What’s The Best Group Size for a Team Building Program?

I’ve worked with team building groups as small as 7 people and as large as 1000 (although I wouldn’t want to do another group of 1000!). While there are pros and cons to both small groups and large groups, I believe there is a sweet spot. So, what is that sweet spot?

Team Building for Big Groups

Large team building groups naturally create high energy levels. During a competitive event such as an Office Olympics, you can feel the excitement and sense the energy. The adrenaline levels are high and people are pumped. Positive energy is infectious and participants are driven and motivated by those around them. Large group team building is exciting, powerful, noisy, and creates a wonderful atmosphere with a really cool vibe.

However, these large groups are not my favourite. An important goal of team building is to strengthen relationships while getting to know one another better. This doesn’t really happen when the group size is too big.

For me personally, I like to develop a personal connection with my guests. I like to build rapport. But this is impossbile when there are hundreds of people. There is simply no time nor opportunity to get to know everyone.

Team Building for Small Groups

I’d class anything less than 20 pax as a small group for a team building program. A benefit of small groups is that participants can work closely together and the activities can be more challenging and more intellectual. Close collaboration between participants is possible and this is a great way to strengthen relationships.

Participants are generally calmer and more conservative when there’s only a few of them. This allows the facilitator to form a close bond with the group and create a friendly and intimate environment.

However, these small groups often lack the high energy and excitement levels of large groups. There’s a certain ‘spark’ that is harder to find.

Team Building for Medium Groups

For me, a team building group with between 30 and 60 pax is the sweet spot. These groups are big enough that they create good energy levels but small enough that bonds can be formed and relationships strengthened. Just like Earth lies in the “Goldilocks Zone” (the perfect distance away from the sun to support life), medium-sized groups are the Goldilocks Zone of team building. For Goldilocks herself, Daddy Bear’s bed was too big, Mummy Bear’s bed was too soft but Baby Bear’s bed was…just right.

Getting It Right

There often isn’t a choice when it comes to group size. It will depend upon the size of the company, which department(s) are involved in the offsite, whether everybody will attend or just a small section of the workforce, and of course budget. The group size is determined by other factors, not by choice.

As a team building facilitator, it’s important to adapt to each and every group. It’s my job to make the event fun, constructive and engaging for everyone, regardless of the group size. My team building menu offers something for every group and I will make recommendations and design things to fit. It’s then on me to use the appropriate facilitation style for the group standing in front of me.