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4 of the Best Ice-Breaking, Team Building and Problem Solving Activities

15 Jul

 

To some employees the words ‘team-building activities’ can bring on a sense of dread. When organised properly, with the good of the employees as a central focus, these days can be a great way to build a good team at work and get to know your peers in a different context.

Here I will suggest a few ideas that can make your team building day a beneficial one, not just one of the dozens they’ve attended before.

To keep your group engaged you need activities that really require thinking and active discussions between team members.

Ideally, for half a day, you’d have 2 ice-breakers, one team-building, and one problem solving activity. So here are the four best activities to provide you with an ideal agenda for a team building session.

Icebreaking

  1. Two Truths and a Lie

This is a great ice-breaking exercise for groups who aren’t familiar with each other – so ideal for conferences.

Simply get each team member to write down two truths and a lie about themselves, and then share the 3 statements with each other. The aim of the game is to work out which statement is false, whilst learning a bit about everyone in the group – but only reveal the false statement once everyone has taken a guess!

2. The Classification Game

This is a great game to break the ice both in situations where participants know each other well, and where they don’t know each other at all.

Break the team down into small groups, and give them 10 minutes to find out all they can about each other. Then ask every group to come up with three “categories” that describe each person within the team – without being negative, discriminatory or prejudicial – for example, someone could be a “sci-fi fan”, a “toffee popcorn lover”, and a “Twitter addict”. This shows how every person has more to them than meets the eye, and gets everyone to open up.

Team Building

3. The Shipwrecked Game

This exercise gets down to the nitty gritty of team-building – it gets people to voice their opinions, argue their points and come to compromises.

Split your group up into teams of 4-10. Give the teams the scenario that they are about to be shipwrecked on a desert island, and can chose 10 items to take with them. Give them a time limit of 15 minutes, and let them debate!

Problem Solving

4. Toxic Waste Dump

This activity takes a little setting up, but is ideal for really getting people to work together to problem solve.

You will need a bucket filled with water or tennis balls (I would recommend only using water outside), a larger bucket, 8 x 2.5m lengths of cord, 1 x 4m length of rope and a bungee cord loop.

Place the bucket in the middle of the room, and map out a circle around it with the rope, and place the larger bucket about 3m away from the circle. The bucket with balls/water represents a container of “toxic waste” and the circle around it represents the “contamination zone”.

The aim of the game is for the team to move the toxic waste into the larger “toxic waste neutralising” bucket within 30 minutes – but only using the 8 cords and the bungee loop. If they enter the contamination zone they will suffer severe injury, and if they spill the contents of the bucket, or do not complete the task, the world will be destroyed!

These exercises are actually a really great way to get to know your team, build trust between you and establish a working bond. When organising one of these events, plan ahead.

Planning a team building session isn’t easy – you’ll need to make sure you’ve sorted your meeting room hire, and you’ll need around four main activities, and no one wants to be the person who suggests, for the hundredth time, to do the Trust Lean!

Any team building fails you would like to share?

James Duval is blogging genius with a flair for IT, business and education. He blogs for Keele Conference.

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6 responses to “4 of the Best Ice-Breaking, Team Building and Problem Solving Activities

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    April 28, 2013 at 11:34 pm

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    May 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm

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  3. Tim

    July 10, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Great list of conference energisers and ice breakers. We have used the shipwreck game several times in our meetings and corporate conferences with great success!

     

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