7 Fun Communication Games That Increase Understanding

Clear communication is crucial for success in any job, especially for interaction-driven positions like support and sales.

Communication skills don’t come naturally to most employees, however, they can be difficult to train. Books and lectures only get you so far, but like most learned skills, practice makes perfect.

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

George Bernard Shaw

Communication games are a fun way for employees to learn helpful methods through team interaction. Here are seven games you and your workers can play to improve your communication skills.

1
Card Pieces

Card Pieces helps build negotiation skills and empathy, which are key components of effective communication.

What you’ll need:

  • Nine or more people
  • Playing cards cut into triangles (to make your pieces, cut the cards diagonally and then diagonally again)
  • Envelopes
  • Private room

How to play:

Separate groups of three or four people into at least three teams. Each team will receive an envelope of mixed cut up playing cards. The teams then have 8 to 10 minutes to barter and trade pieces in order to complete their cards. The team with the most completed cards wins.

a brain connected to a heart

This game works well because it helps people hone their negotiation skills to achieve the most successful outcomes. It also helps with accepting loss and figuring out what could have been improved to achieve the desired outcome.

After the game, talk to your teams about what worked or failed. Did they use empathy to see things from another person’s perspective? This helps them tailor their communication more effectively. Were they actively listening to one another? Not everyone expresses themselves the same, so being able to adjust and understand another’s communication style is key.

2
Blindfold Game

Blindfold Game builds trust, listening and instructional skills.

What you’ll need:

  • Four or more people
  • Blindfolds
  • Private room or recreational area
  • Various “obstacles” such as boxes, chairs or books

How to play:

Construct an obstacle course with your various items. Divide your players into teams of two. Tie a blindfold on one member and have them stand at the “start” of the obstacle course. The second member must then guide the blindfolded member through the course by calling out directions.

This game encourages cooperation, successful teamwork and trust, which is crucial for effective communication. When there is a lack of trust, it builds suspicion and prevents buy-in.

Clarity in giving instructions is a must for effective customer service, especially in technical fields. When customers have a difficult time understanding technical directions, it’s tempting to use more words to explain, which just further confuses customers. Brevity and careful word selection is key for better communication.

3
Building Blocks

Building Blocks builds descriptive and instructional skills, as well as teamwork.

What you’ll need:

  • Four or more people
  • Blocks or stackable figures
  • A table

How to play:

Assemble a team of at least four people, and give them two identical sets of building blocks. Assign one person in the team as a director, one as a builder, one as a runner and the remaining members as observers.

rubik's cube

Stand the director and builder on opposite sides of the room facing away from each other. Have the director build a unique structure from the building blocks and give directions to the runner who will relay them to the builder. The builder will then use the directions to create a structure identical to that of the director within 10 minutes. After each round, discuss the exercise with the team.

Task division in teams helps with efficient completion of projects. However, cooperation, effective communication and trust are key prerequisites for it. Building Blocks helps foster these important parts of teamwork.

If you have a larger team, split them into separate teams to see who completes it best. If you have a smaller group, the director can give directions to the builder without a runner.

4
Crazy Comic

Crazy Comic is from the book “104 Activities That Build” by Alanna Jones and encourages teamwork, standardization and coordination.

What you’ll need:

  • Three or more people
  • Pencils
  • Paper

How to play:

Depending on how many team members you have, divide them evenly into groups. Each group will create their own comic strip.

Each person is responsible for drawing one frame of the strip, so the comic’s length is based on how many people are in each group (for example, three people make a three-frame comic). Assign a set amount of time for each team to discuss what the comic will be about, what each person will draw, and so on.

The team will begin drawing at the exact same time without any interaction, so everything must be discussed in detail beforehand. The team is also not allowed to see what the other members are drawing. When time is up, have the teams gather to look at and discuss their comics.

The most effective teams organize themselves with minimal help from leaders. This is an excellent game for teams to practice vision cohesion across components.

This game also works well with teams separated across offices or working remotely. They can work verbally over the phone or Skype to create the comic.

5
Four at a Time

Four at a Time is great for teaching non-verbal communication and teamwork.

What you’ll need:

  • Five or more people
  • Private room

How to play:

Have all participants sit in a circle. When the game begins, no more or less than four people must be standing at a time, and the four can only stand for 10 seconds before they must sit down and be immediately replaced by someone else. All communication about who will stand or sit must be non-verbal. The goal is to keep the game going as long as possible.

football and a goal post

Non-verbal communication is essential in a group sales environment. Team members should be able to discreetly help each other while keeping a customer engaged.

This game can be played almost everywhere and works best in large groups. The larger the group, the better the non-verbal communication must be.

6
Get It Together

Get It Together builds focus and encourages teamwork.

What you’ll need:

  • Four or more people
  • Blindfolds
  • Colored tape
  • Assortment of small items

How to play:

Divide players into two-person teams and blindfold one member. Use the tape to create a circle in the middle of the room and place various items within it. Based on directions given by their partner, the blindfolded member must retrieve specific items from the circle. The partner giving instructions may not enter the circle.

The game becomes complicated and challenging as more and more two-person teams join the fray. When it becomes virtually impossible for teams to communicate and navigate, or once all the objects have been retrieved, the game ends.

Building focus helps team members concentrate on the person they’re communicating with despite potential distractions. Try switching the roles within each team after every round so the members can learn more about their own and other’s behavior in challenging situations.

This game works best in large groups since it increases the game difficulty. The more chaos by the end, the better!

7
Misunderstanding

The game Misunderstanding helps drive creative communication.

What you’ll need:

  • Two or more people
  • Chairs
  • Various objects

How to play:

Have two people sit back-to-back. Person A has an object and must describe it (without explicitly saying what the object is) to person B. Person B must then draw it based on person A’s description.

This game is effective for finding new ways to communicate around barriers. It also helps build problem-solving skills and effective communication strategies.

For larger groups, make it a competition by deciding which team created the most accurate drawing in a set amount of time.

From communication games to better understanding

Practicing communication should be an ongoing part of your personal and professional development. Games are a fun, interactive way to hone important skills for effective communication. Not only does it improve your team’s ability to express themselves clearly and actively listen, but it boosts morale and brings your team closer together.