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18 Games for Communication Skills that Will Help Teams to Improve at the Workplace

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By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

18 Games for Communication Skills that Will Help Teams to Improve at the Workplace

Fostering better communication in the workplace is not a stereotypical work philosophy but a challenging principle for business success.   Boosting your team’s communication skills need not be a monotonous series of one-sided learning seminars or video tutorials. Instead, try  incorporating fun games for communication skills as a more interactive and engaging method to help your teams learn and fine-tune these skills for work success.

In this article, we will explore 18 fun communication games for teams. These interactive activities not only contribute to communication skill development but also offer moments of joy and laughter. Let’s dive right in.

1. How Games Improve Communication Skills?

Team communication games are a fun, interactive way to hone important skills for effective communication and team building. Not only do communication games and activities improve your team's ability to express themselves clearly and actively listen, but they also boost morale and bring your team closer together.

2. 18 Best Games for Communication Skills at Workplace

2.1. Back-to-Back Drawing

Back-to-Back Drawing

In this communication group activity, the team must pair up with someone and sit back to back with their partners. One person has a picture and talks about it without saying its name and the other person tries to draw it using only the description.  

Why it is recommended: This is one of the excellent games for communication skills as it necessitates collaborative efforts from your team members to complete the drawing. 

How to play:

  • Create two distinct groups among the team members. One will be the ‘Listener’, and the other will be the ‘Speaker’
  • Get the speakers to describe an image that the listeners need to draw - the only hitch is that these listeners cannot speak or ask for any clarification.

Time: 15 – 25 minutes 

Materials: Paper, pens/markers, print-outs of the drawings 

2.2. One-Syllable Mystery

Here, we are going to do an exercise to improve your team members’ communication style and their focus. You will try to get your team to guess the word on the card without breaking 1 of 3 rules - Show Don’t Tell, One Syllable, Freestyle. 

Why it is recommended: This classic game aims to boost your employee's observation and listening skills.

How to play:

  • Form two main teams and appoint a representative each who will share clues 
  • Based on the mystery image/text on the card, each representative will try to get the opposite team to guess what’s shown on the card. 
  • The hitch on this is that the representative sharing the clues can only use one-syllable words to describe what’s on the card. 
  • While one team’s representative tries to describe the term, opposing team members need to observe, listen, and try to catch the clue giver using multi-syllable words.

Time: 15 minutes 

Materials required: Index cards with different terms

2.3. Secret Agenda

In a Secret Agenda game, each player has a hidden task or role they need to accomplish without letting others know. This adds to the overall excitement as everyone works towards their goals while trying to figure out what others are up to.

Why it is recommended: This game is a great way to help team members collaborate and meet a common goal by considering each other’s points of view. 

How to play:

  • Arrange for blank paper or cards and pens and distribute these among team members.
  • Let the players come up with unique terms or phrases to jot down on their cards and keep it to themselves.
  • Get one member to start off with “Once upon a time…” and the adjacent team member continues the story by adding one of their secret words. 
  • The story then continues until the last member of the team concludes.

Time: 15 minutes 

Materials required: Blank cards and pens

2.4. Can You Hear Me Now?

'Can you hear me now?' is one of the interactive party games for communication skills, where players are challenged to listen and explain instructions correctly. Each game session of this fun activity consists of various rounds with increasing levels of difficulty to test your listening skills. 

Why it is recommended: The game is designed to analyze your listening skills and your ability to interpret information accurately. 

How to play:

  • Determine the number of players, ideally between four to six players 
  • Create a perfect game environment by finding an open and uncluttered area
  • Distribute paper and pen to all participants 
  • Each round, one person describes something, like the sun, a tree, a stoplight, or a cat. 
  • The others draw one shape or line at a time based on the description.

Time: 15-30 minutes 

Materials required: Paper and pen

2.5.  Yin and Yang

Yin-and-Yang

Among communication activity games, Yin and Yang encourage you and your team to ask purposeful questions and decipher the meaning through effective verbal interactions. Through communication team building activities like interactive discussions and collaborative tasks, team members learn to appreciate diverse perspectives and work together to find a balance that contributes to a more cohesive and productive work environment.

Why it is recommended: This game encourages team members to ask purposeful questions and have meaningful interactions at the workplace.

How to play:

  • Create a list of things that go together, such as bread-butter, pepper-salt, pen-paper or yin-yang and write them down on post-its. 
  • Stick these post-it notes individually on the backs of team members.
  • The trick is for each team member to walk around the room, gauging clues or asking questions to try and figure out the mystery word.

Time: 45–60 minutes 

Materials required: Sticky notes, pen, and a list of things that usually go in pairs, such as mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, king,  and queen

2.6. Lip Reading Liars

The game is played by two participants who stand face-to-face, and one tries to guess words and phrases by observing the lip movements of the other player. 

Why it is recommended: These kinds of effective communication exercises for employees do well for those who need to hone their observation skills and interpret what others are trying to communicate. 

How to play:

  • Choose one or two players who need to mute their computer audio and wear noise-cancelling earbuds.
  • Over the next three minutes, two to four other players need to enact a scene 
  • The players who wear earbuds need to try and decipher the scene being played out only by observing body language and lip-reading.

Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Materials required: Paper, Pen, speech-cancelling headphones 

2.7. Mad Gab

Put your gauging skills to the test as you decipher Mad Gab games for communication skills. In this game, players say a bunch of random words that might sound nonsense at first. But if you read it in the right way, it becomes a common saying. Players try to figure out the saying before time is up.

Why it is recommended: Playing this game encourages employees to collaborate, listen actively, and communicate more precisely.. 

How to play:

  • Hand over cards that have a series of randomly arranged words that do not make sense at one go, but are actually jumbled parts of a common idiom or saying
  • Set a timer and let the players try to quickly rearrange the words to form the right sentences in the correct order. 

Time: 45 minutes

Materials required: Cards, Paper, Pen

2.8. The Barter Puzzle

This is one of the games for communication skills that encourage creative teamwork among participants. It helps to hone negotiating and strategizing skills through teamwork since team members need to figure out which puzzle pieces are missing from their set and how to go about getting them. 

Why it is recommended: Helps participants to work collaboratively to find solutions and foster persuasive communication and strategic thinking.

How to play:

  • Choose a set of different jigsaw puzzles for teams to start working on. 
  • These puzzles must have a mix of all jigsaw puzzle pieces that are distributed among the teams in random order.
  • The trick is to complete the entire puzzle before the other teams do, and to also come up with unique ways to convince the other teams to let go of the pieces they need, through a team member exchange, merger or barter.

Time: 20 minutes

Materials required: Puzzle cards, paper, pen

2.9. The Perfect Square

The-Perfect-Square

In this game, participants are blindfolded and asked to form a perfect square with a rope without verbal communication. This is a great choice in games for communication skills to inspire leadership and exercise different communication styles. 

Why it is recommended: The blindfold aspect of this communication game for team building also helps to establish trust which is essential in any workspace for effective communication. 

How to play:

  • Ask teams to form a circle and give them a long rope with their ends tied together to hold.
  • Blindfold team members while holding the rope and instruct them to form a square.
  • The players can drop the rope to the floor and then walk steps backwards based on their interactions.
  • The idea is to form a square while blindfolded and communicate with each other on how to do it. 

Time: 20-25 minutes

Materials required: Paper, markers 

2.10. The Human Knot

In The Human Knot game, participants stand in a circle, and each person randomly grabs hold of two different people's hands across the circle. The challenge is for the group to work together to untangle themselves without letting go of each other's hands. The works well as an icebreaker communication activity besides being one the best games for communication skills at the workplace. 

Why it is recommended: This activity helps in building teamwork and communication through playful physical and non-verbal communication game cues. 

How to play:

  • Let team members or players form a circle and reach out to shake hands with others.
  • Each hand that extends will connect to a different player’s hand, creating the ‘human knot’.
  • Players then need to unwind their bodies without letting go of their hands.

Time: 15-30 minutes

Materials required: None

2.11. Shuffled Storyboards

Here, we introduce you to one of the best team activities to improve communication skills in the workplace. This game is all about intensive interaction within teams and creative ideation for the stories they plot.

Why it is recommended: The prime goal of this storytelling game is to spark creativity among team members and promote effective communication.

How to play:

  • Create groups among team members and share cards that have a random series of related images.
  • In under five minutes or less, each team needs to connect the given images in a logical sequence that creates a story.
  • Teammates will have to communicate and explain the reasoning behind the choice for each image that creates the entire story
  • Finally, all teams present their stories to the rest of the group.

Time: 15-20 minutes

Materials required: Storyboard Cards, paper, pen

2.12. Charades 

Playing Charades is not a novel game for many of us. This game encourages players to express themselves more effectively through non-verbal games and hone their observation skills too. 

Why it is recommended: Playing Charades at the workplace fosters team building, enhances communication skills, and adds an element of enjoyment.

How to play:

  • Divide team members into groups and hand over cue cards that have images, words, phrases, or themed messages 
  • Set a timer on for the round of guessing.
  • Players need to take turns acting out the cues so the opposite team can guess it correctly. 

Time: 20 minutes

Materials required: None

2.13. Paper Telephone

Paper Telephone is a fun game that combines "Telephone" and "Pictionary." The funny take on the telephone game emphasizes clear communication and easy team bonding.

Why it is recommended: It's a creative way to help teams bond and get to know each other while having a good time.

How to play:

  • Ask team members to come up with a simple sentence each and write them on pieces of paper.
  • When done, every team member has to pass on their paper to the adjacent player seated on the left.
  • After everyone has received their papers, the players have to draw the phrase that’s written and fold it in such a way that the phrase stays hidden and only the drawing shows. They can then hand it over to the adjacent person.
  • The recipient player has to now guess or identify the phrase based on the drawing and write it down below the drawing. 
  • It can be passed back on to the player who wrote down the initial phrase so they can compare and have a good laugh.

Time: 15 - 30 minutes

Materials required: Paper, pen or pencil, crayon, marker

2.14. Birthday Lineups

Birthday Lineups

This communication game for team building requires total silence, which means participants have to rely on non-verbal clues and body language to create the order. 

Why it is recommended: This game is ideal to improve your team's ability for communication and collaboration. 

How to play:

  • Have the players or team members lineup in order of their birthdays (month and day) in total silence 
  • The lineup should begin on January 1st and end on December 31st. 
  • When the lineup is done, ask the participants to state their birthday, month and day out loud. 

If the team gets the ordering right, everyone should ideally be in calendar order.

Time: 15 - 30 minutes

Materials required: Chart paper, pen 

2.15. Survive it!

This one makes a challenging addition to the list of games for communication skills. This game requires team members to brainstorm ideas, consider various perspectives, and arrive at a common solution for the plot.

Why it is recommended: The game encourages teams to don their thinking caps, collaborate, and communicate effectively after weighing in different opinions.

How to play:

  • Brief team members about a scenario where they are deserted on an island. 
  • Share a group of objects you have arranged for pre-hand, and ask them to rank the objects based on their utility for survival until a rescue team comes.
  • All team members should reach a common consensus on the rank position and its reasoning. 

Time: 5 minutes

Materials required: 5–10 office objects of your choice

2.16. Zen Counting

This simple yet challenging game requires team members to listen carefully to one another, and they take turns counting sequentially. 

Why it is recommended: The game helps to strengthen mindful thinking and promotes active listening. 

How to play:

  • Let teams stand or sit in a circle facing away from each other and are instructed to count out a number between 1 to 10.
  • Each member can only say one number aloud, and no other words can be spoken.
  • If the same number is called out twice by different players, then the game starts all over from the number.

Time: 20 minutes

Materials required: Small cards with numbers (1 to 100) or small objects like pebbles, beads, or buttons

2.17. Pop The Balloon

In a "Pop the Balloon" game, participants typically throw darts or use some method to burst balloons. The objective is to pop as many balloons as possible within a set time frame to win the prize. 

Why it is recommended: This game is one of the fun ways to improve communication in the workplace by encouraging team members to express their thoughts in a fun way.

How to play: 

  • Create a list of witty thought-provoking questions such as “What will finally break the internet?” or “Name your worst trait that you use to your best advantage”.
  • Label one balloon each with a single sentence and inflate it.
  • Ask every team member to catch a single balloon, pop it, and reply to the question on the balloon. However, the catch here is to avoid using words like “okay’’, ‘’um’’, ‘’so’’, ‘’like’’, ‘’you know’’, ‘’kind of’’, ‘’okay’’, etc. 

Time: 10-20 minutes

Materials required: Balloons, pins or sharp objects, Inflator air pump

2.18. The Minefield

The-Minefield

In "The Minefield" game at the workplace, participants navigate a designated area filled with "mines" or obstacles. This flexible activity works for groups of various sizes and fits well for youth, adults, and corporates.

Why it is recommended: Minefield and similar communication fun activities require collaboration and trust since the gameplay is solely based on how you communicate with each other to navigate around obstacles.

How to play:

  • Create an obstacle course or ‘minefield’ using available items such as boxes, chairs, markers, and bottles.
  • Split teams into pairs and have one player in each pair blindfolded. The other player will be the ears and eyes, helping to guide the partner through a pre-set obstacle course,
  • The catch is for both players in each pair to rely only on verbal cues to navigate through the obstacle course.

Time: 20 - 30 minutes

Materials required: Balls, cones, bowling pins, hats, or likewise objects

3. FAQs

3.1. What games help with effective communication?

Some of the most effective online games for communication skills are the following:

  • Blindfold Game
  • Building Blocks
  • Crazy Comic
  • Four at a Time
  • Get It Together
  • Misunderstanding
  • Communication drawing game

3.2. What are the benefits of conducting communication skills group activities at the workplace?

There are a wide range of benefits that result from conducting effective and proactive team building activities for communication skills at the workplace

  • Team building communication games help to minimize the potential for conflict by providing ample room for expression of thoughts, feedback and opinions.
  • Participating in communication skill improvement activities enhances the productivity of team members since they are more aligned with set goals and expectations. 
  • Teaching communication skills activities boosts employee engagement so team members feel more connected and it results in creating a positive work culture.
  • Engaging in communication exercises for work teams is essential for enhancing interpersonal skills and resolving conflicts effectively.
  • Reduces attrition rates since effective communication at the right time through the right platforms can help resolve employee grievances.
  • Fosters a sense of team spirit and unity since communication can bridge any gaps and also encourages teamwork.
  • Communication group activities empower employees to proactively participate and suggest strategies or innovative approaches that can help in achieving business goals. 

3.3. What are effective communication skills activities for adults?

Some effective skills for group communication activities or workplace communication exercises are:

  • Active listening
  • Body language
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Clarity

3.4. What are the best games to enhance communication skills?

Two Truths and a Lie, Storytelling Telephone, and Pass the Message communication game

are some of the best activities to enhance communication skills. 

3.5. What are the best communication games for training?

Some of the best communication training exercises include "Chinese Whispers" to emphasize message clarity, cross-cultural simulations like "Barnga" for diversity awareness, and interactive communication skills exercises like "Listening Pairs" to enhance listening and questioning skills. 

3.6. What are the best virtual activities to improve communication skills?

Effective virtual communication team building games to improve communication skills include online role-playing scenarios, virtual team-building games like "Online Escape Rooms," and video conferencing workshops focused on active listening and effective communication techniques.

3.7. What are some icebreaker games for communication skills?

Some of the popular communication icebreakers are Two Truths and a Lie, Human Knot, Charades, soft skills games, communication Back to Back drawing images, playing cards or even group exercises for communication skills. 

3.8. Which activity will help you improve your verbal communication skills?

Engaging in team communication activities such as joining a Toastmasters club, participating in group discussions, and just a  minute sessions can significantly enhance your verbal communication skills. 

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