One of the most important elements to a good team is good communication – being able to discuss freely and cooperate to reach an end goal is of course essential, but so is feeling comfortable and secure and able to express your thoughts and opinions without being ridiculed. This isn’t always the easiest thing to encourage, as some people are shy by nature, let alone with people they don’t know so well. You don’t want to force it, but rather gently make everyone feel comfortable and ready to speak freely. One way to do this is through various exercises that can be completed as a group.
- Survival Scenario. Problem solving through talking is a very essential skill for many team projects, and being able to state a case and weigh up pros and cons is important to make sure everyone feels included and valued. This exercise involves the group imagining the boat they are on is sinking into the ocean, and they have a lifeboat with enough room for them and 12 items which they have to decide on as a group. It’s not about coming up with the “right” answer, it’s about being able to talk through options and evaluate how the group manages discussions.
- Back To Back Drawing. Divide the group into pairs, and give one person a piece of paper with a shape on it, and the other some paper and pens. The aim is for the person to communicate how to draw the shape to other, without describing what the shape actually is. This forces them to think creatively, as well as imagine how the other person is receiving/understanding their instructions. It also makes them think carefully about the words they chose and how they express themselves, as this is a large part of effective communication.
- Story Circle. Get team members sitting in a circle, and begin the basic start of a story. Select a number of times that you want to go around the circle, and collectively work together to get a complete story that ends exactly at the last person. This requires everyone to focus and actively listen to what others are saying, as well as creates a sense of co-operation and all working towards a single goal.
Building strong team communication is important in lots of environments – professional, educational and recreational. The best way to do this is through exercises and doing these often to continually