If there was a list of the ‘top five team building benefits' (I'm sure there is somewhere), communication would be in first place. It's the key to all successful relationships, business or otherwise.
Communication only works in the presence of all its component parts. It's more than just the ability to explain. For real communication to take place, understanding has to be present too.
Consider some of the games I've selected below. Each one targets a different element of communication or understanding, to create a learning experience that unlocks group potential.
There's nothing like a bit of tension to force a team to communicate. Team games that work against the clock have a high chance of identifying communicator types, as they jolt team members out of their normal routines and force them to impart key information quickly.
You'll see tempers fray and surprising people rise to the challenge when you throw them into a room with an ‘armed' bomb. In our version, teams must solve clues to deactivate the explosive, while some members are tasked with constructing a bomb shelter from blueprints.
It's amazing how hard it is to give directions to someone who can't see. You can't point, you can't say ‘over there' and hope for the best. Every word must be precisely chosen to get your message across.
When the person you're directing is also driving, elements of time and danger add extra urgency to the mix. If your team members can't find the perfect way to describe the terrain, or if the driver doesn't trust them enough to do what they say without being able to see the effects, the 4x4 ends up in a ditch.
This is a team building classic that always goes down well in the events we organise. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. You won't need equipment or even a venue: just team members and a facilitator who knows all the moves.
Counting to six, the facilitator assigns a different movement to each number. As extra movements come into play, concentration frays and the room dissolves into chaos. A real skill-sharpener, Six Count can be incorporated into any team building event, from a small seminar to a big meeting. I recommend springing it on delegates unawares for an extra element of concentrative learning.
PICASSO PICTURE SHOW
Art is all about communicating intangible human emotions. Add a communications ‘gatekeeper' to the mix, and you've got a team building activity that requires participants to deliver instructions with absolute precision.
Teams get one communicator each, who is allowed to view a Picasso masterpiece. The communicator must then relay information to the team's artists, giving them a verbal blueprint for recreating the original. Artists aren't allowed to see the picture, and the communicator has a limited amount of time to look before it gets taken away. Oh, and as if that wasn't enough the copy is a different scale to the source picture.
Learning to be communicated to is as important for your teams as learning how to communicate. Creating a human logo requires the ability to interpret instructions correctly, stick to the blueprint, and understand that individual employees are part of a bigger picture. The end result, which can only be seen in a photo, only works if everyone trusts the instructions, and plays their part.
Can you think of a great communicating activity I've missed out? Share it with our community on LinkedIn or Twitter.