamwork and creativity, and are highly engaging from start to finish. With an effective debrief, they can create real behavior change for individuals and teams, leading to improved outcomes for the company. And they generate measurable return on investment. But don’t take our word for it – see what past participants and executives have to say about experiential events!