The first challenge you will encounter on any teambuilding exercise is personal introductions. Members of the teambuilding course need to become acquainted with each other and the course leader. These initial exercises are commonly called ‘icebreakers’ as they break down any barriers between team members.
The most popular icebreaker is for the team leader to arrange the team members in a circle and ask them one by one to stand up and tell the group a little about themselves. Each member of the team will stand in turn and give their name and some brief details about their work and/or hobbies by way of an introduction. If the members of the teambuilding course work for the same large company, often it is a good idea to ask them to describe the department they work in and their job role. In this way it allows other members of the team to position them in their mind. Sometimes the team members may already have relationships that they are not aware of – possibly they have spoken on the telephone, or have emailed each other in the past as part of their job function.
Another great icebreaking activity is to assign each member of the team a partner whom they have never met before. The pairs are given a short time (10 minutes is suggested) to get to know a little bit about each other. The icebreaking task is then for each team member to describe their partner to the group.
At icebreaking sessions it is also a good idea for the team leader to encourage laughter. Laughter and humor are great icebreakers. Possibly each member could be given a sheet of jokes and asked to stand and tell their favorite joke to the group, and then give the reasons why they chose that joke. As well as breaking the ice this is a clever way of learning a little about a person – the reasons they give for choosing the joke will give a little insight to their personality.
Remember when leading a teambuilding session the importance of icebreaking. This is the most important part of the course and sets the foundation for the work you will do over the coming hours or days. Setting your icebreaking session around breakfast or coffee can help as these are natural times of social interaction – watch as team members help each other with the simple task of making and pouring coffee.