Team building exercises help employees get to know each other and understand who each other are in order for a better working environment and productivity. Of course, you want to make the activities something enjoyable so employees stay focused and engaged.
Here are a few team building exercises that go beyond just talking to make the experience more engaging and enjoyable:
- House of Cards
For this exercise, split employees into teams and each team gets one deck of cards. Set the clock for 5 minutes, making sure there is no alarm because you don’t want anyone to knock over the cards when it goes off. You can establish your own goal of either creating the tallest house (tower is probably a better term) or the most elaborate house with a single pack of cards.
This exercise gets people thinking creatively as a team and collaborating on the best approach to reach the goal.
- The Best and Worst
This exercise will have team members become a little more familiar with each other by going around the room and sharing something about their work experiences. Every member of the team is to talk about a project that they remember fondly as being one of their favourite, making sure to include why the project was so enjoyable. Once everyone has talked about their best experience, go around the room again and have them talk about the worst project they have ever done, and what it made the project such a terrible experience. Team members can also discuss what they learned from the less than favourable project experience and how it can be improved for other projects. If there are new employees with little work experience, they can talk about a project that they participated in during their studies.
- The Adult Version of Simon Says
This exercise will require you to distribute a sheet of paper to everyone. You can do this one just after the previous game number two to highlight the importance of asking questions.
Tell everyone the rules before starting. They will have their eyes closed throughout the instructions and they are to follow the instructions without asking questions or discussions. You will permit enough time for everyone to finish each step before moving to the next instructions. You would also be participating so they can see the result afterwards.
For the exercise, tell everyone to close their eyes and verbally give them the following instructions:
i. Fold the paper diagonal
ii. Tear off the top right corner
iii. Fold the paper in half
iv. Fold the left corner
v. Tear off the right corner
Have them open their eyes and hold up their paper. Ask them why there are so many variations despite the instructions being the same. Of course, most people will be quick to point out that the instructions weren’t detailed enough and that they weren’t allowed to get clarification.
At this point, you can draw the connection between the exercise and the need to ask questions over the course of the project.
- Communication 101
Gather as many pictures or clippings from colouring books, magazines or others, so there are at least 3 pictures per group and each group should have two to four participants.
For each step there will be one partner who has a picture giving verbal instructions, while the other partner has a piece of paper and a pencil or pen who is drawing the picture. Each step will be performed at least twice so that everyone in the group can have a chance at giving verbal instructions. If you have four participants in the group, have two people take part in giving instructions while two people draw the pictures.
i. Have partners sitting in chairs with their backs to each other. Only the partner with the picture is allowed to speak, so the participant who is drawing is not allowed to ask any questions.
ii. Have the participants face each other. The participants cannot speak to each other such as asking and answering questions, or having a conversation. The only difference with this step is that participants can make eye contact
iii. Have the participants face each other, but now they are allowed to ask questions, engage in discussion, as well as use hand gestures, etc.
The goal of this exercise is to learn how to effectively communicate with each other and to verbally explain what someone needs or wants with a project. The idea is that one participant knows what the context is about, while the other person receiving the information does not know, so it’s all about the explanation and direction.
- Little White Lie
Of all the team building exercises, this is the most personal. When a team first gets together, have everyone come up with four facts about themselves and one lie. The facts can be anything that they are alright with letting everyone know. You start off by telling your four facts and a lie, then see if the group can spot the lie.
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