Communication matters.

In both our personal and professional lives, it is communication that sets us up for success, and a lack of communication that leads to failure.

It stands to reason, then, that good communication is one of the most important factors in creating successful teams that can consistently deliver results. And in an ideal world, we would be able to build teams made up purely of people who are comfortable with each other, and able to communicate skilfully and easily.

Unfortunately, the reality is that this is rarely the case. Instead, all too often our teams are made up of people who don’t know each other, and consequently struggle to communicate in a meaningful and productive way.

Smart managers and team leaders know that skilful communication is rarely something that develops organically, and is instead that something needs to be consciously developed. And the easiest way to do that is to run team building activities and games with your team.

There are any number of team building activities and games out there, all of which offer different benefits. However, when it comes to team building activities designed to boost communication, here are four of the best:

Back-to-Back Drawing

Duration: 30 minutes

Materials: Clipboards, paper, pencils, drawing templates

Objective: An activity that helps team members experience giving and receiving directions without visual or other non-verbal clues

Perfect for: Small groups

Divide your team into pairs, and have them sit back-to-back. Give one person the clipboard and pencil, and the other a drawing template – that is, a sheet of paper with a shape or image on it. The person with the template needs to get their partner to draw an exact replica of the image on their sheet, using only verbal instructions. When they’re done, the partners compare the original to the copy.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Duration: 1 hour

Materials: ‘Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes’, available from the Steam Store

Objective: Great for remote teams, Keep Talking is a video game that relies on excellent communication skills

Perfect for: Small groups

In Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, one player is trapped in a virtual room with a bomb they must defuse. The other players are the bomb ‘experts’, who must give instructions to defuse the bomb by deciphering information found in the bomb defusal manual.

One Question

Duration: 15 minutes

Materials: No materials needed

Objective: This is a simple, quick activity that gets your team members talking to each other

Perfect for: Small groups

Come up with some scenarios in which someone is chosen for something specific – for example, let’s say you’re looking for a new babysitter. Each person in your team needs to come up with just one question they can ask in order to determine whether someone is right for this role.

Ships in the Mist

Duration: 1 hour

Materials: No materials needed

Objective: Improve your team’s ability to communicate and listen to each other with this easy game

Perfect for: Medium groups

In this game, one team member becomes to be the ship, and another team member becomes the commander. The rest of the team becomes the obstacles, and scatter themselves about the playing area. With the ‘ship’ blindfolded, the commander must direct the ship around the space, navigating them around the obstacles. If the ship runs into an obstacle, that player is out. The hit obstacle becomes the new ship, and the remaining obstacles rearrange themselves.

Looking for more ways to boost communication and collaboration in your team? Ento’s comprehensive list of 35 team building activities and games, with activities for teams of all sizes and scopes, has got you covered.

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