There are a variety of reasons why companies use team building activities. They can improve communication, boost morale, motivate, be used as ice breakers and learning effective strategies, improve productivity, and teach people about each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
The overall goal of these activities is to promote better teamwork in the workplace because great teamwork is the key to a successful business and reputation. There are four main types of team building activities:
- Problem solving/decision making
- Trust building
These 11 activities are fun, challenging, and will have your company working on team building skills that can improve employees performance and productivity in the workplace. Not to mention they all are little to no cost!
1. Two Truths and a Lie
Have every team member write down two truths and one lie about themselves on a small piece of paper, but don’t reveal your answers. Once everyone’s answers are written down, allow 10-15 minutes for open conversation so everyone gets to know each other’s personalities somewhat. People can get sneaky and try to trick others to believe their lie. Once time is up, read your 3 statements out loud to everyone and have the group vote on which one they think is the lie.
Results: This game encourages stronger communication in the office, as well as letting you get to know your coworkers better.
2. Life Highlights Game
Have everyone participating close their eyes for one minute and think of the best moments of their lives that have already happened: personal, professional, or life adventures. Once the participants have thought of all those moments, then ask them what one of those moments they would want to relive if they only had 30 seconds left of their life. They then have to share their last 30 seconds with the group and explain why they chose it.
Results: The first part of this game allows participants to reflect back on their lives, while the second part enables them to get to know their co workers passions, loves, and personalities.
3. Coin Logo
Begin by asking all participants to empty their pockets, purses, and wallets of any coins they may have and place them on the table in front of them. Instruct each person to create their own personal logo using those coins in just one minute. They can also use other materials, such as pens, notebooks, wallets, etc. to create the logo. Once finished, each participant can explain their logo to the group.
Results: Not only does this activity promote self and mutual awareness, but it also allows participants to get to know each other on a more personal level.
1. Picture Pieces Game
This problem solving activity requires that the leader choose a well known picture or cartoon that is full of detail. The picture needs to be cut into as many equal squares as there are participants in the activity. Each participant should be given a piece of the “puzzle” and create an exact copy of their piece of the puzzle five times bigger than its original size. They are posed with the problem of not knowing why or how their own work affects the larger picture.
Pencils, markers, paper, and rules can be used in this game. Once everyone is finished, ask them to assemble their peices into a giant copy of the original picture on a table.
Results: This activity teaches participants how to work in a team, all while getting everyone to understand that each person working on their own part contributes to an overall group result.
2. Sneak a Peek Game
This problem solving activity requires a set of children’s building blocks. The instructor will build a small sculpture with some of the blocks and hide it from the group. The participants should then be divided into small teams of four. Each team should be given enough building material so that they can duplicate the structure you’ve already created. The instructor should then place their sculpture in an area that is an equal distance from all the groups.
One member from each team can come up at the same time to look at the sculpture for ten seconds and try to memorize it before returning to their team. After they return to their teams, they have 25 seconds to instruct their teams about how to build an exact replica of the instructor’s sculpture. After one minute of trying to recreate the sculpture, another member from each team can come up for a “sneak peek” before returning to their team and trying to recreate the sculpture. The game should be continued in this pattern until one of the team’s successfully duplicates the original sculpture.
Results: This game will teach participants how to problem solve in a group and communicate effectively.
3. The Great Egg Drop
Split the room into two large groups with the task of building an egg package that can sustain an eight foot drop. A variety of tools and other materials can be provided to the teams. After the packages have been built, each team must also present a 30-second advert for their package, highlighting why it’s unique and how it works. Then each group will have to drop their egg using their package to see if it really works.
Results: Not only does this teach the groups to work together and communicate, it also brings them together with the common goal of both winning the egg drop and successfully creating an egg package.
1. The Paper Tower
Each participant is given a single sheet of paper and told that it’s necessary that they construct the tallest free-standing structure in just five minutes using no other materials. After the five minutes and a review of the structures, discuss who planned out their structure, who ran out of time, and what could be done differently next time.
Results: This exercise teaches participants the importance of planning, timing, and thinking on their feet.
2. Road Map Game
The participants need to be split into two groups with an equal amount of players in each group. Every group should have paper, pens, and a map. The map can be of a state, the whole country, or a specific area. Each group needs a copy of the same map. Instruct the teams to plan a vacation, which must be planned within certain parameters.
Each group should be given a list of what they have for their trip, how much money they can use, what kind of car they will have, the size of its gas tank, m.p.g., the price of gas, the beginning and ending destination, and anything else you can think of. Each group should write down their travel plans and any group that runs out of money or gas will be disqualified.
Results: The goal of this building exercise is to get coworkers working together as team with the common purpose of planning this trip in 30 minutes.
1. Mine Field
This exercise requires set up time and a large, empty area. The leader must distribute “mines” around the area. These “mines” can be represented by anything. In pairs, one team member must be blindfolded and cannot talk, while the other can see and talk, but cannot enter the field or touch their blindfolded teammate. The challenge requires each blind-folded person to walk from one side of the field to the other, avoiding the mines by listening to the verbal instructions of their partners.
Results: This exercise gives coworkers a chance to work on their relationships and trust issues, which is why they are paired into teams of two. This activity gets team members to trust their partner’s directions and teaches them to communicate in a more effective way.
2. Eye Contact
Making eye contact is sometimes difficult for people, as it requires a certain amount of trust and respect. Some people avoid it, while others simply aren’t very good at it. For this activity, have people group into pairs and stand facing each other. The idea is to have them stare into their partner’s eyes for at least 60 seconds. Neither participant should be wearing glasses or sunglasses of any kind. There may be some laughing, as it can feel somewhat awkward during the first try, but as participants get the hang of it, it should become easier for them to make eye contact for longer amounts of time.
Results: This exercise can help coworkers become more comfortable and trusting of each other through using eye contact.
3. Willow in the Wind
This exercise is best suited for coworkers who already know each other fairly well. One participant must volunteer or be chosen to be the “willow.” The willow must stand in the middle of a group with their eyes closed, feet together, and body upright. They will perform a series of “trust leans” against the other participants, whose job is to hold up the willow and pass them around without allowing them to fall or feel frightened as if they’re going to fall. Those who are not the willow must have one foot in front of the other, arms stretched out, elbows locked, and are ready and alert. This will ensure that they will successfully pass the willow around without any troubles.
Results: This technique helps coworkers establish and build trust with each other in an open and fun environment.
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