September 26, 2022

6 elite communication team building activities to strengthen your team’s dynamics

Communication team building activities help coworkers learn to interact in a healthy, effective, and productive manner. Get started with these 18 ideas.

As the world is becoming more remote, everything is shifting to an asynchronous work model — which has the potential to be a ticking time bomb.

 

Don’t get me wrong. An unsynchronized workflow keeps everyone focused and productive. But it also has the potential to exacerbate the communication shortcomings that a lot of teams already struggle with, especially during times of change.

 

One of the best ways leaders can head this problem off is by using targeted communication team building activities. This helps maintain what I call the “Three T’s”: trust, transparency, and the transfer of information.

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6 elite team building activities for communication

Targeted and effective communication team building activities for work aren’t easy to find. I’ve found that there are plenty of ideas out there if you look for them. But you don’t want to waste time and resources on communication team building games that won’t genuinely impact your team.

 

With that in mind, I’ve carefully curated a list of the top best gamified, communication-oriented, team building options. We took the time to ensure that this shortlist is a repository for the absolute best team building activities to help with communication regardless of if you’re working online, in person, or in a hybrid setting.

 

1. Learn about each other's communication preferences

Do you know what your team's preferred method of communication is (meeting, Slack, asynchronous)? What their love language at work is? How about their hopes and dreams? Especially when you work remotely, it's tough to find time to chat about these topics.

Gomada makes it easy by offering pre-built activities like Ups & Downs that help your team communicate. Over time, Gomada gets to know your team, recommends ideal activities, and measures how your team is feeling. You can try this activity for free.

2. Sign up for a virtual escape room

An escape room is a fun group activity. There are also plenty of online escape room options at this point. Underneath all of the mystery and sleuthing, escape rooms are also one of the more fun communication games for team building.

 

There’s nothing quite like trapping your employees in a room and forcing them to work together to get out of the sticky situation. The need to communicate here is key. The fact that it takes place in a simulated high-pressure scenario is even better.

 

  • Cost: App. $25 - $50 per person.
  • Time required: 90 minutes on average.
  • Best for: Teams that need to problem-solve together often.

 

Pro tip: There are many different virtual escape room team building options out there. Find one with a theme that resonates with your team the most.

3. Try remote zen counting

You can’t communicate if you can’t listen. Zen counting is one of the best listening team building games out there. It’s also a simple, free option that works online.

 

All you need to do is start a remote video feed and then count to whatever number of people are participating — e.g., if 6 people are on the call, count to 6. Simple enough, right? 

 

Here’s the catch, though. Everyone has to say one number, and no one can interrupt anyone else or repeat a number. If that happens, you have to start over. Zen counting is a great way to force your team to listen and cooperate to achieve a common goal together.

 

  • Cost: $0.
  • Time required: 5 minutes or less.
  • Best for: Learning to listen to and cooperate with coworkers.

 

Pro tip: If your team gets used to this one, change things up. Have 6 coworkers count to 12. Have them say the name of animals without repeating anything. You get the idea.

4. Make a sandwich

This next one is one of the most delicious verbal team building activities out there. Have your crew gather the fixings for a sandwich at their desks. Then hop on a virtual call and take turns having each person instruct their coworker on how to make a sandwich. 

 

This is a great way to practice detailed communication. It also helps coworkers learn little insights into how each person approaches a project or task.

 

  • Cost: $0 - $50 (if you pay for the ingredients.)
  • Time required: 15 - 30 minutes.
  • Best for: Learning to listen to and cooperate with coworkers.

 

Pro tip: Don’t restrict yourself to sandwiches. Have each coworker assemble the ingredients for a meal they enjoy and then see if they can help each other put everything together correctly.

5. Exercise emotional intelligence — game style

This next one is similar to the remote version of the popular charades game Heads Up! It’s also one of the best non-verbal team building activities out there.

 

Have your team get on a call. Then email everyone an individual emotion. Have each person act out their emotion on-screen without speaking. See who can guess what emotion they have first.

 

This helps your team communicate outside of phone calls and typed messages. It personalizes their interactions, too. Focusing on emotions, in particular, also provides greater insight into each individual’s body language and can promote a deeper sense of trust throughout your team.

 

  • Cost: $0.
  • Time required: 5 - 15 minutes.
  • Best for: Expanding remote team communication beyond written and verbal channels.

 

Pro tip: Consider restricting each actor’s options. Make one round facial expressions only. For the next, have them wear a mask and only use their hands or bodies.

6. Play the true or false game

You don’t have to sterilize or isolate team building activities. You can also incorporate other team building aspects into them, as is the case with True or False.

 

With this game, have each member of your team write down four or five things about themselves — including one well-disguised falsehood. Then have them take turns sharing this with the group. Everyone else can write down which item they think is a lie.

 

This is a great exercise in helping your team learn more about each other. At the same time, it promotes basic communication items, such as active listening.

 

  • Cost: $0.
  • Time required: 5 - 15 minutes.
  • Best for: Helping your team both listen better and discover more about one another.

 

Pro tip: Change up the formula at times. Have each person include 3 truths and 2 lies or even all lies with a single, obscure truth sprinkled into the mix.

Team building activities designed with Coventry University

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Why communication team building activities are important

The first month of the pandemic saw nearly a third of workers shift from in-office to remote work settings. And that doesn’t even take into account those who were already working from home. As the crisis has eased, there have been plenty of signs that this migration isn’t going to reverse itself any time soon.

 

As many remote-friendly employers dig into their new virtual work environments, they’ll need ways to keep their geographically scattered teams connected. In other words, they’ll require tools like team building games to improve communication in their new online workspaces.

Communication isn’t simple — take it seriously

Communication takes a lot of different forms. This includes everything from body language to facial expressions to the written word. Verbal communication can vary, too, from a formal statement to a grunt or a laugh. You can even use silence as a way to communicate something.

 

The most common forms of communication are usually lumped into four different categories:

  1. Verbal
  2. Nonverbal
  3. Written
  4. Visual

 

On top of that, there are different types of communication, including:

  • Passive
  • Aggressive
  • Assertive
  • Passive-aggressive.

 

If you want your team to communicate well, start by educating them on the importance of communication in the workplace. Outline the different forms and styles that communication can take. Experience and practice are also important. When you’ve finished the classroom stuff, take your team through some team building communication activities.

Prioritizing team building activities for workplace communication

While there are many subtle aspects to team building, communication is one of the most obvious items to focus on. If your team doesn’t exercise its ability to exchange information and understand one another regularly, it will impact their ability to work together.

 

Avoid this eventual reality by proactively finding the time to work team building communication games into your schedule. If you have a budget and a few hours, sign up for an escape room. If you have a few minutes before a meeting, use a quick activity like zen counting to keep your team’s collaboration skills on point. If you don't want to spend hours organizing, check out the best team building apps.

 

Whatever you do, make sure that you work team building activities to promote communication into your team’s agenda on a regular basis to maintain healthy, comfortable, and productive levels of communication as you work together each day.

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