A team that talks to each other and communicates effectively is like a well-oiled machine, but when your team isn’t communicating, productivity can grind to a painful halt. Communication isn’t just about getting a point across; effective communication is about empathy, trust, and team.
Got a team that needs a bit of communication team-building? Or maybe just a refresher course? We’ve got you covered.
Here are three great team-building games that promote communication, all selected by our experts!
1. Ubuntu: Protector & Destroyer
This game uses the Ubuntu Cards game from High 5 Adventure. You can check ‘em out here!
For this game, have every group member stand in a circle while holding an Ubuntu Card single image facing out toward the group. Ask each person to secretly choose a Ubuntu Card image to represent their “Protector” and then to secretly choose an image to represent their “Destroyer”.
On “Go,” each player must attempt to keep the person holding their protector image between themselves and their destroyer image. I might recommend a fast walking place. This tends to be a fun, quick and confusing exercise. Take time to talk about strategies, success and struggles participants encountered. Ask why they picked certain images to represent those roles.
You can play several rounds changing the rules slightly each round to bring up different discussion points.
Try changing roles. Instead of choosing a “Protector” and a “Destroyer”, have each person play the role of the “Protector”. Have them secretly choose an image to represent a “Victim of Destroying” and other to represent the “Destroyer”. This version tends to look a bit like a mosh pit with all participants rushing into the middle to protect…be aware of what your group can handle. After this version, you can ask about strategies and differences. You can ask about who they have as protectors or who they protect in life.
2. ZOOM (the Basics and a Variation) – from Chris Cavert
ZOOM is a “straight up” verbal communication challenge – the only way to succeed is to share information through talking. There are at least a half-dozen ways to lead ZOOM. ZOOM is a picture book written by Istvan Banyai. As a teambuilding activity you first need to cut the spine off of the book. (Well, the first thing is actually buying the book – find your copy on Amazon). Once the spine is cut off you will have about 30 usable pages. So, you could lead ZOOM with up to 30 participants! We recommend going with 10 to 24 – it can get really long with more players.
Once you know how many participants you will have for the activity – let’s say 18. Choose 18 sequential pages from the set (choosing 18 random pages from the set can make it a bit more challenging). Hand out a page to every person in your group and ask them not to show their picture to anyone else. In other words, when I get my picture/page I am the only one that can see it.
Then, say something like this:
“The pictures you are all holding connect together in a linear order – there is a beginning and an end to the sequence. Your challenge is to arrange the pictures into the correct order by only verbally describing the picture you have in your hand. You must keep your picture in hand and you are not allowed to trade your picture with anyone. In the end, you all need to position yourselfs in a circle formation. One person will ultimately be holding the first picture of the set and someone will be holding the last picture in the set. The rest of you will be in sequential order in between the two. When you all believe you are in the correct sequential order we will reveal (turn around) all the pictures to see how you did.”
Those are the basics of the game. Players can move around and they can use any words to describe the picture they have. Don’t allow groups to use outside resources (e.g., smart phones “I didn’t show them MY picture”). When you play with up to 24 (or more people) it can take a good 45 minutes – so, be ready. This one’s very challenging.
3. Memory Card Game – from Playmeo.com
This is a great DIY game for smaller groups (less than 10 people). First, make a list of 10 valuable characteristics of high performance teams (e.g. respect, communication, honesty, etc.). Write those attributes on a total of 20 index cards, each attribute will be on two index cards.
Next, lay the cards face-down in a completely random order in 4 rows of 5 cards each. Gather your team behind a boundary line (no closer than 4 meters from the cards you just put down). Tell the group that their goal is to identify and then match all 10 pairs of hidden cards as quickly as they can.
Only one person may approach the cards at first. That person chooses two cards to turn over and reveal. If the two cards match (e.g. both say “respect”), the cards remain face up. If they don’t match, both cards are turned back over. The person flipping the cards can communicate with the group about the cards that they revealed.
Next, select a new person from the group to do the same thing. Play continues until all 10 pairs have been revealed. Try to improve your group’s speed and communication while playing this game. Talk about strategies that can be used to be more efficient as a group!
Integrating and developing good communication skills into a team can be difficult. Designing social and physical games that promote communication, delegation, and teamwork is our specialty. Check out some other posts from our blog to see how we can help you build a stronger team today!