24 Team Building Games and Exercises

rochambeau

You spend just as much time, if not more, with the people you work with as you do our families and friends. When it comes to the workplace, understanding your fellow employees, how they think and why they think that way can make communication easier.

These team building games are designed to help you get to know your fellow workers, your team of employees, and yourself a bit better so that you can all work together more efficiently. Please note, these are only ideas, and can be modified to fit your workplace.

The Common Book

Place a large, blank scrapbook or journal in the common area. You could even fill it with prompts, asking participants to follow suggestions for their submissions if they’re having a hard time deciding what to write themselves.

Keep pens, markers, decorative tapes, glues and whatever else you can think of close to the book and encourage team members to write, paste, and cut the book to create a living history book for your business and those that help keep it running. Once the book has been filled, keep it safe and get a new one.

Three Truths and a Lie

Give every player for four sheets of paper. On each sheet, have them write one lie and three truths, so that each piece of paper has one thing written on it. Please note these should be believable lies and the mood should stay professional.

Once everyone has their list, ask each member to read their truths and lies out loud in a random order. The other participants must try to guess which of the four statements is the lie, and why.

What’s on Your Desk

Ask each team member to bring one object from their desk. Using this object as their product, they must create a logo, marketing plan, slogan and whatever else you can think of. Set a timer, then ask them to give a presentation on their new product to the rest of the group.

Afterwards, have everyone discuss which product presentations were the most successful, and why.

Blind Drawing

This is one of the team building games that is great for building communication skills. Divide up teams of two and have the players sit back to back. One team member will be given a picture of an object or word. Without saying what it is, the person must describe the image, without using words that will directly describe the subject.

For example, if the image given was a lion on a unicycle, the person may describe a large, furry creature with big hair above a small wheel.

Idea Building Blocks

Come up with a fictional problem that your team must solve. This can be something simple like a riddle, or something more complex. Present this idea and have the group come up with a simple two to three sentence answer on a blank piece of paper.

Next, have each member pass the sheet to the left and ask them to use the idea to create a new solution. Continue the pattern for a few rounds and see what the final results are.

Find the Common Thread

Divide your team into groups, then tell them they must find one thing they walk have in common. This can include hobbies, music tastes, favorite food or even the last movie they have seen. After they have settled on their common thread, ask them to create a short list of traits or stereotypical qualities of people who share that trait.

The group must then take on the qualities of that stereotype for the remainder of the meeting. For example, if everyone in a group found out they had cats, they may all periodically ask members of other groups to view photos of their cats. After the meeting is over, discuss how silly stereotypes can be and how they narrow our vision of others.

Watch Where You Step

On the floor, create a large, enclosed polygon about twelve feet or so long by seven feet wide using making tape. Try to shape it with the thought that people will be making their way from one end to the other. Inside the polygon, place some squeaking dog toys, and twice as many sheets of paper (or paper plates). The papers act as landmines.

This is one of the team building games where the goal is for pairs of two to make it from one side of the polygon to the other, blindfolded, using only the vocal guidance of the players on the outside of the shape. If a player steps on a mine, they become frozen, and must wait for the other player to step on a dog toy to continue. If both players become frozen, the team must restart.

Use What You Have

Create a challenge of some sort for your team to tackle. This could be sending an email without touching the keyboard/mouse or making an innovative package concept, the choice is yours. Divide into even groups, give each team the same set of supplies, and instruct them to solve the problem using only the supplies given.

Once the time limit is up, have each team reveal their creations.

Scavenger Hunt

This classic team building exercise encourages team work and creative thinking. Put together a list of items for your team members to find. This can be done individually or in small groups. The first to collect all of the items and bring them to you, wins!

For an extra layer of difficulty and problem solving, instead of writing it the items themselves, write clues, simple descriptions or riddles.

One Question

Produce several scenarios in which someone may be chosen to complete a job or task with your team or for another situation. For example, in one scenario you may be looking for a partner to help complete an important product presentation, and in another you may be describing a potential spouce.

Each person must come up with just ONE question to ask in order to determine whether or not the hypothetical person in question is right for the task. This exercise helps people understand how differently, and sometimes similarly, everyone thinks.

Classify This

Arrange a collection of random objects: the fewer apparent connections they share, the better. Divide into groups and ask each team to categorize the items into families. Each team writes their categories on a sheet of paper within a given time frame.

After time has run out, each group will present their lists to the other teams, and reveal why they grouped the items in the way they did.

Life Timeline

This is one of the team building games that is great for an ice breaker. Have participants close their eyes and think of their first and fondest memories. Give them a few moments to think, then ask them which memory they would want to relive if they had thirty seconds left to live. Then, ask everyone to share what their choice was, and why.

The Egg Drop

Another classic activity, this team building game requires two or more teams to attempt to build a package that carries an egg safely to the ground after a drop from a window or rooftop. After completing the package, each team should give a short presentation exposing why their package is unique and why they feel it will safely carry the egg to the ground. After, drop the eggs and see if the designs work!

Frostbite

Break everyone up into groups of four or five. Each group acts as though they are stranded in the arctic. Each group must elect a leader and erect a shelter in order to survive. The catch is, the leader is suffering from frostbite and cannot physically help in building the shelter. And the other team members are suffering from snow blindness and must be blindfolded.

The leader must describe how to build the shelter and the team must do so without being able to see.

Silence

This team building exercise is very simple. Before your next meeting, act excited, like you’re going to be giving big news. Next, simply stop taking, and remain silent for about a minute. Take notice of how people react, who seems to get nervous as the silence goes on and who feels comfortable. Once the time is up, ask everyone what they’ve learned in the silence.

Dream Trip

Divide into pairs and ask each group to explain what they would do if they had a month to do whatever their heart desired, with an unlimited budget and freedom from everyday routines. After each group has exchanged their ideas, the opposite person must describe the trip of their partner as best they can.

Pencil Drop

For this exercise, tie the ends of two pieces of string around the weaver of a pencil. Pair your team up into groups of two, and tie the other end of the strings around each team members waist. Have the teams stand back to back and attempt to lower the pencil into a soda or water bottle on the floor below.

Alaskan Baseball

This team building game requires a bit of physical activity. Divide into two groups. Using a rubber chicken (or any other equally ridiculous rubber object), Team A throws the play item as far as they can, and Team B must form a single file line from the item to the starting line. They just pass the item, using an over the head, between the legs alternating pattern until it reaches the starting line.

While Team B attempts to reach the starting line, one member at a time from Team A must run laps around the line made by the other team. Each person that completes a lap scores a point for their team. Repeat as many innings as seemsappropriate with your group.

Bears, Cowboys, and Ninjas

Much like the classic rock, paper, scissors game, each player chooses between three poses. Bears eat ninjas, ninjas beat up cowboys, and cowboys shoot bears. Each player either roars for bear, shoot finger guns for cowboys or strike a ninja pose. This is a great team building game to get everyone to let loose and get a little silly.

Cluck and Clap

Create a bunch if cards with Xs and Os on them. The Xs represent clucks, and the Os stand for claps. Shuffle the cards and arrange them so that the entire group can see them. Lead them through the pattern first, keeping a steady pace and getting them comfortable with the arrangement.

Repeat the pattern again, faster, and finally instruct the group to attempt the pattern in unison, on their own, even faster. Then, divide the group into two groups and ask them to try again.

Tire Pass

Using a strong rope and a sturdy branch, tie a tire (PDF) about five feet from the ground. Secure it so that it doesn’t move around much. The goal is for everyone to work together to pass one another through the tire as quickly as possible, without touching the sides. Instruct the group that they must come up with their own strategy for getting everyone safely through the center.

Turning Over a New Leaf

Place a large sheet on the floor. Have everyone stand on the sheet, then have them attempt to turn the sheet over without stepping off. The only rules: no one may step off the sheet, and no carrying other people.

Lilly Pads

Much like the classic road crossing game, this team building exercise involves trying to make it from one side of the ‘river’ to the other. Using paper, cardboard, or whatever is handy, create a path of ‘lily pads’ from one side of the river to the other.

Participants must stay in contact with lilly pads at all times or risk them being swept away, or removed from the playing field. The goal is for everyone to reach the other side as quickly as possible.


Rock Paper Scissors Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

9 Questions to Ask When Building a Mobile App

mobile phone users

“The next big thing” is a phrase that gets tossed around often. Entrepreneurs dream of creating it but often don’t know where to look, so they head down a long, bumpy road that sucks their wallet and their inspiration dry. Of course, failure nearly always precedes success, but it doesn’t hurt to avoid failure when you can.

If you’re embarking on a new mobile app idea, first consider whether you’re a results-oriented or a cause-oriented person. This will help you perfect your approach and, better yet, may prevent you from investing in an idea that’s likely to flop. The cause-method-results path tends to be best; profits are just a result — they may drive entrepreneurship but they’re not something to build off of, so consider your cause first and foremost. Whatever you create must have demand and whatever has demand serves a purpose for its customers.

So how do you identify the purpose of your next mobile app?

1. Is it a Need or a Want?

Imagine you’re an average smartphone user and someone tells you about this app. Would it excite you? Would you want it? Would other people want it? Ideally, they’ll need it, but the next best option is that they simply want it.

So how can you create a want? Look around you. This era is all about the translation of life into digitized form. It’s all about information that makes people’s lives easier. Urbanspoon, Foodspotting, and Yelp do just that. They speed up and simplify your life. How will your app make its users’ lives simpler and speedier?

2. Is it Offering Something that Doesn’t Already Exist?

That’s exactly what Mark Zuckerberg asked the Winklevoss brothers when they told him about the idea of Harvard Connection, and they certainly had an answer. If your basic idea resembles something that’s already out there, you need to be confident your app will offer something its competitor doesn’t. Do you think your interface will blow it out of the water? Is the other app particularly vulnerable in a crucial department, like connectivity or functionality? Can you take advantage of that?

3. How Soon Can You Launch?

Say your app idea is amazing — it’s something people would absolutely love and it’s completely unique. Now what? The biggest mistake you can make is to sit on it. There’s one thing Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk would all agree on: you must rush to the market to launch your idea or someone else will. It’s a competitive world. Everyone’s trying to innovate. So the sooner you dream it, the sooner you must build it, because someone else is bound to dream and build the same thing tomorrow or the day after.

4. How Will You Build It?

That brings us to the question of complexity. Can you design and develop this app yourself? If not, can you get someone else to do it? And if you get someone else to do it for you, how much can you pay them? Would you look to a simple app creation platform that lets you build and host the app easily or go to a team of custom developers? And what’s the faster approach?

5. Is This the Best You Can Do?

If you’re going to sell something, better to sell it to a hundred people than to ten. How many platforms does your app cater to? An Android app is better than a Galaxy-specific app, so try to maximize your audience as much as possible; don’t make the classic mistake of approaching only a handful. Most of the time, increasing your potential users just takes one simple addition but makes a huge difference in the long run.

6. Can You Survive the Market?

It’s time to consider your competition and your marketing strategy. The idea is there. You can build and launch it soon. Now ask yourself if you have the money and the drive to compete. When you launch a product that hits your rivals where they’re vulnerable, the bigger companies you’re hurting will wage war, rapidly improving their product to maintain their top spot. That’s why it’s paramount to consider how soon you can make the name of your product echo in the market. Can you hire marketing agencies? If you don’t have the money, do you have investors who can do it for you?

7. People Love Your Product Today. Will They Love it Tomorrow?

Your app’s ability to inspire return visits is what will help it dominate the market. Does it hold long-term value for its users? It needs to. Does it encourage consumer loyalty? That’s a must. It should be habit-forming, engrained so much into the mobile lives of your users that they wouldn’t consider switching to a competitor.

8. How Will You Get Results?

Profits require commercialization — particularly ad-hosting. Businesses are biting at the bit to advertise in apps that overlap with their target market, and creating digital ads is far cheaper than print. Whether you use an ad service like Doubleclick or AdMob or go with a custom solution, make sure your ads don’t detract from the user experience. Of course, charging for downloads is another option, but if you’re aiming to mass-distribute it’s best to keep it free.

9. Does Anything Need to be Eliminated?

The secret to making highly usable apps isn’t adding more and more stuff but eliminating as much as possible. You’re probably focused on packing in features now, but your app likely contains some redundancy already. Superfluous features increase your file size and suck up device memory — not a great thing from the user’s perspective. So simplify it.

Conclusion

Approach your next idea with purpose and foresight. The next big thing in mobile is out there, but method and strategy are crucial to its success. Just make sure you get there first.

Phone Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-ndtv”]

10 Essential Building Blocks for Successful Businesses

blocks

There are so many things that go into building a successful business. Each business can arrange those building blocks differently. But there are some essential elements that should go into every business plan. Here, members of the small business community share some essential building blocks for successful businesses.

Understand the Importance of Logos for Business Success

Your company’s logo is one of the first things potential customers will notice about your brand. It’s something that should represent your offerings and tie all of your different platforms together. In this article from Solopreneurs, Sam Davtyan discusses the importance of a good business logo.

Grab Social Media Attention Without Looking Foolish

Getting people’s attention is essential to any successful social campaign. But you want to make sure that it’s the right kind of attention, so that it can actually benefit your business. April Heavens-Woodcock shares some tips for grabbing attention on social media without looking foolish in this article from Agora Pulse.

Create an Experience for Your Brand

Some businesses get so caught up in trying to create a brand that they forget to create an experience for customers. But in this video and accompanying article, Brian Solis discusses how the two are really connected. And BizSugar members discuss the post further here.

Get a Blog for Your Ecommerce Website

Blogging has been around for years. But some business owners still may not realize the benefits. Even ecommerce businesses can benefit from having a blog. This Exit Bee article by Vanhishikha Bhargava includes some of the reasons why your ecommerce website needs a blog.

Write Epic Content

Once you have a blog, or any other content sharing platform, you need to fill it with really epic content so that potential customers will keep reading and even get it to go viral. In this article, Neil Patel shares the ultimate guide to writing epic content that will do just that.

Get Your Business Off the Road to Nowhere

At some point while running a business, you’re likely to experience that burned out or uninspired feeling. But if your business starts to experience some of the signs outlined in this 3Bug Media article by Gary Souldis, you might be on the road to nowhere. You can also see more discussion about the post over on BizSugar.

Don’t Forget About Offline Marketing

Online marketing gets a lot of attention. But there are still some offline marketing efforts that can be worthwhile for businesses. In this SMB CEO article, Ivan Widjaya discusses some of the offline marketing methods that can still be beneficial for businesses.

Master the Art of Engagement

Being engaging is important in every part of your business, whether it’s communicating through email marketing, social media, blogs, videos or other formats. Here in Target Marketing, Jessica Noonan discusses the importance of being engaging when it comes to email campaigns.

Don’t Compare Your Business to Others

With so many small businesses out there, it can be easy to fall into the comparison trap. But your business is different. So you shouldn’t waste all of your time worrying about measuring up to others, as Kimberly Crossland points out in this article in the Savvy Copywriter. The BizSugar community also shares input on the article here.

Keep Using Google Plus

Using the right social platforms can be a big part of your online marketing success. Although some people think that Google Plus is heading toward its last days, there are still plenty of benefits of using it. In this article from Bigshot, Karen Eisenbraun discusses some of the benefits of using Google Plus for business.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: [email protected]

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

9 Questions to Ask When Building a Mobile App

mobile phone users

“The next big thing” is a phrase that gets tossed around often. Entrepreneurs dream of creating it but often don’t know where to look, so they head down a long, bumpy road that sucks their wallet and their inspiration dry. Of course, failure nearly always precedes success, but it doesn’t hurt to avoid failure when you can.

If you’re embarking on a new mobile app idea, first consider whether you’re a results-oriented or a cause-oriented person. This will help you perfect your approach and, better yet, may prevent you from investing in an idea that’s likely to flop. The cause-method-results path tends to be best; profits are just a result — they may drive entrepreneurship but they’re not something to build off of, so consider your cause first and foremost. Whatever you create must have demand and whatever has demand serves a purpose for its customers.

So how do you identify the purpose of your next mobile app?

1. Is it a Need or a Want?

Imagine you’re an average smartphone user and someone tells you about this app. Would it excite you? Would you want it? Would other people want it? Ideally, they’llneed it, but the next best option is that they simply want it.

So how can you create a want? Look around you. This era is all about the translation of life into digitized form. It’s all about information that makes people’s lives easier. Urbanspoon, Foodspotting, and Yelp do just that. They speed up and simplify your life. How will your app make its users’ lives simpler and speedier?

2. Is it Offering Something that Doesn’t Already Exist?

That’s exactly what Mark Zuckerberg asked the Winklevoss brothers when they told him about the idea of Harvard Connection, and they certainly had an answer. If your basic idea resembles something that’s already out there, you need to be confident your app will offer something its competitor doesn’t. Do you think your interface will blow it out of the water? Is the other app particularly vulnerable in a crucial department, like connectivity or functionality? Can you take advantage of that?

3. How Soon Can You Launch?

Say your app idea is amazing — it’s something people would absolutely love and it’s completely unique. Now what? The biggest mistake you can make is to sit on it. There’s one thing Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk would all agree on: you must rush to the market to launch your idea or someone else will. It’s a competitive world. Everyone’s trying to innovate. So the sooner you dream it, the sooner you must build it, because someone else is bound to dream and build the same thing tomorrow or the day after.

4. How Will You Build It?

That brings us to the question of complexity. Can you design and develop this app yourself? If not, can you get someone else to do it? And if you get someone else to do it for you, how much can you pay them? Would you look to a simple app creation platform that lets you build and host the app easily or go to a team of custom developers? And what’s the faster approach?

5. Is This the Best You Can Do?

If you’re going to sell something, better to sell it to a hundred people than to ten.How many platforms does your app cater to? An Android app is better than a Galaxy-specific app, so try to maximize your audience as much as possible; don’t make the classic mistake of approaching only a handful. Most of the time, increasing your potential users just takes one simple addition but makes a huge difference in the long run.

6. Can You Survive the Market?

It’s time to consider your competition and your marketing strategy. The idea is there. You can build and launch it soon. Now ask yourself if you have the money and the drive to compete. When you launch a product that hits your rivals where they’re vulnerable, the bigger companies you’re hurting will wage war, rapidly improving their product to maintain their top spot. That’s why it’s paramount to consider how soon you can make the name of your product echo in the market. Can you hire marketing agencies? If you don’t have the money, do you have investors who can do it for you?

7. People Love Your Product Today. Will They Love it Tomorrow?

Your app’s ability to inspire return visits is what will help it dominate the market. Does it hold long-term value for its users? It needs to. Does it encourage consumer loyalty? That’s a must. It should be habit-forming, engrained so much into the mobile lives of your users that they wouldn’t consider switching to a competitor.

8. How Will You Get Results?

Profits require commercialization — particularly ad-hosting. Businesses are biting at the bit to advertise in apps that overlap with their target market, and creating digital ads is far cheaper than print. Whether you use an ad service like Doubleclick or AdMob or go with a custom solution, make sure your ads don’t detract from the user experience. Of course, charging for downloads is another option, but if you’re aiming to mass-distribute it’s best to keep it free.

9. Does Anything Need to be Eliminated?

The secret to making highly usable apps isn’t adding more and more stuff but eliminating as much as possible. You’re probably focused on packing in features now, but your app likely contains some redundancy already. Superfluous features increase your file size and suck up device memory — not a great thing from the user’s perspective. So simplify it.

Conclusion

Approach your next idea with purpose and foresight. The next big thing in mobile is out there, but method and strategy are crucial to its success. Just make sure you get there first.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]