Low Pressure Play at Your Offsite
These games are easy to implement and play with your teammates
When a manager or teammate says the word "teambuilding" activity, many of you dread it, roll your eyes, and think to yourself "great, another forced social event." Though these team-building activities may seem unnecessary, they are crucial for cultivating high-performing teams, stronger relationships.
Here are a few of our favorite games that can really benefit your team.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie is a classic icebreaker game that many are familiar with and have played. Each person playing takes a turn and makes two true statements and one false statement. The other players each try to guess which statement is the lie. The player then reveals to others whether they guessed correctly or not. This game can spur some blushing, laughs, and giggles but should be a harmless way to open the team and learn more about others. Two Truths and a Lie is an easy offsite that can be played on Zoom, a coffee shop, or in a living room. No rented event space is needed.
For teams looking for a new activity that many are not familiar with, we love the Piccles platform. Piccles is a virtual engagement tool that easily integrates into video conferencing software like Zoom and Teams. This game is for the "artists", as it encourages freehand illustrations. You can prompt your team with questions like "where is your next vacation" or "what was for breakfast". Teammates can draw out their thoughts to the team. The Piccles tool allows you to work the creative side of your brain, express yourself visually, and, leave behind an art masterpiece or two.
Fishbowl, sometimes known as "salad bowl", is a game in which people write down a word and other players must guess what it is. It combines elements of taboo and charades, with different formats on how people can describe and guess the word. As time goes on people will remember descriptions and guesses for the more challenging words. The virtual version is easy to implement on remote meetings if you have the time. For an offsite gathering, all you need are strips of paper, a bowl, and a writing utensil, and it can be played in the living room over chips and drinks.
The activities we suggested above are low-stakes exercises. Other offsite events you may be familiar with are happy hours and birthday parties, but activities like charades or even cooking a team meal together have shown to be effective for team bonding.
If you are looking for something more targeted and outcome-focused, be sure to get input from your team first. For the offsite to bring tangible benefits to your organization, it is best to see what your team will find useful. We also suggest that not everyone on your team be invited to a game or offsite event. More people means more moving parts, conflicting schedules, and likely less engagement. You can strategically implement certain offsite games like fishbowl with one group, happy hour with another, or grilling food with another. Be clear with your team the goals of the offsite and what you hope to learn. Your team will appreciate the transparency and clarity.
Different activities can create different results. The core of any team-building activity is to learn more about others, how they think, feel, and act. They can reveal our strengths and weaknesses, how we communicate, and these insights are critical to everyone involved. We are advocates of using play and games as they provide a low-pressure but effective way to build camaraderie and learn about others.