In any relationship, be it personal or professional, communication is what binds it together. Without it, no relationship is going to be successful. The value of communication increases manifold when it comes to teamwork and team building, because of the larger number of people involved with all their individual viewpoints and varied perceptions. In order to carry out any activity or function, communication within a team is essential, which is why building healthy workplace atmosphere becomes a necessity.
Team communication activities help colleagues forge a strong bond with each other, and help understand each other better. It is important to first accept that there is no right or wrong in any of them. Each individual is entitled to her/his own opinion, and this opinion only enhances the team-building process. Here are some activities that help strengthen the bond among team members.
Colors of the Day
This activity involves every member of a group associating a day with a particular color. Every individual is to close their eyes and imagine a color that they associate with the day of the week, and then write it down. Once everyone is done writing their choice, they are asked to speak about the color they associate with the week, and why they do that. It gives an idea about how human beings perceive different situations. For instance, some may speak of 'Monday blues', while others may associate the color red with the first day of the week as a fiery start. It is not necessary to see a color with a day, and some may not be able to make an association. Others may tend to associate other objects or feelings with a particular day. There is no right or wrong in this activity. This activity enhances team bonding by helping members of a group understand each other and the differences in their viewpoints about complex situations.
Walk the Talk
An important method of team building and communication, this is also one of the many trust-building activities that involves dividing people into groups of two. One person from the team is blindfolded, while the other is to guide her/him through a path full of obstacles. This helps the guide develop leadership qualities, and enables the follower to develop trust in the leader. The leader will also develop a style of communication that she/he perceives as best understood by the follower. At the end of the session, a discussion can be held to understand what went wrong, what was positive, and methods of developing effective team skills.
This is one of the many fun games that shows how excessively filtered information gets affected and changes drastically from the actual information. Filter is the game you would call 'Chinese Whispers' in layman terms. The idea is to have a small number of people sit in a group, and have one person speak a sentence into the ear of the person sitting next to her/him. Ideally, the statement should be one full of gossip. The person will then repeat what she/he heard in the ear of the person sitting next to her/him and this will continue until a full circle is completed. The last person to hear the information will then speak out the statement. It is a humorous game where you will see how the statement was altered by the time it reached the final receiver, simply because of excessive filtering. It also helps forge a strong bond among team members by teaching them the value of effective communication.
Similar to the aforementioned game, colors of the day, as the name suggests, this game is about how group members perceive different situations and enables them to put forth their viewpoint where group communication is essential. To conduct this activity, pass around a picture and ask everyone to write down what they derive from the picture. Have them talk about their perception about the picture after everyone has written down what they see. Every viewpoint is personal, and it helps provide a little insight about the individual that makes up a team. It also shows how each member will react and perform in group tasks, to come up with unique problem solving methods. This activity may also be performed by dividing everyone into groups of two and three, to figure how the group mindset functions.
I Will Survive
In this game, people are divided into groups and are presented with a scenario. The scenario can go something like this, 'You are stranded on an island, and you are given the choice of ten objects for survival. Choose wisely.' This will require the group to put their heads together, to come up with the ten items that are necessary for survival on a stranded island. This activity provides an insight into group behavior. It will give rise to a certain amount of conflict, emotions, and will help them realize the importance and effectiveness of decision making in a group. There may be situations where one member of the group will change their decision just to maintain calm in the group. Note down all this and relate it to the group later, to be able to help them understand their positives and negatives as a group. Also provide some team-building ideas to improve their function as a unit.
While a lot of elements go into healthy team building, team communication activities is one of the most important of them. As such, the use of these activities to help colleagues familiarize themselves with each other will enhance this process, and eventually, the productivity of the organization as a whole.