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Icebreakers and Energy Raisers

Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking organizing team-building events. Some activities can fall flat, leaving participants groaning and unwilling to get involved, but when done well, these sessions can add a lot of value to meeting or training – while letting everyone have some fun at the same time.

Here are 22 tried and tested team building activities for work that people will enjoy doing!

Icebreakers and Energy Raisers

These activities are ideal for kicking off a meeting or group training session when people don’t necessarily know all the other members in the group – or to raise energy levels when enthusiasm starts to sag.

1. Compliments

Everybody tapes a sheet of A4 paper onto their backs and the group mingles, introducing themselves to everybody else one by one and having a short conversation of around 30 seconds.

After the short chat, each person writes a secret compliment on their partner’s sheet before moving on to the next person.

At the end, participants read out some of the compliments and try to guess who wrote them.

2. Speed Dating – Things in Common

Everybody sits on two rows of chairs facing each other and must talk to the person in front of them for one minute to try to find three things they both have in common.

After the minute is up, everyone moves along one chair so that each person has a new partner and the activity is repeated.

At the end, participants give feedback about some of the more unusual things in common they discovered.

3. Line up!

A quick, high-energy game to kick off a meeting or training, especially useful first thing in the morning or just after lunch.

Explain that you will call out an instruction and everyone needs to line up as quickly as possible in the order of what you shout out.

Examples can be height, age, length of hair, birthday month and so on. Good for fast communication and interaction. Can also be done in two teams to make it competitive.

4. Memory Game

Everybody in the room has to mingle and speak to every other person for a set amount of time (a minute each is about right).

When everyone has spoken to everyone else, the group sits in a circle. Going around the circle one person at a time, the group pools all the information they can remember about each person.

5. Guess Facts

Each person takes a sheet of paper and fills it with numbers, words, and drawings representing things that are important to them. Then in groups of about four to six, the other team members should try to guess the significance of each item.

After the group has tried to guess, the person should then reveal what each item means.

6. Three Lies and a Truth

Each person takes turn to tell the group four pieces of information about themselves, three of which are true and one of which is a lie. The rest of the group then asks questions about the four facts to try to guess which one is not true. The person being questioned has to try to lie convincingly.

This is a fun and interactive way to find out some more interesting information about group members than just their names and where they’re from.[1]

7. What’s My Name?

Put a Post-It note or similar on each person’s forehead (or a sheet of paper on their back) with a famous person’s name on it. Participants should then move around the room asking three yes/no questions to each other person they speak to in order to try to work out which famous person’s name they have.

8. The Penny Drops

Place some coins in a pot, one coin for each person in the group. No coin should be older than the youngest member of the group.

Each participant takes a coin from the pot and tells the group about something important that happened to them in the year of that coin.[2]

Short Team Building Exercises

These are good teamwork exercises that don’t take up too much time and require only a minimum of equipment. They can work well after a break to get everyone focused again or as an introduction to the next segment of the training or meeting.

9. Perfect Square

Divide participants into groups and give each group a length of rope that is tied together at the end. Instruct them to form the rope into a circle.

When they are in position, blindfold them all and tell them they now have to make a perfect square.

This exercise is great for working on communication and teamwork.[3]

10. Human Knot

Have everyone stand in a circle shoulder to shoulder and tell them to put out their left hand and grab the hand of someone in front of them. Then do the same with their right hands.

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