Team building exercises for meetings: combining content and fun

When looking into team building exercises for meetings, often the most extreme exercises tend to come up. From egg-and-spoon races to blindfolded indoor tent building. Games of which it remains to be seen just how effectively they contribute to better teamwork. Obviously, it is important to have fun with your colleagues; Team building activities reduce stress from work and they help staff to get to know each other socially as well as professionally. Still, it is different from catching up in a café. Therefore, the best group exercises are those that balance both fun and content. These exercises are out there and we’re happy to share them with you!

Must-met conditions for a successful team building meeting

In order to come up with valuable team exercises for meetings, it is helpful when the following conditions are met:

Formulate goals: Considering that team building is more than “just fun” means that you need to formulate goals. A goal of a team building exercise can be, e.g.:

  • To become more aware of roles, types or communication styles within a team;

  • To learn about each other’s activities resulting in shorter communication lines;

  • To make new team members feel more welcome and part of the team.

Engage everyone: Team exercises should appeal to everyone. Sportive games are nice for those colleagues who are physically fit, but can be a nightmare for those that aren’t good at sports. The same goes for exercises where colleagues need to be very expressive or sociable; you’ll easily over-ask of your introvert colleagues. Make sure the exercise fosters engagement, rather than causing embarrassment or discomfort.

Experiential learning: In relation to team building exercises, Kate Mercer, writer of the book “A Buzz In the Building: How to Build and Lead a Brilliant Organisation” talks about a ‘learning gap’. Mercer explains: “It’s possible to draw parallels and bring out useful learning points, but it takes skilled facilitation to do this effectively and it’s especially difficult to ensure that people take the learning back into the workplace.” By defining and communicating clear goals, it will be much easier to learn from team building exercises.

Constant nurturing: Building a team and creating an inclusive and positive culture takes time. Team building exercises don’t stand on their own, but need repetition in order to pay off. This is especially true for organizations in which colleagues don’t see each other daily. Once you finish the first team building exercise, you might already want to plan the next one.

Cost- and time efficient team building exercises for meetings

Often-heard cons of team building exercises are that they are time- and cost-consuming. Therefore, we elaborate on only cost- and time-effective team building activities that are easy to integrate into existing meetings. We defined 10 exercises that cover the build-up of your meeting:

  • Team spirit: Short activities to support the energy flow in your meeting routine;

  • Team effectiveness: Activities to discuss work content together;

  • Team socializing: Games to play after the work is done.

1. Exercises to Boast Team spirit!

Infographic about Team spirit
  • Onboarding presentation: At Sendsteps every new employee presents him or herself with help of a PowerPoint. After a week or so everyone knows the new team member a little, which breaks the ice for a personal presentation. He or she can tell something about hobbies, family, travels etcetera. Add crazy and funny pictures to the presentation and close with a short quiz. Laughter guaranteed!

  • Celebrate success: Either start or close your meeting by letting everyone briefly elaborate on “one thing that makes you proud?”. The question is related to what has been achieved in the last week or month. Keep it short and simple. Experience the energy boast this gives!

  • Present work week: Share per person in three minutes what you achieved last week and what will you do this week. It forces everyone to measure his or her own effectiveness and it gives the team a good sense of what everyone is working on. Allow Q&A time after the three minutes and see if other colleagues can be of any assistance. Sendsteps Post feature will allow your team members to ask questions using their smartphones or laptops and show these questions live on the screen. A great way to kick-off the week!

2. Team effectiveness exercises

Team effectiveness
  • Roleplay brainstorm: Discuss a subject or issue from specific roles [e.g. manager, client, shareholder, competitor etc.] and challenge yourself to take on different perspectives. Set the timer for x-minutes and divide roles. Every participant starts off by introducing him- or herself in the role represented. In your wrap up ask yourself: “how [or not] did it change views?”.

  • Fish bowl discussion: Split up your team in two groups. Form two circles. The inner circle discusses; the outer circle observes. Either switch roles, then draw conclusions and decide. Or let the groups switch roles and then conclude and decide. Especially handy for large teams!

  • One-to-all brainstorm: Let a colleague pitch a challenge. Let attendees send in one-sentence solutions via Sendsteps and present them on the presentation screen. Let the colleague elaborate on those ideas from the audience that seem interesting to him or her. In a short time, you’ll receive lots of interesting content to elaborate on. A great approach to problem solving!

  • Discuss back to back: Discuss a statement [agree/disagree] and convince each other in pairs by leaving out body language; the stronger it now comes down to arguments and discussion techniques. Fun to watch your colleagues execute this exercise!

3. Team Socializing Exercises

Team Socializing
  • Office trivia Quiz: Funny facts and figures about team members, clients, the office or past field trips. Formulate silly quiz questions, play a quiz using Powerpoint Sendsteps Audience Response System and bring back these sweet memories!

  • Two truths and a lie: Let a colleague tell the team a 5 minute story with two facts and one lie. Let the team decide which of the three concepts is the lie. The story around your colleague might get a whole new dimension.

  • Memory Wordcloud: Define a few general work-related topics, like: “My first day”, “Work travel” or “Teamwork”. Choose a topic and give everyone a think-break of a minute. Then start posting your memories via Sendsteps onto the wordcloud. Did you ever think of printing the wordcloud to canvas and hang it in your office?

Your next team builiding exercise?

Use Sendsteps to gather replies on all your quiz questions. Setup an interactive PowerPoint session and add multiple choice, open- and wordcloud questions to your slideshow. Questions that address the subject that you like to discuss and on which you’d like to receive feedback. Do you dare to start the team building experiment 2.0? Good luck!

Start the experiment and build your team culture

Experiment with a combination of exercises – see what fits best with your team. Obviously, there are hundreds of other team building exercises for corporate meetings out there. As long as you set goals, have balance between fun and content, if you can learn something from your team building and if you repeat it on a regular basis – then team building exercises become a powerful instrument for building a great team culture!

Robert Daverschot

Robert is a professional moderator, presenter and speaker coach. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and works for a broad range of industries. He has interviewed ministers, captains of industry and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With it, an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in comments to speakers and panels on stage. As such, events turn into lively dialogues with everyone being able to speak up!