So you have booked your retreat for your remote team and the day has finally come. So much to talk about, so many names to put to faces and opportunities for communication that usually happens through computer keyboards.
But what to actually do?
This retreat is a great opportunity to develop genuine relationships with your team.
Remote Team Relationships
Relationships are built over a long time. Cultivating team member relationships is vital to remote team success. However, the remote context lacks happy hours at the pub, weekends at the the tennis court, or ubiquitous water-cooler chatter, activities that traditionally nurture relationships over time.
That’s why you decided to take your team on retreat.
The best relationships are built on trust, and there are very few short-cuts to building trust. One of those short cuts is improvisation.
When we improvise with other people, whether it be through music, drama, sport or simply in a conversation, we are building trust. We must listen, respond, collaborate and engage fully in the people around us to create a dynamic and effective team.
If we fail to listen, try to push our own agendas too much or shy away from decision making then we are not truly part of the team.
Improvising a ‘scene’ with two people is a very dynamic process that involves a constant flow of attention, action and responsiveness (watch the live training for examples). We must be vulnerable and yet supportive. While we do not know what our scene partner is going to say next, we immediately accept it as true and build on their ideas.
Improvisation training is about getting up off your seat and joining in. We have all experienced the acute discomfort of the ice-breaker, the feeling of dread as we are condemned to say something in front of all our colleagues and potentially make a fool of ourselves.
In improvisation we do not ridicule, we celebrate.
Improv provides a supportive framework where we are encouraged to step gently outside our comfort zone, where everything you say or do is treated as the best thing to say or do, and where creativity, laughter and failure are all encouraged equally.
Somewhere in the thrill of creating a story with another person emerges something far more significant and long lasting. A shared experience of working together, falling together and then helping each other back up again cuts through many hours of small talk and starts to lay the foundations of genuine relationships.
And don’t underestimate the power of laughter. It may seem frivolous but it is in fact a social glue that binds us together and creates meaningful and long lasting memories.
Perhaps the week following your improv session you send a report to another remote team member, you won’t just have a name or a face in your head, you might just remember something funny, charming or outright weird that they said and it might just bring a smile to your face.
What We Do
The Maydays are one of the most established improvisation groups in the UK and the leaders in the development of improvisation as a robust and reliable corporate training format. We deliver workshops and development sessions across Europe and into the States.
We use improvisation to provide a dynamic, immersive learning environment for your team. The feedback we've received over the last 10 years reveals that people walk away from our programs with a deep sense of enrichment, increased self-awareness and self-confidence, and a heightened ability to function effectively and flexibly in the moment in a wide range of work situations.
By Joe Samuel. Director, The Maydays
Edited by Charlie Birch, Co-Founder and Director of Program Development at Rebel + Connect
Rebel + Connect creates custom retreats for remote teams. A Colorado based company owned and operated by Charlie Birch, Rachel McGehee, and Summer Weirich, we operate remotely and service clients from all over the globe. Join us as we create cultures of meaning and celebrate human connections in a digital world!
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