When customers first approach us from a business looking to run a murder mystery as a Team Building event our first question is often… “What are you trying to achieve?”
Team building has become one of those “non-phrases”. Back in the day, it used to mean a facilitated workshop where groups would learn something about how they interacted with each other, and how to improve their team-work skills. These days the phrase team building covers everything from a trip to the pub for lunch, to an all expenses paid trip to the Tropics to learn survival skills.
While we excel in meeting budgets, we would never advise a firm to throw money away on an experience with no value. Which is why we always work with you to establish what you want to achieve.
Fun is much easier than “team building” – and all of our games will supply office fun and a shared experience that staff members can look back on. But some of our games can also be used to good effect to achieve a number of team learning objectives and we can work with you to ensure you can get the most out of your team building experience.
We aren’t true facilitators, but we have analytical skills and know you can achieve a number of goals through a murder mystery. We have a variety of facilitator guides available on request so that you can make the most of your experience. If you have the budget, we also have links into a number of good facilitators who can join us for the experience and really drill down some learning objectives, identifying strengths and weaknesses within your organizational structure, and use the murder mystery as a true team building and learning experience.
Please do get in touch with us directly if you’d like us to put together a team building package for you.
Examples of things we have done in the past include:
To give you some ideas of what learning can be achieved through a murder mystery, we’ve listed below some key points covered by many of our kits, and below those… links to pages on our blog which have some free team building suggestions.
Observation – there is always an element of reviewing visual clues either in picture format, video or acted.
Listening skills – both to each other’s points of view, as well as any auditory clues received from actors / video presentation.
Verbal communication – this is often key to solving any case as the participants need to work together to reach a solution. There will be discussion of evidence and suspects, cross examination of suspects, decisions of what questions to ask, requests for information etc.
Written communication – participants will likely take notes throughout a game, both to record observations and to make notes about clues.
Presentation skills – Participants are asked to present their solution to the facilitator and/or the rest of the room either verbally or in written form.
Contributions – During the murder mystery groups may be working together to reach a solution; each team member will undoubtedly have different opinions on the evidence / suspects / videos, and there are options to divide up roles within the group for data gathering if they decide to organise themselves.
Goal setting – during the game there is one overall goal, namely to apprehend the correct suspect and identify their motive. While this is delivered as the goal at the outset, often groups will become side-tracked into clue or money handling or competition with the other teams, and it’s always interesting at the end to analyse what happened.
Responsibilities – During the game groups will inevitably split up into roles, either mutually decided or voluntarily. Some team members may take a passive role, others very active and it’s always interesting to see how this happens and why. E.g. who becomes note-taker.
Leader – Whether elected or assumed, during the game it will become clear that someone is taking control of the team.
Task and process – During the game, depending on the format, there may be a conflict between the task and process. This might be minor, or the process may take over as groups become competitive.
Atmosphere within the groups – As the groups work as a team, sometimes an atmosphere will form within a group.
Discussions – During the murder mystery groups will be involved in internal discussions as well as external discussions at the end as to which suspect committed the act before the final denouement.
Feedback – this will occur throughout the game. Groups will change how they organise themselves and how they review information.
Negotiating – During the game groups will be negotiating both within the group and at the end across groups
Persuading – During the game and at the end of the game, groups and individuals will be trying to persuade others to their point of view. The facilitator may wish to make this easier / harder by structuring a formal debate where each side is given an allocated time period to state their case and take questions.
Compromise – At the end of the game groups will be required to reach a collective view on who committed the crime.
Prioritising – during the game groups will be prioritising the information they request and the information they receive as well as which clues are most important to obtain.
Breaking down tasks – Groups will break down tasks when planning how to solve a case and may allocate these to different team members.
Organising – Groups have to be systematic and organise how they review information and collect it during a murder mystery. Some groups will “hide” information from others. Some will actively start campaigns to encourage other groups to obtain worthless information, starting rumours and/or purposely adding in other red herrings to a plot.
Managing distraction – It’s very easy to become distracted in an investigation, operating various underhand means to obtain clues, or purposefully using various ruses to cheat groups into buying worthless information in order to obtain more money.
Groups will need to make decisions throughout the game as to which evidence to see, pay most attention to, which elements are “red herrings” and who in the end is the murderer.
Collect and summarise the data systematically. Groups will need to organise the information they gather and classify it into important or unimportant. Their categorisation of information may change throughout the game.
Alternative solutions to the problem – there are always several plausible interpretations of the evidence and a couple of plausible solutions to the case.
Dealing with opposition – individuals will form different opinions on the suspects and as a group they may be divided as to which suspect is responsible. If the decision is to be made as a group, then individuals will need to negotiate to reach a solution.
Evaluate how well things went – often this will happen in an accusatory “I told you I was right all along” comment after the solution is revealed. Groups then re-evaluate the information and how they organised it, and why they didn’t listen to individuals within the team.
If on the other hand you’re just looking for some free team building ideas… why not check out the following pages on our blog: