Team meetings can often be dull and monotonous, with attendees counting down the minutes until they can return to their work. However, it doesn't have to be this way. Adding a touch of fun and excitement to your team meetings can boost morale, encourage collaboration, and make everyone look forward to the next one.
In this article, we'll share 9 engaging games that you can incorporate into your team meetings. From icebreakers to lateral-thinking puzzles, these activities are designed to energize your team, challenge the meeting status quo, and improve meeting engagement.
1. Icebreakers: Quick and fun
Icebreakers are fun and quick activities with easy-to-answer questions and are a great way to start a meeting.
Icebreaker questions are often simple conversation starters that help teams learn about each other and find commonalities.
How to use icebreakers before a meeting
To start a meeting with icebreakers, here’s what you're going to do:
Step one: The team lead chooses an icebreaker question and asks the team.
Step two: One by one, each participant takes a turn answering the question.
Step three: Leave some time for the team to discuss or come up with follow-up questions to their team members’ answers.
Icebreaker questions can be funny, serious, or creative, depending on your team’s needs.
Here are some examples to get you started:
- How do you describe your job to a five-year-old?
- What is your favorite job onboarding memory?
- What piece of advice changed your life?
- What language would you like to learn?
- What is your go-to pizza order?
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these icebreaker resources:
2. Team charades: Build team spirit
With team charades, teams compete against one another in a healthy and friendly environment. This builds a base for cheering on and working with each other. This activity expands teamwork skills onto projects and working relationships.
How to play team charades
The goal of charades is for teams to guess the word their chosen player is acting out.
- Divide all the participants into two teams.
- The first team chooses a player to act out a word.
- That player is given a word or phrase to act out.
- The player acts out the word without speaking. Their team has 30 seconds to guess the correct word.
- If the team is able to correctly guess the word, they earn a point. If not, the other team can guess.
- The next team acts out their word.
The team with the most points wins the game.
Here is a sample list of charades words you can use for your next game:
- Category: Workplace equipment
- Words: Laptop, mouse, coffee mug, whiteboard
3. Two truths and a lie: Get to know your team
This game, in particular, is helpful when new hires join team meetings.
Two truths and a lie requires participants to be creative while also bringing out facts about their life and personality. The game allows the team to have fun, discuss one another's stories, and get to know each other.
How to play two truths and one lie
Two truths and one lie requires no previous planning or external resources. Here’s how you play:
Step one: One by one, team members say three facts about themselves. Two of the facts or stories need to be true, and one needs to be a lie.
Step two: Team members discuss which one is a lie.
Step three: Once the team agrees on which fact is a lie, they reveal their answer to the speaker. If they are correct, each player wins a point.
Here’s an example of two truths and one lie:
- My favorite sport is rock climbing (true)
- I love pineapple on my pizza (lie)
- My favorite season is summer (true)
4. Team trivia: Bring out some friendly competition
Team trivia is a great, energetic way to kickstart meetings. And trivia quizzes can constantly change to be seasonal and specific to your team’s interests.
To up the game's stakes, add a prize for the trivia winner — for example, a free lunch (yes, there is such a thing!) or coffee.
How to play team trivia
Before you play trivia, you’ll need to come to the meeting prepared with questions and a trivia template. With a trivia template, your team can interact and keep track of the score, which helps keep things engaging and competitive.
Step one: Choose a trivia category — for example, company trivia, Disney movies, or geography.
Step two: Divide participants into two teams or more.
Step three: The gamemaster (or facilitator) chooses a question to ask both teams.
Step four: Teams discuss and choose an answer.
Step five: The gamemaster reveals the correct answer.
Step six: Once all the questions have been asked, the team with the most correct answers wins.
Here’s an example of how to use a trivia quiz to build your internal brand:
Category: Company quiz
- When was the company founded?
- What are the company's values?
- What is the company’s slogan?
5. Would you rather: Discover your team’s personalities
“Would you rather?” is a great way to get to know your employees with fun questions. This meeting requires no preparation and is entertaining, with funny and bizarre questions that help your team understand one another's personalities.
This game is also for pure fun, as there is no winner at the end. This allows the team to play without any added pressure.
How to play “would you rather?”
Step one: The first player asks the team a “would you rather?” question.
Step two: Each player answers their preference. Employees can ask more questions to better understand their choices.
Step three: The next player in line chooses the next “would you rather” question.
Here’s a list of “would you rather” questions:
- Would you rather speak 20 languages or play 20 instruments?
- Would you rather fly or time travel?
- Would you rather live by the sea or in the mountains?
6. Share the inspiration: Exchange team knowledge
“Share the inspiration” is a spin-off from preschool days of “show and tell.” It’s a great way to get your team to share their enthusiasm for a project beforehand.
Empowering employees to bring and share inspiration is a great activity to build company culture and bond over similar thoughts. It’s also an opportunity to improve communication, process, and teamwork skills through new resources and knowledge.
How to play “share the inspiration”
Pre-work: Before playing “share the inspiration,” give your team a week’s notice, so they can come to the meeting prepared and ready with materials to share.
Step one: Team members anonymously write a quote or book that has inspired them on sticky notes.
Step two: Team members read one another’s sticky note inspiration. Then, they decide who they think it belongs to.
Step three: Team members take turns explaining their inspiration and what they’ve learned from it.
Here are some ideas for “share the inspiration”:
- “To me, a leader is someone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.” — Brene Brown
- Think Again by Adam Grant
- What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill.
7. Meeting bingo: Add some fun to routine meetings
Meeting bingo makes everyone pay attention throughout the meeting while still poking fun at routines and meeting protocols.
If your team wants to win, they need to be attentive to earn points throughout the meeting. This is also a fun way to build camaraderie, as the bingo cards can include your manager’s or team members' common personality traits and habits.
How to play meeting bingo
Pre-work: Before your meeting starts, write down a list of bingo cards for each team member. You’ll want to add points to each bingo word.
Step one: Give each team member different bingo cards.
Step two: During the meeting, let the team cross off items from their bingo cards as soon as they appear.
Step three: Reveal bingo cards at the end of the meeting. The winner is the person with the most points.
Step four: The winner creates the next round of bingo cards.
Here’s an example of words or items to add to your team bingo card:
- A new idea is proposed ( five points).
- There are more than three coffees on the table (three points).
- Someone receives a Slack notification (two points).
- The meeting presentation has over 10 slides (four points).
8. Lateral-thinking puzzles: Solve problems together
Lateral-thinking problems require teams to ask creative questions to solve a mystery, and they’re a great game to kickstart creative sessions with a team. They are especially great meeting starters because they require active listening and teamwork to solve the puzzle.
The puzzles are shared as scenarios with strange situations. The goal of your team is to uncover what has happened.
How to play lateral-thinking puzzles
To play, one team member needs to come prepared with a puzzle mystery to share with the team.
Step one: A team member tells a lateral-thinking puzzle.
Step two: Team members ask questions to solve the mystery. Their questions can only be answered with “yes,” “no,” or “not relevant.”
Step three: Team members ask questions until they solve the mystery,
Here’s an example of a lateral-thinking puzzle:
Lateral puzzle: A man is found dead, face down, in the middle of a field. There are no footprints leading to or from the body. The only thing he has is a backpack containing the one thing that could have saved his life. What's in the backpack?
Answer: A parachute.
9. Emoji song challenge: Lighthearted and creative fun
Emoji song challenges are an easy game to start off a meeting and don’t require any planning.
This activity allows employees to share song interests, bond over musical tastes, and be creative together. It has to be played through a text chat, so it’s ideal for remote employees or for people who feel uncomfortable talking on camera.
How to play the emoji song challenge
The goal of the emoji song challenge is for teams to bond over music by expressing their favorite tunes as emojis.
Step one: Each player chooses a song.
Step two: Each player takes turns describing the song with emojis.
Step three: Players must guess the song name in less than 10 seconds.
Step four: The player that guesses the most songs correctly wins.
Here’s an example of a song emoji:
Song: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
How to make your team comfortable with games
Games are fun and entertaining ways to get your team comfortable with one another. But it can be difficult to break the ice and create a comfortable setting where participants can show their personalities. This is especially true because people tend to feel uncomfortable or self-conscious about being in the spotlight, either because they are shy or feel that the games are too corny.
Here are some tips to get your team comfortable and to let loose during the games:
Be the first to go
This is always the hardest position to be in. So take control of the game’s direction and be the first to participate. Show your team that it’s okay to joke and play around with games.
Respect your team’s voice
Always let your employees speak, discuss, and joke around. Playing games is a great tool for your teams to build trust and confidence in one another. So it's particularly important not to cut them off or monopolize the conversation.
Related: How to build trust in your team
Consider the context
Before starting a game, consider the context of the meeting. Some meetings, like sprint planning, call for team-oriented games to build engagement, like lateral-thinking puzzles that get the team working as a unit. While others, like daily scrums, are lighthearted and can start with icebreakers.
Respect your team’s time
Keep games within a time framework to avoid slipping into your employees’ work time. Aim to have pre-meeting games last 10 minutes or less. That way, teams see games as beneficial and not as an activity that takes away time from their productive working hours.
Features like the timer in Mural’s facilitation tools allow you to easily time-box activities in a transparent way.
Take team-building and collaboration to the next level
After playing games to make your team comfortable, it’s time to take that team momentum and apply it to a productive meeting.
Your team needs support from collaboration tools to continue working, sharing information, and building projects together instead of working in silos.
Mural helps teams change how they work together with collaborative spaces and guided methods. Mural’s collaborative whiteboard empowers teams with templates to effectively plan, strategize, and collaborate on strategies together.