Team Building Activity: Say What?

Say What?

Have you ever been talking to someone and could tell they were saying one thing but meant something else? Have you ever been misunderstood when you thought what you said was clear? Sometimes miscommunication can be caused by factors other than our words. Facial expressions and body language play major roles in how we communicate! This quick but effective team building activity is perfect for groups who could use some communication pointers and mindfulness about the many ways we communicate.

Time Needed: 10-15 minutes

Group Size: Any

Materials: Bag of questions written on slips of paper

These questions are meant to prompt participants to make various facial expressions. When composing your questions, try to think of varying expressions you would want them to demonstrate. Here are a few examples:

  • What type of face would you make if you found $100 on the sidewalk?
  • What type of face would you make if you were nervous about taking a test?
  • What type of face would you make if something smelled bad?
  • What type of face would you make if you lost your favorite shirt?

Note: Keep in mind they are not being asked to play charades, only make facial expressions. So, a question like “how would you look if you were playing basketball?” would probably encourage more body movement.

Directions: Tell participants, “It’s important to remember that our facial expressions and body language play big parts in communication. We might say one thing, but if our body language isn’t in line with what we’re saying, it can confuse those who are listening. Now, we are going to practice reactions based on information we’re given.”

“I’m going to go around the circle and pass around a bag of questions. Please pull a question from the bag, and when it’s your turn, say your name and do what the slip says. You SHOULD NOT read the question that is on the slip of paper out loud – just demonstrate.”

“For example, you might receive a slip that says, ‘What kind of face would you make if you were shocked?’ You will then show the group your shocked face.”

“Though we still won’t know what your slip of paper says, we are going to try to mimic your expression.”

After a person has had a chance to go, allow the rest of the group to mimic the expression AND THEN guess what type of reaction they were making. Then, allow the original person to reveal what the slip of paper said.

Continue until each person in the group has had a turn.

Debrief Questions:

  • What happened during the activity?
  • Was it more difficult to be silly or serious? Why?
  • Did you always know the exact expression or feeling you were mimicking?
  • Why is it important to think about our facial expressions and body language when talking with others?
  • How can you use this information moving forward when working with others?


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