We need a starting point with this idea, and this is that you've chosen the right event company to deliver your event. They have the experience and have put the right team in charge of delivery.
We have seen a lot of clients taking part in a lot of events, and we know fairly quickly how open participants are to having fun and taking part. It's evident in the first few minutes of the event. There's an old cliché which says; 'it's written all over their face' and it quite literally is. When everyone is smiling and delighted about what's coming it all becomes very easy and that's great news for everyone. You'll have a wonderful time and so will we, delivering the event.
However, there are occasions when it's not so straightforward. Sometimes people have just received bad or worrying news. The experienced manager will cover this in the meeting with the client before the event so they are prepared. In these cases participants need reassurance; what's happening next is relaxed and unthreatening (this may require some thinking on the feet for the event manager who many need to tone things down). This gives people time to deal with any other issues that are taking over their attention.
Sometimes, particularly with younger teams, there may be an atmosphere of 'too cool for this' in the air. That's a particularly dangerous one if the event manager doesn't understand it, because if can spread. The motivation behind it is usually fear; people don't know what's coming next and they don't want to look foolish, so they will dismiss it or treat it with contempt. The activity must be explained clearly and the experienced event manager will be able to work out who the thought leaders in the group are and bring them into his or her confidence.
If a strong character, covering up discomfort, is behaving in a way that devalues the proposed event it may be tempting for an event manager, perhaps also a strong character, to confront or square up to that person. That is the wrong response because it can escalate. It also cnnot be ignored or laughed off with a trite response. The correct response is to acknowledge and bring that person on side by asking for their help. It can be as simple as asking them to read out a team list. With the best people managers these things can happen and very few of those present know about it.
(Army officer training is very good at giving people these skills. Here are people who can jump onto the bonnet of a Landrover and calm and angry non-English speaking mob using body language. It's a fascinating subject and we will be launching an event covering this soon).
Some companies have a great culture and having fun together comes naturally to them. In other companies it takes more effort. When companies buy team building it's quite conceivable that they might need it, and they have a right to expect that the team delivering it are able to adapt to their audience and make it work.
So, the premise is that people will enjoy a team building event as much as they want to, and that's true. However, it may be that they need some help from someone who knows what's going on and how to make the conditions for enjoyment more accessible.That is the responsibility of the event manager on the day. That's how we earn our money.