People are in constant communication, whether they realize it or not. The only time we are not sending out messages is when we are receiving them – or sleeping! When we communicate we want others to understand the exact message we are trying to convey. In the workplace, communication is particularly important because imparting information successfully can make the difference between producing the right products and keeping or losing a customer. Co-workers with different personality types each have their own style of sending and receiving messages, and understanding these individual differences is essential when managing a wide range of personality types.
Team-building activities are a popular way to boost communication among co-workers. You might be familiar with team-building exercises that last for hours at all-day conferences and retreats. However, brief, 10-minute team-building activities before a meeting can also help increase communication skills and enhance other vital workplace competencies like self-awareness, confidence and innovation.
Below are some suggestions for 10-minute team-building activities that can build communication skills:
1. Create a Team
This is a fun team-building activity that requires workers to interact with one another to get information they need to form a team. As the facilitator, explain to participants that they will form a team based on instructions you call out. You might ask them to form a team with people who love jazz; with people who live downtown; with people who have the same number of children; or with people in a particular age group like as Millenials or Boomers. You will need 10 or more participants.
Call out your directions and set a time limit to encourage players to interact with each other quickly. When a team is complete, instruct the team to let everyone know by saying “finished” or sitting down together. If time allows, repeat the activity with new instructions to form another team.
After the exercise, ask participants how the activity encouraged them to communicate with each other. You might want to question whether they learned anything new about their co-workers and if they think the information can be useful in work situations. This team-building activity encourages communication while bringing out individual differences.
2. Formulate an Improv Story
This team-building activity helps co-workers communicate with each other and command attention, no matter how unexpected the message. Ask players to stand in a circle and choose one person to start things off.
Explain that participants will build an improv story by taking turns and adding only one sentence to the storyline. Encourage players to say the first thing that pops into their mind, no matter how silly. After the first team member starts the story with a sentence, the participant standing next to that individual says “yes” and repeats what the previous person just said. S/he then adds to the story with one sentence, starting with the word “and.” The story ends when it comes to a natural conclusion, or at a pre-set time limit of 10 minutes.
Formulating an improv story in this way helps people think on their feet and deal with change, vital skills in the workplace. This exercise encourages co-workers to develop self-confidence, become more self-aware and listen attentively.
3. Pitch your Co-Worker’s Idea
This team-building activity asks team members to deliver a quick “elevator pitch” of a co-worker’s idea. The exercise has the benefit of highlighting innovative suggestions and promoting communication between colleagues.
Have team members partner in pairs and ask each participant to come up with a suggestion to improve things at work. Allow a few minutes for them to get their thoughts together. Then
instruct each pair to listen to their partner’s idea. Call up team members one at a time and have them pitch their partner’s suggestion. Topics may be about improving efficiency or setting up activities in the months ahead.
Listening to and pitching a co-worker’s idea allows players to practice active listening, an important communication skill in the workplace. They learn to see things from another person’s perspective and formulate a concise overview of the suggestion. There is always the chance that someone will come up with an inspired proposal worthy of follow-up and implementation.
Improving Communication through Team Building
At True Colors, we help organizations create a culture of success where every employee feels understood and empowered. True Colors drives positive change in organizations around the world by encouraging leaders and staff to embrace individual personality differences. We use personality tests based on proven temperament theory to teach leaders and co-workers personal awareness for improved communication, engagement, collaboration and productivity.
When you partner with True Colors, an experienced Master Trainer will help evaluate your needs and set realistic, achievable goals. We help your organization thrive by implementing programs that meet challenges in leadership, team building and conflict. Our customized programs include online personality testing, consulting sessions, workshops, live events and keynote speaking engagements.