Corporate Team Building Activities: Improve Performance with Improv!

Every manager wants to have the best performing team in the entire company. Actually, if we want to be really honest, every manager wants to head the best performing team in the world! It is well known that teams work best when there is a common culture created among their members which helps them work together cohesively, enhances their problem-solving capabilities, and increases trust. Team building events are structured to help your team achieve these qualities.

Team building programs, a few years ago…

When team building events really took off in the 1990s, most corporate events included at least facilitated team bonding exercises. Team building programs started getting more and more elaborate with corporate team building activities imitating game shows replete with sets. Weekend retreats, scavenger hunts, and team bonding picnics were all the rage in the quest to build the ultimate high-performance team. And it worked! A 2016 Gallup poll demonstrated that companies that invested in their workforce reported higher profits and reduced employee turnover compared to those that didn’t.

The challenge today

Getting your team on the same page wasn’t always easy when we all worked out of offices, especially if you were the head of a large group. With work-from-home fast becoming the norm, McKinsey predicts that this could get even harder in the post-pandemic world. Virtual workers are at risk of becoming isolated from their teams or feeling unsupported, losing that sense of belonging that is vital to a cohesive team. This can also lead to a loss of trust, which every manager knows is crucial to effective leadership. This makes it imperative that employees feel like they are a part of your organizational culture.

Signs your virtual team needs some bonding time:

You can tell that your virtual team could especially benefit from team building experiences when:

·         Productivity levels dip and deadlines are overshot.

·         There are unresolved conflicts or recurring issues between staff.

·         Information isn’t being shared appropriately or on time.

·         There is a general lack of trust or negativity in the air.

Virtual team building strategies:

The simple human bond that was once easily built by a casual “hello” in the morning or a quick chat near the water fountain takes more effort now. As a manager of a virtual team, there are plenty of strategies you can implement to stay connected to your employees.

Connect one-on-one: Take a little time out every week to check in with your employees individually.

Show your appreciation: Have a common digital message board for your team where you can all complement another team member for a task well done.

Virtual Happy Hours: Get your team together to hang out online for a short while every-so-often outside of work hours – you can include games, quizzes, or other activities for variety.

Invest in virtual team building experiences: While there are many things you can do to help your team get along, facilitated team building exercises can help your team connect on a deeper level as well as solve specific issues.

Why improv works for virtual team building:

Most communication is non-verbal. In fact, some experts think that as much as 93 percent of our communication may be nonverbal.  Theatre actors learn this at an early stage and use their bodies and expressions to communicate their thoughts and enhance the impact of their words. Conversely, they also learn to emphasize what they are saying solely through verbal cues like the tone of their voice or choice of words. It may come as a surprise, but many actors find the latter exercise harder than when they are using nonverbal cues. If trained actors have a hard time communicating without nonverbal cues, imagine how difficult it can be for your team to communicate when they are separated by time, space, and the internet.

This is where improvisation truly shines. One of the biggest reasons why improvisation is perfect for building cooperation and teamwork is that you can’t improv alone and, unlike tango, improv has space for groups of different sizes. Many improv exercises can be conducted completely online and help your team build specific skills.

Creative Veins’ virtual team building experiences:

Creative Veins is the highest-rated performing arts studio in Northeast Florida and conveniently located in the heart of downtown Jacksonville! All our team building workshops are facilitated by professionals most of whom are multi-disciplined and are highly trained in acting and improv. Our workshops are customizable, and we can adapt each session to fit your specific goals.

Some popular exercises from our sessions are:

One Sentence Story: Participants choose the names of two characters and a location the story will take place. One at a time and moving around the circle, each person will state one sentence that will contribute to the story. Story requirements: Must have a clear beginning, middle and end. Must have a protagonist in pursuit of a goal, must incorporate both character names and location into the story while avoiding run-on sentences.

Skills Developed: accepting; anticipating; deduction; flow; listening; logic; support;

I Have A Problem: This game has two players and goes as follows: Player 1: “I have a problem: _______ (describes problem)”, Player 2: “Here, I have a _________ (a completely random object)”, Player 1: “Great! I can then (do something with the object) to __________ (come up with a solution). Thank you!” Players high five, then two more players have a go. Answers can be funny and random, but the goal is to be supportive and thankful of one another.

Skills Developed: accepting; cooperation; justification; listening; sharing; problem-solving; support

Two Truths And A Lie: Player 1 gives 3 one-sentence statements about themselves to the rest of the group (two being true and one being a lie). The rest of the players will ask one question of Player 1 to find out more and try to figure out which statement is the lie. At the end of the questioning, players will state which one they think is the lie and why. Then Player 1 will reveal which 2 statements were true and which one was the lie.

Skills Developed: accepting; advancing; collaborating; focusing; listening; observing visual cues and body language; sharing

One of the most important things we see through these exercises is that even the most tense participants tend to let their hair down and have a little bit of fun along the way. We are committed to helping you gain the most value from your experience and showing you an enjoyable and unforgettable time!

Get in touch with us and let us know what your needs are and we’ll be happy to help!

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