5 Meeting Ideas to Help Your Team Bond Naturally
Love them or hate them – team-bonding activities will always be met with mixed responses. At their best they can be fun, engaging and effective at bringing your team together. At their worst, you get total disengagement and awkward silences.
The problem? Team-bonding ideas often don’t take into account the different personality types on your team. It’s important to find inclusive activities that don’t work against an Introvert’s hardwiring or that otherwise feel forced or tough.
Here are five meeting ideas that every member of your team can get involved with and enjoy!
1. Count up
Sometimes the simplest tasks are the most effective for creating a feeling of cohesion and understanding between team members. The Count Up exercise is a deceptively simple way to get your team members working together.
In this activity, the team counts up to 20 with their eyes closed and without any other form of communication. Each member can’t say more than one number for each turn and if two people say a number at the same time, the team starts from the beginning again.
This exercise is a fun and fast way to break the ice in a team meeting and encourage your team to cooperate towards a common goal. It’s also ideal for introverted members of the group who might not feel comfortable talking about themselves or sharing their ideas – everyone can join in with a number!
2. Strength envelopes
The strongest teams recognize the unique strengths and abilities of every member of the group. In your next meeting, take time to acknowledge and celebrate those strengths in your team.
The Strength Envelopes exercise is all about highlighting the strengths of each team member. Ask each person to write their name on an envelope. Every member of the team should then spend a few minutes listing the strengths of that person on a piece of paper, such as “good listener” or “attention to detail”.
Pass each envelope around and ask every team member to add their strengths for that person to their named envelope. At the end of the exercise, every person will have an envelope full of their personal strengths and skills, chosen by their team members.
This activity helps to foster closer relationships among your team members by highlighting the best parts of each person’s personality type.
Top tip: If you’re not sure where to start, get the team to take a personality assessment before beginning this exercise. This helps you get a clearer idea of each other's strengths to use as inspiration for each colleague’s envelope.
3. Awareness circle
If you have new team members joining or you’re starting from scratch with a completely new team, an Awareness Circle can be a great activity for getting to know one another. The best part? You don’t have to be good at public speaking to get involved!
For this exercise, everyone stands in a circle. The leader reads out single-line statements. If the statement is true for them, team members step forward into the inner circle. Everyone in the group takes a moment to acknowledge who has stepped forward. Those team members then step back into the group circle and the leader reads out another statement.
When every statement has been read, every member of the team is invited to step forward one at a time and add a statement that is true for them. If it’s true for other members of the team, they step forward to join them as before.
It’s up to you to tailor the statements to make them relevant to your team. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- I play a musical instrument
- I’ve lived in more than one country
- I’m the youngest sibling
- I play a team sport
- I speak more than one language
To make sure everyone in this team is seen and heard, this exercise is a silent one. The no-speaking rule means everyone is equal and no one dominates the activity. It’s also a chance to watch and appreciate the non-verbal communication in the group, making space for quieter and more introverted team members.
This is also a good starting point for private discussions later on, giving team members room to ask questions and expand on the activity to help them get to know one another better.
4. 9 Dimensions
The best team exercises give you space to share and discuss ideas to help you move forward as a team. The 9 dimensions exercise is a great way to encourage self reflection and honesty in a group.
Each team member has colored dots in red, yellow and green. They take it in turns to put a dot on each of the 9 dimensions according to how they think they’re doing.
The 9 dimensions could be anything you like but typically include:
- Role clarity
- Alignment about processes
- Meeting deadlines
- Quality of work
Green = I’m killing it!
Yellow = I need to work on this.
Red = I need to work on this a lot!
You can split this exercise into two phases. The first phase is for individual reflection. The second phase is for evaluating your team as a whole. Ask your team members to use their colored dots to assess how the team is performing on each of the 9 dimensions and discuss the results.
The idea with this exercise is to go with your gut. It’s great for generating a productive conversation and creating space for both Introverts and Extraverts to have their opinions heard.
5. Portrait gallery
If you’re looking to shake things up in your next team meeting and encourage some fun and creativity, try a portrait gallery!
For this simple exercise, divide your group into two teams. Team A has to draw portraits of Team B and then everyone swaps over and Team B has a turn at drawing Team A. The twist is that every 10-15 seconds, the drawing that each team member is working on gets passed to the person sitting next to them for them to continue. Encourage team members to add extra details about each person like their interests, strengths and their role too.
You’re guaranteed to end up with a gallery of unique and charismatic portraits, all created through teamwork! If you’re a naturally creative team, this is an ideal exercise to encourage more collaboration and cooperation. If you’re less creative, it’s a great way to have a laugh!
These five meeting ideas will help take your next team meeting to the next level, breaking up the usual routine and getting your team thinking differently about one another.