There is nothing in this world in which we do not communicate. It is also true that we could all learn to communicate more effectively. To this end, facilitating team-building activities on communication skills, especially at work, should be considered a high priority in any team environment.
Why Improve Communication Skills?
Research clearly shows that the more effective an individual or a group communicates, the more successful they will be.
Experiences which develop communication skills provide an opportunity for people to share their thoughts, feelings and behaviours more effectively. These activities deliberately focus on listening skills, both verbal and non-verbal, as well as key decision-making skills.
Any effort to improve communication skills will necessarily focus on the following key attributes:
Clarity – do your co-workers understand exactly what you said and mean?
Comprehension – can your co-workers repeat back to you what you said to
Active Listening – are you truly listening to what is being shared or are you just waiting your turn to speak?
Medium – which of the many methods of communication is the most suitable for your message, eg oral, written, email, telephone, etc?
Body Language – do your words align or contradict what the rest of your body is saying?
The fun team-building exercises I share in this article are not only fun but will improve your communication skills too, and give you the tools to work more effectively as a team.
Examples of Team Building Activities on Communication
Here are some great examples of everyday workplace experiences which focus on the effective use of communication skills in the workplace:
Practising the art and science of ‘active’ listening.
Participating in an exercise/project which requires the group to reach consensus.
Taking turns to lead the weekly sales meeting.
Repeating back what someone just said to explore comprehension.
Being self-aware of the impact your personality and preferences have on others.
Giving and receiving constructive feedback to an individual or group.
Now, it’s time to share some of my most favourite team-building games on communication skills.
This highly interactive and energetic exercise is all about communication and how our brains are wired to respond to certain signals. All you need is a wide-open space and a willingness to make mistakes.
This playing card-based activity is ideal for focusing on those subtle signals we give to others about we value or not value our work colleagues. It is possibly one of the most powerful and dynamic exercises we use with work teams to explore diversity, roles and values.
Just the simple task of inviting your co-workers to play, interact and share will open many new opportunities to improve communication skills. This ice-breaking game is perfect for partner-sharing, which we recommend you should form randomly and switch frequently during your session.
Do you have co-workers who dominate a conversation and/or take all the oxygen in the room with their opinions? This strategy will provide a simple structure you can use to help everyone in your team communicate and be heard.
As we say, it’s really hard to be left out of a pair. The intimacy of sharing only with one other person will ramp up the sense of connectedness in a group, not to mention, stimulate a more open, valued listening for others. Be sure to connect this message to more relevant aspects of your workplace, eg weekly meetings.
A challenging, time-sensitive group initiative that amplifies what happens when a team does not communicate well. Expect issues of planning, communication and listening to be raised during and after the exercise.
Online Communication & Team-Building Activities
In a post COVID19 world, it is clear that many workplaces will have to pivot their training and development budgets to embrace online and blended learning methodologies. There are many team-building exercises on communication that can be conducted online.
Often, all it takes is a small adaptation to make an experience suitable for a virtual audience. For example, the use of multiple breakout rooms works perfectly for Are You More Like. And, synchronous/collaborative screen sharing apps can be used to present the team challenge of Pressure Cooker to permit each participant to manipulate their own object.