Team building games and activities are a useful way of breaking the ice among participants of a business meeting or project. But they also serve to demonstrate the different ways of working together or of viewing a situation. These special activities help improve communications, boost morale, motivate participants or simply break up the monotony of a serious meeting.
Integrating games into a business situation at any time during the meeting can stimulate the brain, improve retention of the meeting ideas and increase the participant’s enjoyment. Even though games help participants get to know each other, learn team building effective strategies and improve productivit, you need to carefully analyze the ones you use to make sure they are appropriate for the team members and the particular situation. The following are 15 team building activities you can integrate into an event, meeting or course:
1 – Colors Exercise
This exercise helps participants see how people experience things differently. The exercise helps groups understand empathy and other related concepts. It is an appropriate activity for people of all ages and in groups of all sizes.
First explain to the group how emotions and feeling are perceived and felt differently by everyone. We often can’t imagine that other people see things differently from other. Good management practices depend on your being able to understand the way another person thinks or sees things.
Ask participants to:
Close their eyes and imagine the different days of the week.
Ask them to assign a color to each day and write this color down.
Have participants open their eyes and review the different color associations.
Discuss the differences, the willingness to share by the participants, even the assignation of no color at all to the days of the week. This will help participants understand that we perceive things differently.
2 – Lower to the Ground
This activity helps participants understand the importance of team work. Form two lines that face each other and lay a thin rod on the groups index fingers. Ask the team to lower the rod together to the ground. They may find it surprising to see that the rod always want to rise instead of descend.
3 – The Toxic Waste Activity
This is another popular team building contest. Divide group into teams of two or three people and hand each team a bungee cord, a rope and a bucket of water. Tell them the bucket of water is “Toxic Waste” and they must transport it with the rope and bungee cord to the neutralization bucket, and tip the contents in without spilling any of it. The first team to do it correctly wins.
4 – Two Truths and a Lie
This is a great ice breaking activity. Have every participant write down two truths and a lie about themselves. Ask them not to reveal any of the information to any other participant. When participants finish ask them to get up, walk about and get to know their fellow team mates, offering up the two truths and the lie about themselves. The idea is to convince others that the lie is a truth. The other participant’s objective is to figure out which is the lie and which are the truths. When you finish with the conversation, ask all participants to sit in a circle and offer up the two truths and a lie without specifying which is which. Ask the group to vote on which is the lie and which are the truths. This game encourages communication and learning about other participants.
5 – Life Highlights
Ask participants to close their eyes and think of the best moments of their lives. These can include moments they were alone, shared times or those that have to do with their professional goals and successes. With their eyes still closed, ask participants to decide which 30 seconds of their life they would want to relive if they only had 30 seconds left in their life. Ask participants to review their findings and explain why they chose that particular moment. This allows participants to share in each other’s passions, loves and successes.
6 – Coin Logo
Split the group into pairs or groups of threes. Ask each group to empty their pockets of coins and other items. Ask each group to take these pooled items and create a company logo in a minute or two. Once the logos are made, each group can explain their logo to the group and what it says about their group. This activity promotes mutual awareness.
7 – The One Question
The leader picks a scenario you want participants solve by asking just one question. The situations can pertain to their work, marriage, children or any other issue. Examples could include: who should lead the team, get married, have children or conduct an interview. Pair participants into teams and ask them to think of one question that would best help discover a person’s suitability for this situation. Discuss the questions when groups are finished.
8 – Sequencing of Events
Give each participant a picture and ask them not to show it to anyone else. Ask each member to contribute to a story using the picture they are given. This helps promote team work and creative thinking.
9 – The Egg Drop Game
Divide the participants into two teams. Give them construction materials to build an egg drop package to protect an egg from an 8 foot drop. The team that builds a package that works wins. This teaches the groups to work together and communicate.
10 – Incorporation
Ask participants to form and reform groups as quickly as they can with each group having at least one thing in common. You call out the thing they should have in common. For instance you can say, “Make a group of three with every member having the same color eyes as you.” Change the criteria several times. This is a fast ice breaker, and helps participants get to know each other.
11- The Blind Waiter
Have participants divide into groups of two. Blindfold one member of each pair and have the other participant verbally instruct the blindfolded person to serve water in a glass. This is a great team building skill.
12 – The Tie-up Challenge
Divide the participants into groups of two, three or four people. Tie them up and have them complete a relay race or certain tasks together. The first team to complete the tasks wins.
13 – Ring the Bell
An easy introductory task, this allows participants to get to know each other. Have each participant introduce himself and then present his mobile phone. Ask him to show you his ringtone and explain why he chose it. This gives you the added benefit of reminding everyone to turn off their cell phone while in the meeting.
14 – The Project Outcome
This works well with a group trying to implement a project. Think of the project and outcome you want. Write down the outcome and describe it as clearly and realistically as possible. Work backward to identify the steps that were taken to achieve the goal, working backward from the outcome to the starting point. Attach timescales and resources to each stem. This gives you a simple plan for the project. You can use this to refine and outline the details of the project.
15 – The Sculptor
Divide the participants into groups of three or four people. Give each team different supplies such as straws, balloons, newspaper, wire, scissors, construction paper, paint, glitter, tape and string. Ask each group to build a sculpture that represents the concept and feelings of the company. This activity works at building team trust.
These are just a few team building activities that companies can use to build trust, team work and familiarity among members. It is an excellent way for all members to get to know each other better.