Fun and Games to Build Better Communications

The cornerstone of any professional relationship is communication and positive workplace interactions. Whether you are communicating with a colleague, manager, or customer, effective communication is always needed. Open and effective communications reduces confusion and frustration in the office and keeps employees engaged.

While this all sounds great, it doesn’t always come easily! Sometimes, communication needs to be encouraged. Also, to be effective, communication must be practiced. Team building exercises not only improve communication and motivation among workers, but they also help to create a more unified and productive work environment. That has to be every manager’s dream come true!

Try these 5 refreshing exercises to help you encourage teamwork and communication in the office.

  1.      Back-to-Back Drawing – Improve Communication

Divide your group into pairs, and have each pair sit on the floor back to back. Give one person in each pair a picture of a shape, and give the other person a pencil and pad of paper.

Ask the people holding the pictures to give verbal instructions to their partners on how to draw the shape – without actually telling the partners what the shape is. After they’ve finished, ask each pair to compare their original shape with the actual drawing, and consider the following questions:

•   How well did the first person describe the shape?
•   How well did the second person interpret the instructions?
•   Were there problems with both the sending and receiving parts of the communication process?

  1.      Concentration – Stimulate Employees’ Minds and Challenge their Memory

Participants will need to form two equal lines facing each other.

The game starts when one line turns around, giving the second line 40 seconds to change 10 things about themselves. This can include anything from jewelry or clothing being swapped with other people, untied shoelaces, a different hair do, or a switched watch or ring to the other hand. All changes must be something the other group can see.

After 40 seconds, the first group turns around and tries to find all the changes the other group made. Once the changes have been recognized, the groups switch, giving each team a chance to make changes.

  1.      Human spring – Building Interdependence and Trust

Ask group members to stand facing each other in pairs. Their elbows should be bent, with their palms facing toward each other. Instruct them to touch their palms together, and gradually start leaning toward each other, so that they eventually hold each other up. Then, instruct everyone to move their feet further and further back, so that they have to depend solely upon their partners to remain standing.

  1.      Picture Pieces Game – Understanding the Bigger Picture

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 instructed to 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.

The leader can pass out pencils, markers, paper, and rulers in order to make the process simpler and run more smoothly. When all the participants have completed their enlargements, ask them to assemble their pieces into a giant copy of the original picture on a table.

This problem solving activity will teach participants how to work in a team and it demonstrates divisionalized ‘departmental’ working, which is the understanding that each person working on their own part contributes to an overall group result.

  1.      Take What You Need – A wonderful get-to-know-you activity

You will need a toilet paper roll or two depending on the size of the group or a cup full of pennies.

Ask everyone to sit around in a circle. Pass around the roll of toilet paper or pennies and tell them to take as much as they think they’ll need, without disclosing what the items will be used for. If your employees ask further questions, simply answer them with, “take as much as you think you’ll need.”

Once that’s done, ask them to count the number of squares they each have. Going around the circle, each person has to share a fact about themselves for every square of toilet paper or penny they took. So, if someone takes 10 squares, they need to share 10 facts about themselves.

Tip: In order to avoid someone taking 30 pennies or squares of toilet paper, you could set a limit for each item. The facts don’t have to be long or time consuming.

This activity is particularly beneficial when new employees are hired. It encourages communication, bonding, and helps the participants learn more about their colleagues. You’d be surprised what a simple activity can teach you about someone you thought you knew.

Now that you’re equipped with a variety of choices, don’t be afraid to incorporate these activities in the office. Not only will you enjoy it and benefit greatly, but so will your colleagues and employees.  Don’t forget to post back and let us know which exercises you used and what you learned from them!