Just the mention of the word team building can bring a sweat to the brow of any business owner or company manager. Team activities are often dreaded in the workplace by both leaders and employees. Often, they’re mandated by leadership or HR yet they follow an antiquated, by-the-book rationale that fails miserably to engage and unite.
In addition to resistance based on less than stellar associations with team building, limited agenda time can be an obstacle to planning a program. The goods news is, there are many fun and productive quick team building activities you can employ, to not only increase enjoyment in the moment, but to ensure the outcomes stay with your group for the long haul.
Making your team events fun, productive and short in duration will go a long way toward improving your groups’s attitude about setting aside time to work on team dynamics. And if you develop a list of go-to quick team building activities then you won’t have that old excuse of not enough time.
Quick Team Building That Works
Below are some ideas for effective and fun team building activities that can be done quickly. These ideas will work for different size groups and in different settings; in your office, at a conference center or even over a meal.
Building Teams Through Music
Music is a great way to bridge the gap between people on your workforce and to bring them together. Almost everyone feels a deep connection to music. From sharing your favorite bands or songs to actually incorporating various genres of music into your work life, there are many ways you can use the magic of music to empower, enlighten and engage.
Your passion may be hip-hop, country, R&B, jazz, heavy metal, you name it. It doesn’t really matter what it is. In fact, different musical tastes form the basis of a team event you can facilitate almost any time and anywhere. Here’s a quick and effective way to do this.
- Gather everyone together and then go around the room asking each person what their favorite song is.
- As each person answers, ask them why that song is their favorite.
- Allow people who share the same favorite song to pair off and learn more about each other and the details of how that song plays into their lives.
Chances are you’ll be inundated with stories from their childhood, first loves, tragedies, challenges and successes. This opens up a way for people to speak candidly about their lives in ways they normally wouldn’t. Revealing ourselves through the power of song brings us closer. This team event doesn’t take long. Depending on how many people are seated around the table, it can be a quick intro to your sales meeting. Or you can devote an entire meeting to this one activity as a great alternate to the usual weekly update meeting.
And if you want to up the ante and bring in a professional team building facilitator, one of my favorite quick team building activities is the musical icebreaker program we facilitate here at Kidbilly Music. This program is great for time frames of between 15 to 60 minutes. You’ll get creative while you increase communication, engage everyone and come up with something really great as a team; your own original song. We can help you bring your shared musical experience to a whole new level.
Turning Negatives into Positives
You need just five to ten minutes for this quick team program. You’ll pair of into groups of two. The rules are simple.
- Person A shares something negative that happened to them with Person B. It can be either personal or work-related. The point is, it must be true.
- Then, Person A discusses that same experience but this time focuses only on the positive outcomes of the experience. Person B helps explore that silver lining, then they switch off.
The objective is to learn how to reframe negative situations into learning shared experiences.
Truths and Lies
This is similar to negatives and positives but it puts a bit of a spin on the first task. You should have at least six people and about fifteen minutes. For this activity it’s best to pair off.
- Each person will name three facts and one lie about themselves in random order. Their partner will guess which statement is a lie.
- After the guess and the revealing of which of the statements was a lie, the person who guessed will explain why they thought a certain statement was a lie.
This helps us better understand how we perceive each other. This exercise is great for an icebreaker because it helps to dispel snap judgements of colleagues. It’s also a great way for introverts to share things about themselves that they wouldn’t otherwise share.
Dreaming Up A Vacation
This is a quick and really fun way to learn about each other, to invite everyone into sharing personal aspirations, thus revealing a little bit more than they’d normally have a chance to at work.
You can do this in pairs or you can share with everyone in the room.
- Ask everyone how they’d spend one month away from work and from home if money was not an issue.
- As a follow up, also ask each person what they think it would take to obtain their dream. How could they make that vacation happen?
From a dream trip to an awesome staycation, this activity can help reveal things about your co-workers that you never knew before. It can also be a great jumping-off point to segue into ways in which productivity can be discussed. You might end up talking about what you can do as a team to achieve enough success to garner yourselves more vacations!
Here’s a competitive and quick team building activity that’s lots of fun.
- Pair off in groups of two and play catch in pairs.
- Whenever a pair drops the ball they’re eliminated.
- Every two minutes make each pair of people stand farther apart, thus increasing the challenge.
- You can stop when you have three remaining teams and give out three awards. Or if you’re super competitive, go all the way until you have one winner.
The above ideas are just a few of the great quick team building activities out there. Other great ideas include a story slam in which each person’s story telling is timed and judged on information(content) and entertainment.
Improv skits can also work well. However, if you’re considering improv, you should hire a professional facilitator to lead. You’ll want to make sure there are ground rules and that the interaction stays positive and accessible, not just favoring the extroverts on your team.
Make Your List Of Quick Team Programs
While you and your team may not welcome the idea of a planned activity, team building really is one of the most important investments you can make for the people you’re leading. It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication and boosts collaboration. High performing teams understand the value of creating opportunity on a regular basis to bond, let off steam and build communication.
It’s imperative that you find positive, interactive and genuinely fun activities for your team. And to do this on a regular, or semi-regular basis you do need quick team building ideas. Work it into your work life and you’ll see the benefits.