Communication team building activities are the perfect way to create a more open, effective, and collaborative team! When employees learn how to effectively communicate with each other, the benefits can translate into smoother workflows, a more comfortable work environment, and more meaningful employee engagement.
Don’t let the challenges of remote working hold you back from growing a stronger team. Instead, tap into communication games to encourage individual expression and team connections. As a result, you can create a work culture where people feel heard and respected.
In this guide, you’ll find:
- Workplace activities for communication and communication games
- Team building activities for building communication and trust
- Non-verbal communication activities
- Virtual communication team building for remote teams
- 20 team bonding games
- Tips for understanding human communication habits and emotions
The workplace contains four main communication types: verbal, non-verbal, written, and visual. Finding balance between each of these styles is vital. Plus, it’s important to realize the impact each communication style can have on team dynamics.
In any interpersonal relationships, communication barriers can arise. For example, voice tone, body language, eye contact, and perceived empathy all impact the way information is shared and received. For that reason, it’s a savvy move to be mindful of employees’ communication styles and needs.
Overcome common communication barriers in the workplace by addressing the importance of team communication head-on. One way to do this is by promoting active listening team building activities. This is especially essential for virtual teams with less social interpersonal contact.
In addition, aim to create a culture of empathy between team members. This is key for in-person, virtual, or hybrid teams to ensure that employees feel valued and cared for. As a result, effective communication can thrive in the office space. Read on to discover how!
Benefits of Communication Team Building Activities
Corporate workplace research reported by Forbes found that, “Employees who feel their voice is heard at work are 4.6 times more likely to be empowered to do their best work.” By implementing communication team building activities, your company can gain this benefit and more, such as:
- Improved collaboration: Communication exercises help teams build an improved culture of collaboration. By actively encouraging employee engagement, teams learn how to best work with one another to accomplish goals and tasks.
- Enhanced problem-solving skills: Teams who regularly engage in communication exercises deepen their ability to take on challenges. A culture of open dialogue and partnership allows employees to think freely and creatively when problem-solving.
- Increased trust: Effective communication opens the door for team members to trust one another. This is especially key for remote teams. We suggest highlighting positive attributes and team successes through everyday communication to build team trust.
- Better conflict resolution: Regular implementation of communication-based team bonding activities help diverse teams handle conflicts when they arise. As a result, teams with strong communication techniques are able to find resolutions in conflicts with meaningful one-on-one meetings and open discussions.
Characteristics of Effective Communication Exercises
Let’s tap into the key characteristics of effective communication exercises. The seven C’s of effective communication are a great place for diverse teams to start. The seven C’s are: Clear, Concise, Concrete, Correct, Consideration, Complete, and Courteous.
When implemented, the seven C’s can transform your workplace communications for the better. In addition, tailoring activities to meet the specific needs of your team can make a big impact. For example, incorporate your team-building goals by engaging team members in open communication exercises. As a bonus, your employees may find that their social relationships outside of work improve as well!
20 Communication Team Building Ideas
1. Back-to-Back Drawing
For this team-building idea, pair team members with a partner. In each pair, one employee will be a speaker and the other a listener.
If playing in person, have team members stand or sit back to back. If engaging virtually, split pairs into breakout rooms. First, task the speaker of each pair to describe an everyday object. Then, the listening partner will then draw what object they think is being described. Give participants 5 to 10 minutes to complete their drawing.
Once the time is up, players can reveal what they drew and determine if the pair’s communication was successful! Afterward, have teams discuss what communication was constructive and what could have been done differently.
2. Counting with a Twist
For this activity, have a group of team members join together in one room or video call. To begin, instruct everyone to close their eyes.
Then, ask team members to count up to a desired number, with each player only saying one number at a time. The trick is, if team members talk over one another or repeat the same number, the counting starts back at one.
This communication scenario will test your team’s active listening and workplace communication!
3. Piece Together The Deck
In this activity, team members will attempt to piece together a complete deck of playing cards. To begin, divide your group into teams of 3-5 people. Then, give each team a deck of playing cards. Ask the team to shuffle or mix their deck of cards. Then, work together to piece the deck back in order! Team members will need to rely on their memory and knowledge of cards to remember the correct order of numbers and suits.
Set the clock for a short amount of time – think 3 minutes – to create a lightning-speed challenge! Or, extend your time longer and enjoy a round of “Go Fish,” friendly poker, or another card game. For more fun, award the team with the most completed deck of cards a point. Continue the fun by playing multiple rounds and including more than one deck of cards!
4. Wilderness Survival
Split participants into small groups that best fit your team size. Then, read players a scenario describing how they are stranded in the remote wilderness and stumble upon a camping site.
Next, give players a list of 20 campsite items and explain that they are only allowed to keep five items. Teams must then discuss which items to keep to survive the elements. The goal is to come to mutual agreement from all team members.
After 20 minutes, ask teams to present which items their group chose to keep in this scenario and why. This team building activity will build cooperation and communication techniques!
5. Two Truths and A Lie
Tap into another group communication game, Two Truths and A Lie. To prepare, each player will need to brainstorm three statements about themselves: two of which are true and one that is a lie. Then, have employees share their 3 statements one at a time to the entire group.
Next, the entire team must try to guess which of the 3 statements was the lie. Improve team communication and learn more about one another with this team bonding idea!
6. Master Puzzler
For this activity, you’ll need several jigsaw puzzles of the same difficulty level. Next, divide team members into small groups, each receiving a puzzle. Teams will then race to complete their puzzle the fastest.
Take gameplay up a notch by adding in a twist. Consider mixing a few pieces from each puzzle amongst the groups. Players must determine which pieces don’t belong to their puzzle and identify how to retrieve their correct piece from another group. Teams can collaborate any way they choose, including simply trading pieces, bartering, or holding pieces for ransom.
This communication team building activity will energize your team collaboration and competitiveness!
7. Can You Hear Me Now?
“Can You Hear Me Now?” is one of the best virtual communication games. To play, participants will need paper and pens. Next, assign a game host to lead the activity.
The game host will verbally describe an item for all players to draw, one shape or line at a time. For example, the item could be a car, giraffe, or disco ball. As each round progresses, players aim to try to guess the object before their drawings are complete.
This activity challenges teams to communicate clear instructions and also listen for step by step instructions. Plus, drawings may turn out to be completely different from player to player based on their interpretations!
Copycat is one of the most straightforward nonverbal communication games. To begin, partner players up and direct pairs to face one another. One partner will be the leader, while the other follows.
To play, the leader will move without speaking, with the follower attempting to copy their every move. As a result, participants must rely solely on body language to succeed.
To continue the fun, allows players to switch roles and change partners. By the end, see who is the best copycat!
9. Office Obstacle Course
For this team-building activity, pair team members with a partner. Set up an obstacle course around the office with a specific route of travel and items to navigate around. Then, have one person in each pair put on a blindfold.
The other person must verbally lead their partner through the obstacle course, avoiding any obstacles or other team members. To make it even harder, do not allow the person who is blindfolded to speak. This exercise relies solely on communication and trust!
Tap into the classic game of Taboo! Requiring creative thinking and communication, this exercise will test your team’s guessing skills.
Each round, one player will draw a card from a special game deck. Each card lists a keyword to be guessed and a list of banned words. The cardholder must then get players to guess the keyword without using the banned words. For example, if the keyword is car, banned words might include: truck, transportation, wheels, gas, and travel.
Utilize this online version of the card game or brainstorm your own list of cards!
11. Birthday Lineup
The Birthday Lineup is one of the easiest nonverbal communication game for in-person groups. Plus, the more people the better!
To play, participants must line up in chronological order by birth month and day without speaking. Players can gesture numbers or directions such as up or down to decipher where to stand in line.
Once players feel confident they’ve got it right, ask team members to say their birthdays one by one going down the line. By the end, you’ll see just how skilled your team is with nonverbal communication!
12. Penguins or Pandas
Contrary to its name, this exercise does not rely on animal knowledge. Instead, physical actions are assigned to each of the animal verbal clues.
Designate a corresponding movement to each animal. For example, the word penguin may cue players to raise their right hand and panda cues players to clap. To play, have a game leader say “penguins” or “pandas” out loud, one at a time.
Depending on the cue given, participants must do the corresponding movement. Requiring active listening, the winner is the last participant standing who followed each command correctly!
13. Decode the Emoji Message
This colorful communication activity will test your team’s emoji knowledge! To get started, select certain team members to be creators. The creators are tasked to communicate a message by only using emojis.
For example, if the category is ‘movies’ you could write this to the group: 🍳☕🍩♣️.
The answer? The Breakfast Club.
Award points to individuals or teams who guess the message correctly. With endless possibilities, your messages can range from pop culture to company-based themes!
14. So You Think You Can Act
To play “So You Think You Can Act,” players must guess the meaning of an acted-out scene, without a sound. Great for in-person or virtual teams, this exercise of nonverbal communication is a doozy!
Each round, pick a player to either wear noise-blocking headphones or turn their computer sound off. Next, a small group of other players must act out a scene spanning just a few short minutes. Assign groups prompts ahead of time or let each think of their own!
Once the scene is over, the player who was unable to hear must attempt to guess what the scene was about. Moreover, you can make it a competition by awarding points to teams who have their scenes guessed successfully!
15. Mad Gab
Enjoy the classic game of Mad Gab together as a team! For this activity, players are to read aloud a set of random words that at first glance may seem like gibberish.
Players must continue to sound out the words to guess the card’s common saying. Players will find success in determining the phrase by listening to themselves verbalize the words and hearing others say it aloud.
Check out this pre-made list of Mad Gab Flashcards to get your team game-ready!
16. In So Many Words
This game will test players’ verbal communication skills like no other! To play, a game leader states, “in # many words, tell me…..” Given 30 seconds, players must write down their words.
Each round, the leader will repeat the statement but lower the word count. Players must remove words within their first sentence to meet the word count but still retain a clear message.
For example, “In so many words, tell me how to start a load of laundry.”
- In 25 words: Take dirty clothes to the laundry room. Open washer door. Put clothes inside washer. Add detergent. Close washer door and select wash setting. Press start.
- In 10 words: Put dirty clothes inside washer and add detergent. Press start.
- 5 or less: Clothes and detergent together. Start.
17. Make a Team With…
Test quick thinking and collaboration skills with this verbal communication activity! The instructions are simple. Players must form teams with a certain number of people, based on instructions that are given.
For example, someone may shout out “get into a team of five people who have the same number of pets as you.” Players must quickly deliberate with others to determine if they can be in the same group and find the needed number of people!
Brainstorm a list of groups beforehand or have players shout out ideas in the moment!
18. Just Listen
Build listening and comprehension skills with the game Just Listen. Pair players off and assign groups with a conversation topic.
To play, one team member in each pair is given five minutes to share what they feel and think about the given topic. Not allowed to speak, their partner must simply listen to what is being shared.
At the end of five minutes, the listening partner must communicate back to their partner what was said. Then, switch roles for all players to be able to share and practice active listening!
19. Communication Origami
This relaxing communication game helps boost teams’ direction following and listening skills! Either playing in-person or virtually, each team member will need a sheet of A4 paper.
Team members will close their eyes and listen to folding instructions given aloud by a leader. Each verbal instruction will be another fold of the paper towards a complete origami shape.
Once all steps are complete, employees can open their eyes and see just how well they followed instructions! By the end, you will each have a fun new desk decoration, too!
20. Shrinking Vessel
Great for mid to large sized teams, put your strategy and puzzle skills to the test. Begin by marking off areas on the floor with tape. Create different shapes and sizes of areas to be used throughout the game.
To play, teams must fit all players on their team within the boundary. Start with the larger areas to get players started and progress to the smaller areas to create a bigger challenge. If any team members step out of the line, the team loses.
Teams must work together and utilize calm communication to fit all players in each shape! Those who don’t wish to participate in this activity can also serve as judges, keeping watch and raising an alert when someone steps outside the line!
Tips for Implementing Communication Team Building Activities
To implement successful communication team bonding ideas in the workplace, proper planning is needed. Take intentional steps to set clear expectations with all participating staff. This includes the time expected of them, materials needed, and sharing a preview of what to expect during the activity.
For communication team building activities that involve time spent together virtually, communicate timelines well in advance to all staff involved. Plus, send all participants calendar invites to block the time on their schedule.
Communicating the plan clearly to team members will prevent negative feelings towards the activity or distraction. In addition, this creates a more receptive atmosphere for participating staff.
Just as important as communication and planning, you will need to incorporate a follow up with staff once your activity concludes. Afterward, send a virtual survey to your team! This allows employees to share feedback on their experiences.
Improve Communication With Unexpected Virtual Tours
Communication team building activities are a fun and engaging way to boost team collaboration and trust. With more perks like building problem-solving techniques, increasing creativity, and gaining conflict resolution skills, improving communication is a must-do for all remote teams!
To explore more virtual team building and group activities, check out Unexpected Virtual Tours! Offering radically creative virtual team building events for remote work teams, Unexpected Virtual Tours will take your team to new places, expand your knowledge, and instill fun along the way.
Check out more team building activities and view our full selection of resources for remote teams today!
Communication Team Building Activities FAQs
1. What are communication team building activities, and why are they important?
Team communication exercises are a fun and engaging way to bolster your team’s verbal communication and non-verbal communication. These types of activities are important for teams to build trust, effective collaboration, and creating an open office atmosphere. The best part is, activities can easily be implemented for both remote and hybrid teams.
2. How can you implement communication team building activities successfully?
Set your team up for success by properly planning activities. This includes clear communication around what employees can expect from team building games and involving employees in the planning process. Moreover, you can customize team building ideas to keep your team engaged and feeling heard at every step of the way.
3. Can communication team building activities be done virtually?
Communication games can easily be done virtually for any size team. Together with your team, join a virtual call. Then, utilize virtual tools such as online games, breakout rooms, and more to keep game play flowing and enjoyable! To spark inspiration, here’s a list of more unique virtual team building activities and ideas!
4. How much time and money should you invest in communication team building activities?
With both paid experiences and free options, you get to choose how much money you invest. Depending on the activity you plan, be sure to allot ample time for pre-planning, communication, and follow-ups post activity. To begin with, tap into these free virtual team building activities!
5. How can you tailor communication team building activities to meet your team’s specific needs?
Team building exercises can be tailored in any way your team needs! Ideas include brainstorming topics your team is most interested in such as sports, pop culture, or keep it company-themed. In addition, you can tailor your communication games by splitting employees into groups for team play or partner tasks.
6. What are some common communication barriers that can be addressed through team building activities?
Address common physical communication barriers such as eye contact, body language, facial expressions, gestures, and posture. Additionally, you can bring awareness to understanding other’s emotions and empathy through activities. Utilize team building activities to improve communication in all forms.
7. What should you do if a team member is resistant to participating in communication team building activities?
Counter employee resistance by addressing their concerns head-on. Don’t forget, it can be best to speak with employees one-on-one when discussing sensitive topics or personal concerns. By allowing team members to express their hesitations in a safe environment, you can implement a solution that works for everyone.