Working Together

Individuals can achieve a lot. But you can achieve even more by working together.

Working as a Team

It is possible to do lots of great things all by yourself and it takes effort to get a group of people working together effectively. But people working together in a team almost always achieve more than people working by themselves. Working together is also much more fun!

Getting a group together is a skill!

Here are five tips for getting a group together. You won’t have to do all of these. Think about what will work best for you.

1 Begin with like-minded people you already know. Ask them to join you and get them to invite other people they know too.
2 Organise an event like a film screening or an art exhibition. Use your event to get more people involved.
Look out for other events where you could speak or have a stall to promote your group.
3 Do something creative to promote your group. For example, you could bake some cakes with Fairtrade ingredients and share slices at a lunchtime stall.
4 Organise a fun activity – like printing t-shirts or painting a banner – to capture people’s imaginations and encourage them to get involved.
5 Think about who is missing from your group (for example, arty types, big thinkers or people who are good with numbers). Ask specific people to join.

One of the tricky things about setting up a group is getting people working together, especially if you don’t know each other well to begin with or are shy.

Activities to get your group started

Here are some activities to get you started.

Create a group identity by defining a cool way to greet each other!
  • Ask participants divide into pairs, and agree on two steps of a handshake.
  • Then they split off into new pairs, each person in the new pair showing their partner the two steps from before and deciding together how to combine all of them.
  • Now they pair up again following same procedure but now combining the four steps each so now there will be eight different handshakes.
Then ask participants to present the different handshakes. Finally the group decides which one is going to be the official handshake of the group.
Hot potato: 15 min
Wrap a small object with sheets of paper with different tasks written on them (the tasks could be written on separate pieces of paper in between layers). Participants pass the object around in a circle while music is playing. As soon as the music stops, the person holding it has to fulfil the task written on the paper.
Some ideas for tasks:
  • Order the people according to their shoe size (you are not allowed to talk to them).
  • Go around the circle and introduce yourself to everyone.
  • Sing us a typical song from when you grew up.
  • Order the people in a line according to their travel time from their home to here (you are not allowed to talk to them).
Social contract: 10 min
Ask participants for ideas about what rules and behaviours are needed within the group to ensure it works effectively - especially in its meetings. Agree each idea in turn and write it down on a large sheet of paper that will become the ‘social contract’ for the group. Ensure that everyone agrees what is said, and ask everyone sign the final version.
Practise your persuasion
Draw or imagine a big line on the floor which represents a spectrum of opinions – from ‘totally agree’ at one end to ‘totally disagree’ at the other. Read out some prepared controversial statements and ask everyone to stand on the part of the line that most closely represents their opinion. Ask people at different points on the line to explain their views and then ask people to change positions if they have been persuaded to change their opinions.
Move your Boat – Expectations
It is important that everyone in the group is aware of other members’ expectations of their participation in the group.
Stick two flip charts together and draw an ocean and an island. Prepare and hand out small paper boats and sharks to the participants. Ask them to write their expectations for the Youth Ambassadors Group on the boats and their fears on the sharks.
Now let them place their boat on the ocean, the closer they stick the boats to the island the more confident they are. Over time you might decide to review the flipchart asking participants if they want to move their boats towards the island if their expectations have been met. Discuss why peoples’ attitudes change.
Prioritise your issues together
Write down the issues that people are interested in, then split up into smaller groups to investigate the top two or three. Take some time to research the background to the issue, how it affects people’s lives, how your group can help and the other people you can get involved with. Pin up all your findings and ask group members to agree on the issue they feel most strongly about.
Do some interviews
When you are starting out it’s great to get some feedback from other people. Why not interview a youth worker, your headteacher or a local figure? Ask for their thoughts on the issues you’re interested in and talk to them about how they might support you.