Team building exercises can be a great way to break the ice, promote communication and team cohesion. That is when they’re done right. However, the mention of team-building exercises often illicit stifled groans and eye rolls from team members. Who hasn’t had the “pleasure” of participating in a series of games that did little more than annoy and possibly injure their teammates.

There are thousands of team building games and ice breakers online. Some of them are time-tested classics. Others border on the absurd. When deciding what kind of games you want to play, there are a few things that you should avoid.

First, avoid paintball or any similar activities. Chances are, these kinds of games will only lead to injury and inflamed tensions as disgruntled employees take revenge on supervisors, agile teammates outmaneuver slower ones, and office cliques are reenforced.

It’s also a good idea to avoid physical challenges as ice breakers. Nobody wants to relive the humiliation or discomfort of middle school gym class while at work. More importantly, for employees who are sensitive about personal space, getting up close and personal with relative strangers can be off-putting. Crawling around or holding hands with strangers may seem like a great way to bring your team together but it may have the exact opposite effect.

Similarly, avoid games of humiliation. Try to avoid games that put people on the spot or force them to reveal things about themselves that they may not be ready to share. Avoid role-playing games and humiliating punishments.

Instead, opt for games like Truth or Lies. The participants decide how much of themselves they want to reveal and the team is challenged to see how well they know their teammate. Doing an office egg drop or another creative endeavor is another great way to promote communication and creativity in the office. Scavenger hunts, blind drawing, and puzzle games such as “This Is Better Than That” all provide teammates an opportunity to get to know each other without pressure, humiliation, or injury.

Team building games don’t have to be the worst part of your company retreat or weekly meeting. With a little attention to detail and creativity, you can improve your team’s communication and promote creativity while having fun.

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  • Fred Sines

    Owner at Sines Parks

    Maurice "Fred" Sines is a businessman who is currently living and working near London, England. Fred specializes in the real estate industry where he deals in luxury mobile homes, an industry he got into following in his father's footsteps. After purchasing his first park in 1997, Fred spent a few years building up his portfolio before opening up Sines Parks. Ever since he was a young boy, Fred has worked hard to hone his business skills. He's become an expert communicator and is extremely savvy when it comes to making major business decisions and running the day-to-day affairs of his parks. People who meet Fred are surprised to learn that he has limited formal education, as he dropped out of school at a young age. Since leave school, Fred has held a wide variety of jobs including window cleaner, milk man, paper boy, and then eventually a manager in his father’s nursery. Fred started at the bottom, but he has transformed himself and his business through his consistent practice, observation, research, and incredible dedication. Now Fred Sines has created some of the leading names of luxury mobile home parks in the UK. Fred's homes are catered to those over 50, who are looking for a peaceful retirement community. Each of his many parks offers residents something different, whether they be seaside views, trails through the woods, or convenient locations near historic attractions. He works with each resident to help customize their new home exactly how they want. Fred strives to create a safe and inclusive community for those who live in his parks. When Fred Sines isn't hard at work, he enjoys playing golf both in the UK and in exotic locations such as Dubai. He also enjoys driving cars from his luxury Rolls-Royce collection or riding his motorcycle. He is also a devoted husband and father.