How Creating Halloween Costumes Together Forms Strong Teams
Making Halloween costumes together is a great team building exercise.
There is a reason teachers always make us work in groups, from elementary school through master’s degree programs. At some level, all of us collaborate with other people at our jobs, whether these people are co-workers, bosses, vendors, suppliers, partners, clients or prospects. Our ability to work effectively with others determines the success, or failure, that we achieve.
Close your eyes and picture elementary school art class. Remember making arts and crafts with your classmates? You had to learn how to share the scissors, the glue, and the paint. You learned who was a good sharer, who was a team player, and who wasn’t. When it came time to form groups for class projects, who were you most likely to choose?
The same is true at the office.
Building strong teams means learning how to communicate, collaborate, negotiate, listen, and empathize. Here are some fun team-building exercises that will help your team work together towards common goals more effectively.
Create Halloween Costumes Together
Any activity that involves art supplies and a common vision is a great team-building exercise! My team and I had a lot of ideas for our Halloween costumes, so immediately we were working on our listening and communication skills, learning to empathize with each other, and negotiate to make sure our favorite idea was in the top running. Going out and getting the art supplies took cooperation and so did making our costumes.
You’ll get to know your team members better; we found that each of our Shark Week t-shirts, though alike in theme, were unique to our personalities. Getting to know each other on a personal level will enable us to communicate, empathize and collaborate more effectively on the next project.
Play the Blindfold Game
This exercise builds trust and helps you hone your communication and listening skills. Find an empty conference room and set up an obstacle course of furniture and other roadblocks that you have to maneuver around. Each person wears a blindfold and is guided by a partner to ensure they don’t bump into anything. Each pair then switches places. By literally putting yourself in the other’s person’s place, you can empathize with them immediately and then figure out how you could have communicated more effectively.
Go On Field Trips
Getting out of the office and into neutral environments is the key! Once in awhile, have your weekly team meeting at a local restaurant or coffee shop. (We’re a fan of Wegman’s.) On each Thursday in June, our office complex hosts live bands with barbeque food over lunch. Sometimes we’ll have lunch together there as a team. Our company also hosts guided walking trips over lunch. It’s a healthy way to get out of the office for a bit, clear your head, and enjoy each other’s company.
You’ll find that by simply getting out of the office for any length of time that you talk about your personal lives more – what kind of music you like, what movie you saw that weekend, what sports your kids are playing, what pets you have.
Shadow Team Members
Who do you work closely with every day? As marketing professionals, it’s our job to support the sales reps so we took a day and shadowed them to see exactly what challenges they face. It was eye-opening and gave us a better appreciation of how much they rely on our work to capture the attention of their prospects. Physically shadowing others is not always possible, but you can at least take the time to ask the people you work with what their challenges are, and brainstorm how you could collectively overcome them to make both of your jobs’ easier.
Host Friendly Contests
A little friendly competition never hurt any team! Find something that you all enjoy, like cooking chili, and host a chili cookoff! Does your team want to shed some weight after the holidays? Host a weight loss contest. Our company sponsors a non-profit and every year the departments challenge each other to a fundraising contest prior to the organization’s annual event. Find something that your team enjoys and put everyone to the test! While it pits you against each other, it also unites you in a common cause.