Meetings Travel Specialists like those at Colpitts World Travel put a great deal of thought and planning into making corporate meetings both fun and educational, so it only makes sense that a gathering of meeting experts would be all that and more. This week I had the pleasure of joining my peers at the Meeting Professionals New England Chapter Summer Outing, hosted by Community Rowing (CRI) in Brighton. I had particularly high hopes for this event because I thought the idea of physical teambuilding was a brilliant way to bring strangers together to really get to know one other. While traditional networking cocktail parties have their place and certainly can be beneficial, being asked to work together as a team with eight strangers on the water was an incredible way to get to know one another and make meaningful connections.
Now, if you are like me you might think, “It looks easy enough to row a boat, how challenging could this be?” You would be wrong! I learned that rowing is a far more complex process than I ever realized. As CRI put it, “Leaders must learn to be excellent followers, followers must lead, and everyone must do it together.” We learned the importance of trusting our teammates, following directions, and being a good listener. I found this particularly valuable as I was in “bow seat” (last seat on the boat), and the expectation was that my strokes would be perfectly timed with the person in “stroke seat” (first seat on the boat) who I could not see or hear. We all had to follow the direction of the coxswain and coach and pay special attention only to the person in front of us.
A Team Building Experience
Of course our boat experienced some hiccups along the way. We ended up in the woods – twice – and a few folks “caught a crab.” In other words, they lost track of the leader in front of them while all other rowers were moving as one, finding their oars stuck under water, unable to regain their stroke. Only once the entire boat ceased rowing were these teammates able to regain control, and only then could we begin working together to get moving again.
I don’t believe any of my teammates expected to leave this experience an expert rower, though I can say I found a genuine appreciation for a new sport that I would love to try again! However, we certainly all succeeded in our goal to make meaningful connections with one another. Throughout our journey together on the boat we shared some frustrations, but we also had a lot of laughs. We all walked away from the event with a revived sense of teamwork and how important it is both in your personal and professional life, not to mention some new LinkedIn connections and friends to share a glass of wine with after!