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Team building games to help bond without the awkwardness

Smarketing 8 min read

Team building games to help bond without the awkwardness

Do you want to build a rapport between team members and strengthen communications across all departments in your organization? Team building games present an opportunity to have fun while encouraging innovative thinking.

“86% of employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.”

According to Salesforce

However, business leaders who actively engage staff develop a culture of growth, resulting in improved sales figures and higher employee retention rates.

Whether you choose a day of team-building exercises or go with an afternoon of activities, you can encourage collaboration and communications skills with these 10 team bonding games.

Table of contents:

  1. Fact or Fiction
  2. Just the Facts, Please.
  3. Can You Hear Me Now?
  4. Tone, Text, and Context
  5. Brand Concentration
  6. Tell Me a Story
  7. What Am I?
  8. Zombie Apocalypse
  9. Solution Building Blocks
  10. Wall of Memories

1. Fact or Fiction

Keep it simple with this great team icebreaker that plays on the familiar game of truth and lie. Split your sales and marketing teams into groups of 10 people or fewer. Give each person four slips of paper and a writing utensil. Instruct your reps to write three facts about themselves. One per sheet of paper. Then, ask them to write one fictional statement.

Once complete, go around the circle and have each person read their four statements in random order. Let the group members decipher which statements are facts and which ones are fiction. But don’t stop there. Ask each individual to pick one truthful account and add their initials to the paper. Save these slips for use in the next team building game and discard the rest.

Name: Fact or Fiction

Rules: Keep it professional with three facts the rest of the team may not know about you. Then create one fictional statement about yourself. Once everyone is done, one person at a time reads their comments while the group attempts to figure out which is fiction. 

Time: 15 minutes

Number of participants: Groups of 10 or fewer

Tools: Pens or pencils, sheets of paper

Where to buy: Office supply room

What department: Works with any department and helps with cross-team collaboration as well. 

2. Just the Facts, Please.

Get your whole crew laughing and working together using the comments from the Fact or Fiction game. Call one group at a time up to the front. Read one statement, then call for a vote from the audience. Regardless of the answer, hand the slip to the correct person and have them step back. Continue until each member of the group has their fact returned, then pull the next group up to the front. This great icebreaker encourages camaraderie across departments. 

Name: Just the Facts, Please

Rules: For those in the front of the room, try to keep a straight face and not give away the answer. In large groups, the leader can call for a quick show of hands when voting. 

Time: 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the number of groups.

Number of participants: Include everyone at your event

Tools: Use supplies from Fact or Fiction game

Where to buy: Office supply room

What department: All departments

3. Can You Hear Me Now?

Improve communication skills within your groups with an active listening game that demonstrates how tone and jargon affect listening skills. For this team building game, you’ll develop a few paragraphs that talk about your company’s goals. The objective is to keep the content dry and jargon-filled. Yes, you actually want to bore your sales reps. Then, insert three sentences on an entirely different yet business-related subject. 

Use a flat tone and read your paragraphs out loud. Next, pass out a slip of paper and a pen to each person. Quiz your team by asking a question or two about the content of your three inserted statements. Go around the circle with each co-worker reading their answer out loud. While there are no winners or losers, the idea is to encourage a conversation about active listening and the use of verbal and nonverbal clues to reduce conflict and improve communications.

Name: Can You Hear Me Now?

Rules: Ask employees to listen quietly while the leader speaks, then after the quiz, (encourage) interaction and conversation. 

Time: 30 minutes

Number of participants: Groups of 15 or fewer

Tools: Paper, pens, content

Where to buy: Use supplies from your office supply closet

What department: Customize content to the department

4. Tone, Text, and Context

Remember the childhood game of “Telephone?”

It’s where one child whispers a statement into the ear of another kid. Then, that child whispers it to the person next to them. At the end of the circle, the last person repeats what they heard, and they compare it to the original comment. Tone, text, and context is a new twist on this classic favorite.

Ask employees to sit around a table and pull out their phones. The leader creates a long, rambling text message that includes a randomly inserted call-to-action along with a critical point or two. Send it to the first person in the group. This team member reads the text, then sums it up in a new text to the person to their right. Continue until you reach the last team member, who then reads the text out loud.

Did the main point make it to the end? If not, when did the break down begin? You can also mix this up in a couple of different ways.

  • Pull the first person off to the side and read your text, then they must develop a message from your conversation. 
  • Create several text messages so that each person in the group gets the opportunity to disseminate the information. 

Name: Tone, Text, and Context

Rules: No talking until the end. Read the message, then pass it on via text.

Time: 15 minutes

Number of participants: Groups of five or less

Tools: Cell phones 

Where to buy: No supplies necessary

What department: Sales reps, marketers, and customer service teams

5. Brand Concentration

Building brand awareness and loyalty are crucial to employee morale and retention. In this fun activity, you’ll give each group of two a customized deck of cards with matching pairs.

Have each small group of two sit across from each other for a card game. Mix up the cards, then place them face down on the table in rows. Set a time limit of 10 minutes using a timer. Employees take turns flipping over two cards in search of matching pairs. Whoever has the most pairs at the end of the game wins.

Name: Brand Concentration

Rules: Only flip two cards per turn and move quickly to gather as many pairs as you can before the timer runs out. 

Time: 10 minutes

Number of participants: Groups of two people

Tools: One pack of customized cards per two team members

Where to buy: Create cards on your photo editing program or use a printing service

What department: Company-wide activity

6. Tell Me a Story

This traditional game encourages collaboration while placing value on creative thinking. Co-workers sit in a circle. The first person provides a sentence to start the story. The second person repeats the original sentence, then adds a statement that builds onto the original idea. Continue around the circle and see what teams come up with. While this activity demonstrates the value of storytelling, it’s also a fun time to laugh and help each other make it through to the end.

Name: Tell Me a Story

Rules: Keep it professional and fun. The idea isn’t to trick your teammates with complicated phrases. Instead, the goal is to create a story as a group. 

Time: 15 minutes

Number of participants: Groups of five or fewer

Tools: No supplies required

Where to buy: Not applicable 

What department: Marketing

7. What Am I?

Can your team accurately describe what you’re holding up without explicitly naming the card? In this team building game, you’ll use your playing cards from the Brand Concentration activity. Eliminate the duplicates and put the playing cards into a stack. Pass out one card per person and tell them not to peek.

In a circle facing each other, one member flips the card to their forehead without looking at it. Then team members give clues to the card’s content while the holder attempts to figure out what image, logo, or message is on their forehead. 

Name: What Am I?

Rules: No peeking at your card. Create a list of “forbidden” words, like logo or company names, to make it more challenging.

Time: 15 minutes

Number of participants: Groups of 10 or fewer

Tools: Playing cards from Brand Concentration game

Where to buy: N/A

What department: Company-wide

8. Zombie Apocalypse

It’s the end of the world, and each team has 10 minutes to choose three items that will help them accomplish a common goal. Choose an objective, whether that’s signaling for help, transporting an injured person, or building a raft and set the stage with a story. Then, provide a list, or for even more fun, use replicas of various random objects.

For example, your list of items may include:

  • Faux knife
  • Piece of rope
  • A flask that’s labeled liquor
  • Five nails
  • A strip of fabric

Choose a set amount of time. Start the clock, and each team must debate amongst each other to pick the three items that’ll help them accomplish their goal. Once the buzzer sounds, then each side grabs their three things and explains their reasoning to the larger group.

Name: Zombie Apocalypse

Rules: Teams can only choose three items via group consensus.

Time: 15 minutes

Number of participants: Groups of five or less

Tools: Survival items or replicas

Where to buy: Local retail store

What department: Sales and marketing

9. Solution Building Blocks

Remember those math story problems from school?

In this scenario, you’ll provide a work-related problem that needs a solution. Pick an idea that’s relevant to their department. Perhaps your sales reps collaborate to snag a big client while your marketing team develops a solution to a declining email open rate.

Present the situation, then give a sheet of paper to the first person in the circle. Ask them to write a sentence or two about their first steps to solving the problem. Next, they pass the paper to their right. Each employee adds their thoughts until everyone has a turn. In the end, one person reads it out loud, and as a group, they hash out the steps.

Name: Solution Building Blocks

Rules: Each person adds to the solution to develop collaborative insight. 

Time: 15 minutes

Number of participants: Groups of five or fewer

Tools: Paper and writing utensils

Where to buy: Office supply room

What department: Marketing, sales, or customer service

10. Wall of Memories

Creating a wall of memories is a heartwarming way to end a day of team building activities. This fun game works well with individual teams or with the organization as a whole. Develop a few categories and write the subject down on a whiteboard or piece of paper attached to a blank wall.

Example topics include:

  • My first sale
  • Best customer compliment
  • Funniest team outing moment
  • Biggest software fail
  • The day a team member helped me

Give each person a post-it note. If you involve multiple departments, then consider giving each small team a different color of a post-it note. Yellow for sales, green for customer service, and orange for marketing. Next, ask everyone to write down their favorite memory that falls into a category on the board and stick it under the topic.

Once everyone is finished, then walk down your memory lane as a group and allow time for each person to share why that moment brought them joy.

Name: Wall of Memories

Rules: Share one favorite memory. 

Time: 15 minutes

Number of participants: Everyone present

Tools: Post-it notes and pens

Where to buy: Office supply room

What department: Company-wide

Green means go

“75% employers rate teamwork and collaboration as very important.”

A study by Queens University of Charlotte

Today’s sales managers understand that engaged reps make a difference. By integrating problem-solving activities into your workweek, you’ll boost morale while improving communications across teams.

Alex Lamachenka

Alex Lamachenka Demand Generation Manager at PandaDoc

Alex is the Demand Generation Manager at PandaDoc who handles content and crowd marketing. His background covers sales, project management, and design. In his free time, you can find him traveling, hiking or tasting local foods.

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