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What Kind of Team Building Training Exercises Should You Use?

April 25, 2018
What Kind of Team Building Training Exercises Should You Use?

When it comes to team building training exercises, it can be tempting to just go with a tried-and-true exercise. Alternately, you might want to try the new idea you heard about to keep things fresh.

But unless you consider your team's situation and goals, you might be off base.

Here are three situations you might be in and examples of team building training exercises you might consider for each.

My team needs to be more creative and solve problems.

One common purpose of team building training is to help your team improve their problem-solving skills. This can grow your team's creativity and innovation.

If your goal is to improve problem-solving skills, use problem-solving team building exercises! Here are some examples.

  • You could build basic puzzles, or make things more complicated by making your own puzzles or having the team assemble puzzles without knowing what they are building.
  • For a higher level of difficulty, consider an exercise like making a square. Have everyone stand in a circle holding a rope while blindfolded, then put it down on the floor. Give them a set amount of time to turn the circle into a square.
  • If you have time and space, consider a building activity, such as using office supplies to move a golf ball across a room or move water a specific distance without carrying it. If you have access to a pool, building a boat using office supplies can be fun (but messy!). The egg drop is a classic, but still fun, version of a building activity.
  • A simple exercise is to give the team a situation, such as being stuck on a deserted island, then ask them to identify what 10 objects in the room they'd bring to help.

Whatever you decide, make sure you have the team work together to solve a problem, using creative solutions.

My team needs to communicate more and trust each other.

If you are more concerned about communication and trust, you'll need different team building training exercises. For these, focus on creating situations where people will need to communicate effectively with each other.

Here are some examples.

  • One fun exercise is to build a simple sculpture out of blocks and give one person from each team a few seconds to look at it. They then need to go back to their team and try to copy your sculpture with their own blocks.
  • Visual telephone is always a fun activity. Give a person a blank notepad and have them write an object on the first page. The second person needs to turn the page and draw what the first person wrote. The third person then turns the page and writes what they think the drawing is. Keep going, ideally with at least 10 turns. It's always funny to see how things change over the course of this exercise!
  • Similar to the previous exercise, you can have people sit back-to-back and have one person describe something for the other person to draw. They can't name the specific object, but they have to describe it and see how long it takes the other person to figure out what they are drawing.
  • To improve communication and get everyone talking, you can use a game to form constantly changing teams. Call out a characteristic, like night owls vs. morning people, and have people split into groups. Then switch the characteristic and have the groups reform. Some ideas to include are favorite colors, number of children, dog people vs. cat people, favorite candy bars, etc.
  • A minefield is a classic team building training exercise, but it's still fun and can help build communication and trust. Set up a “minefield” with traffic cones, bottles of water, and other hazards on the floor, then have one person guide a blindfolded person through it using only verbal directions.
  • In a bit of a different vein, you might consider having the team take behavioral assessments, then debrief the results. This can provide insight into your team's similarities and differences, and people tend to enjoy learning more about themselves and their teammates.

For all of the exercises above, if you are focused on improving communication between specific people or teams, make sure you set up those groups to work together. When you are more generally focused on your whole team, though, you can be less precise.

My team just needs more energy and focus.

If you don't have specific trust, communication, or creativity problems, you are in an easier position. Team building training exercises are still important, but you have more flexibility!

You can use any of the exercises in the previous sections, or a more general activity like a scavenger hunt.

One great practice when you want to build energy is to make the activity a competition. You can take many of the activities above and divide your team into groups, then have them compete to either do things better or faster.

I hope these ideas are helpful as you plan your team building training exercises!

Remember, tie your team building training to your team's specific challenges.

I'd love to see your feedback and ideas in the comments! And for more ideas on building a healthy sales culture, check out our eBook.

Free eBook: How to Develop a Healthy Sales Culture

2 Comments

  • Thomas Lang - Reply

    Best to start with a fundamentally sound engagement protocol, that delivers real-time responses and data tracks, that help to shape future training secessions.

    Thank you,

    Tom

    • Elizabeth Frederick - Reply

      That’s a great point, Tom!

      It can be tempting to create a whole training program without giving yourself space to adjust the plan. It’s so important to get feedback throughout the training program and modify it as needed, both within individual training sessions and between sessions.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

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