Free team building exercises

The fun has just begun!

Free team building exercises can save you a bundle over the cost of a professional team building kit! The exercises below can help you improve your team's communication and performance, leading to greater productivity and a more relaxed, happy group.

The five free team building exercises are simple and can easily be incorporated into a quick biweekly meeting, especially in small business settings.

1) Truth and Lies:

Each person in the group must think of three statements that tell the group about themselves – only one should be true, and the other two, lies. Each member has a turn to present their three statements, and the rest of the group must decide which are lies and which is the true statement. This is a great icebreaker, and makes the group confer as a team to come to agreement.

2) Name Game:

Have everyone sit around a table and start with a randomly selected person.

Hand them a card with the following printed on it: “My name is ----, I wish it was ----, my favorite food is ----, the best thing about me is ----, and in the movie 'The Wizard of Oz' I would play the part of ----.”

The point of this game is to build trust and let each member of the team open up a little so the others can understand them better.

3) Birthday Lineup:

Tell everyone the next assignment is to line up according to month and day of birth. Then announce they cannot speak. This will result in some creative problem solving as they figure out how to determine everyone's birth date without speaking. Some will try to use hand signals like in charades to count off months and days; others may realize you never said they couldn't write it down, and will scrounge for paper and pen.

4) Cross the Line:

Create a line, and select two people, placing one on each side of the line. Explain that they both may lecture, plead, argue, lie, bribe or trick the other person to try and convince them to step across the line.

Every few minutes, ask one or the other team member if they are convinced, and if they will cross the line now; which adds to the tension. This creates the opportunity for learning the lesson that giving in may be the fastest route to success – for example, one person may figure out that making a bargain to cross the line in exchange for the other person also crossing it is the fastest way to resolve the issue – after all, it was never said that crossing the line first causes one party to lose.

5) Catch the Cats:

Beanie babies work well for this exercise. Stand everyone in a loose circle, and toss a cat in the mix. Anyone who catches it should immediately launch it across the circle. Add cats at intervals, and see how many the group can handle and for how long before they drop one. Everyone will have to pitch in and help.

These free team building exercises can help you to develop your team into a smoothly working group. Respect and acceptance of each other will be strong between team members, and you can expect a better working environment.

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