The Top Ten Company-Paid Holidays
This can be used either as a quick break during a concentrated meeting or as a device to draw participants'attention back to the meeting following a refreshment break.
Ask the members to identify the 10 most popular company-paid holidays. Individual quizzes can be distributed for this purpose.
Following the individual response period, group competition (i.e., breaking the teak into two equal parts) works particularly well. In this way, no one feels embarrassed for not knowing some of the 10 items. Answers are generally discovered more rapidly, and the collective responses are usually more accurate than the individual ones.
The Hat Parade
Stick-on name tags for each person or a small card with sticking tape attached to it.
A list of project tasks or functions for each team member.
Optional: A collection of hats (the sillier the better), one for each team member. These can be acquired inexpensively at secondhand shops or party stores (or make cardboard hats). Alternatively, ask each member to bring a distinctive hat to wear at the meeting
Develop a list of tasks that must be accomplished or a list of functions that must be performed by various team members.
If you are using hats, give one hat to each person as they first enter the meeting room.
If members are wearing hats, ask them to model their hats for each other. (This often produces laughter as they feel silly and look around the room at others feeling silly.)
Distribute the list of tasks or functions. Ask team members to examine the list and select one task or function that particularly interests them, noting it on a small piece of paper or name tag and then sticking it on their jackets or on the front of their hats.
Explain that the task or function they have chosen will be their "special hat" for the day (or for the project). While this is a team effort that requires cross-functional cooperation, each team member can take lead responsibility for his or her task or function.
Proceed with the meeting, reminding team members periodically of their chosen areas of expertise through questions like "Whose specialty hat is this topic?".
Select a solvable picture puzzle. Break it into subsets of 10 connectable pieces each. Distribute a subset to each participant (such that the subsets could then be connected to each other).
Instruct them to sole their own subset first, and then connect all the subsets appropriately until they have the total puzzle solved. Set a challenging time limit for task completion, and possible play some energizing music (e.g., the William Tell Overture, of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries) to create an additional sense of urgency.
You may choose to designate a small number of participants as free-floating troubleshooters who roam about the room and help those in trouble to see viable connections within their own subset and from one set to another.
Discuss the following questions:
What reactions did you have when you realized your importance to the overall team?
What impact did the time deadline have on your effectiveness?
What was the impact of having team members available (and willing) to help you?
Newstrom, J., & Scannell. E. (1998) The Big Book of Team Building Games. England: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company