When many employees hear the word “team building,” they immediately flinch and think back on years of incredibly awkward icebreakers in school. But small group team building offers the opportunity to maximize your team’s performance and make work-life better.
Team programs teach your employees to empathize with each other and build trust. Of course, it helps to have the right team building for small groups. Here are five team activities that will help you better connect with your colleagues.
1. Two Truths and a Lie
For a simple old standby activity that’s always fun and very effective, you can rely on a tried-and-true classic, two truths and a lie.
The game is exactly what it sounds like. Have every team member write down two truths and a lie about themselves without showing them to anyone. From there, you’ll have a cocktail party-style conversation.
The idea is for groups to quiz each person on their three statements. The goal is to convince everyone that your lie is actually true, while team members try to correctly guess the lie.
This game helps promote communication in a friendly atmosphere. You’re not grilling each other about office tasks. You’re just telling funny stories. And as your team works together to guess each person’s lie, you’ll have to articulate why you think a particular statement is a lie.
By the end of the game, you’ll learn something fun about your colleagues – optimal small group team building that you can leverage anytime, anywhere.
2. Life Highlights
The life highlights game works well for large and small groups equally.
First, ask each person to close their eyes and envision the best moments of their lives. It doesn’t matter what the moments are. They could be impressive adventures, professional successes, or off-the-wall personal stories.
Then, after everyone has had a minute or two to think of their best moments, everyone has to narrow the choices down.
Ask each participant to close their eyes again. This time, they’re going to decide which 30 seconds of their life they would live over again if they only had 30 seconds left to live.
Everyone will share which 30 seconds they chose and why. Like two truths and a lie, this game helps your coworkers get to know each other’s passions, personalities and personal triumphs.
3. The Classification Game
Another way to learn each other’s likes and dislikes is the classification game.
In this game, you’ll split the room into teams of four people each. So even if you have quite a few people overall, you’ll end up benefitting from a small group team building dynamic.
Once teams have done their introductions, they begin the activity. Their job in this game is to classify themselves based on criteria, favorite hobbies or common interests.
For example, if everyone in a team owns a dog, they’ll be a team of dog lovers. If everyone on a team loves pizza, they’re the pizza team. If everyone on a team loves Game of Thrones, they’re the Game of Thrones team.
After teams get their focus and names they being to interact with other teams. Each group will act the way they think their stereotypes would behave. Dog lovers, for example, could go around asking to show other people pictures of their dogs. TV lovers might be obsessed about discussing latest episodes and plot twists.
The idea of the game is twofold. First, it allows teammates to get to know each other better. Second, it helps illuminate that stereotypes are reductive – they don’t tell you everything there is to know about a person. We may tag a colleague as the ‘dog lover’ when in fact, they’re much more than that.
It also makes everyone more sensitive to the fact that they may sometimes try too hard to get other people to share or like only what they want to share.
Pretending to be a dog lover, will help you relate more to your co-worker who is indeed a dog lover. But it will also help your genuine ‘dog lover’ co-workers to realize they might want to diversify topics so they’re not narrowly stereotyped.
4. One Quick Question
One quick question is a simple fun team activity that’s great for small groups and can be done at the beginning of a meeting, or any gathering.
As with other games, the approach is simple, something you can organize yourselves. Start by pairing participants and get them to exchange introductions.
Then, you’ll ask the following question: If you could ask one question to determine someone’s suitability for ________, what would you ask? Let each group decide the topic of the question. It could be anything from suitability to being a baby sitter or a physicist!
In order to develop one question to determine someone’s ability to do something, you need to use critical thinking and collaboration. The idea of the activity is to demonstrate that critical decisions should be developed with care, and ultimately with input from colleagues. It will give everyone empathy for leadership, or anyone in a role that requires the development of systems and management.
This small team DIY idea will give teammates better understanding of the thought that goes into the questions they may be asked by both colleagues and bosses.
4. Small Group Team Building With Music
My personal favorite program and one that works well for small groups is music team building, specifically the song program we facilitate here at Kidbilly Music.
Our team of award-winning songwriters will bring your group together for a songwriting session. You’ll come up with ideas and tap into your shared creativity to write a song that’s uniquely yours. You can do this as one large group or you can break into smaller groups, each writing their own song.
When your song is finished, you’ll perform and record it. That way, you’ll have a lasting reminder; your very own team song!
Why does it work? It works for two foundational reasons.
Songs tell stories and humans have been telling stories since the dawn of time. Story is something we all relate to.
Secondly, everyone speaks the language of song. Even if you can’t carry a tune, you know the structure of songs. In fact, you probably have shared favorite songs your co-workers will also resonate with. Music is a universal language that brings people together and creates lasting memories.
The Benefits of Teamwork
We know that getting over the initial awkwardness of team building activities can be difficult. Especially if your colleagues can recall a long history of uncomfortable icebreakers.
But the benefits of teamwork are obvious. These 5 small group team building ideas provide the opportunity for you to collaborate better, build trust, improve communication and optimize team performance.