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3 Unique Teambuilding Exercises You Can Start Using Today


Honest engagement. Interaction. Connection. Without these basic elements of human experience, it’s almost impossible to build trust.

And if you can’t build a basic feeling of trust, then communication suffers. Productivity lags. And, before you know it, people feel like they’re walking on eggshells.

That’s the opposite of a healthy work culture. And that toxicity means that your business is doomed with its current composition. Unless you’re able to re-establish the connection required for trust to develop.

As a licensed therapist and coach, one of the many skills I possess is the ability to build meaningful relationships. I do that with my clients. And I teach groups how to do the same.

Because I’ve facilitated a wide range of groups in the past, I recognize that boring teambuilding activities are often perceived as awkward. Or immature. Or, for the most productive individuals, an inconvenient way to spend an afternoon.

However, I’ve also seen how engaging teambuilding activities can positively transform culture by re-infusing a sense of vitality and engagement between employees who rarely have the opportunity to connect with one another.

Most workshops I provide receive high feedback. And it’s not always the loud, busy activities that people recall as their favorites–sometimes it’s the quiet ones that have the most significant impact.

The truth is that when group activities are done well, each type of exercise appeals to different people. The wide range of individuals in your office each have different needs, preferences, and learning styles.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each exercise must be carefully chosen to speak to a certain type of person.

The list below contains three unique and simple teambuilding activities. Each appeal to different learning and personality styles. Read and then give them a try!

1. White Board Back-to-Back Drawing.

This exercise appeals to the creative types and others who prefer tactile and visual learning.

Teams are broken down into two or three large groups. Two individuals move to the front of the room near the whiteboard, while the other team members stand across from them on the other side of the room.

One individual for each time is blindfolded and handed a marker. They are the drawers. Then one group member per team, not blindfolded, stands behind their drawer–not looking at the board. They are the informants. The informants are provided with an image by the facilitator that they then describe without naming to the drawer, who draws the image.

Team members guess the image. First team to guess correctly wins a point. This activity increases trust, cohesion, and teamwork while creating some fun, childlike nostalgia.

2. Island Survival (Plus Role Observations).

In this classic activity, groups of 5 to 10 individuals are formed. A scenario is read that prompts the groups that they have been stranded on a deserted island following a ship wreck, when they discover several items washing up on shore. They are handed a list of 20 items of which they can keep five. Teams are instructed to determine which 5 items to keep and why.

At the conclusion, each team presents their items and why they chose them. The facilitator then describes their observations of each team-member’s role in the group and articulates how decisions were made. This insightful exercise works great for individuals that think strategically, concretely, and creatives.

As a whole, this exercise increases insight into communication patterns and clarifies roles, leading to improved cooperation and teamwork.

3. Zen Counting.

This incredibly simplistic exercise can be quite challenging. It appeals to your company’s introverts and other individuals that enjoy thought-provoking interactions.

Teams sit in a circle facing away from each other. In no particular order, they are instructed to count from 1 to 10 aloud with each member only saying, at most, one number. No other words are to be spoken. If you talk over someone or repeat another, the exercise starts back at 1.

This exercise creates stillness and teaches team members to work through discomfort. To find courage in spite of not-knowing what will happen next. And it helps them listen carefully to one another. 

When these non-work-related interactions occur, they facilitate the opportunity to build trust and cohesion. Carefully select the exercises above based on the tone you’re trying to create and each team members’ preferences.

Each of these teambuilding activities have the potential to bring connection and insight to your employees. 

This article originally appeared in Inc Magazine.

Matthew Jones is a life coach and licensed therapist. His work has been published on, the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Observer, and more. He is best known for his writings on holistic self-development.

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