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Five quick team-building icebreakers
Sunder Ramachandran
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April 27, 2007

Are your team meetings becoming boring and mundane with the same agendas and targets repeated every time?

Here are five activities that can be used as icebreakers during your next meeting. They are fairly simple, involve zero investment and will inject much needed fun and enthusiasm in your teams.

Activity 1: Who's got the big foot?

Have everyone line up in a straight line. Then, blindfold everyone. Instruct them to re-organise themselves according to their shoe size without verbally stating their shoe size to each other.

How it helps: The team will need to work together on communicating without discussing their shoe size and without vision. Teamwork is a must to succeed at this one.

Activity 2: Who's your favourite at work?

Have all team-members share the name of someone they admire at work and why.

How it helps: Everyone will learn more about each other's values and what they believe is important. It will also bring people closer together when they realise they respect the same people.

Activity 3: We are all alike

Have everyone sit across from one another; as close to a circle as possible. Holding a ball of twine, state something embarrassing about yourself and then, once the laughter dies down a little, hold onto the end of the twine and toss the ball across to the other side of the circle.

Every person shares an embarrassing story and passes the twine across to someone else, while holding a connected piece. After everyone has gone, you will have a web connecting all of you.

How it helps: Points out that you are all connected. Although you are different, you share similar experiences and emotions in your life. You are more alike than you are different.

Activity 4: Do you know me?

Have members team up with someone they are not sitting next to in the meeting. Instruct each duo to take turns, asking each other three questions:

a) A proud moment in your work or personal life,
b) Something most people do not know about you,
c) Interviewer's choice of any question.

Then, have each person share with the larger group what they discovered about their partner.

How it helps: The duo and group learn a lot more about each other and build rapport with all members of the team.

Activity 5: Do you know what I mean?

Have a volunteer hold a sheet you have created with different shapes drawn on it. With their back to the group, the volunteer describes the shapes on the paper; everyone else tries to draw the same design based on only the verbal instruction of the volunteer.

How it helps: The group's pictures will not be exactly the same as the original and some will be really far off. Everyone will be reminded of the importance of communication.

Building teams is not a one-time event. It is a day-to-day process. Good managers involve, engage and inspire their teams on a daily basis through easy, but fun, activities. Don't wait for the big ticket weekend training to happen. Start your own small team-building efforts within the office. Today.

-- Sunder Ramachandran is a Managing Partner with WCH (We Create Headstarts) Training Solutions and can be reached at

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