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The big book of virtual team-building games
Quick, effective activities to build communication, trust, and collaboration from anywhere!
By Mary Scannell, Michael Abrams, Mike Mulvihill
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2012Mary Scannell, Michael Abrams, and Mike Mulvihill
All rights reserved.
Virtual Team-Building Games for the Forming Stage
None of us is as smart as all of us.
The Forming Stage
This is the polite, get acquainted, and "get to know each other" stage. This is where team members begin to figure out who's who, and where everyone fits into the picture. Typically, this takes place at the opening meeting or even an orientation session. For a virtual team, get a head start on this stage by providing the team with each team member's qualifications and background information so everyone has an understanding of why the individuals were chosen for the team.
For traditional teams, the forming stage includes both the actual time spent in meetings and the informal gatherings and discussions in and around the initial meetings. For virtual teams, these informal connections have to be planned for and strategically incorporated early on into team conference calls. The goal is to create an environment that is safe and secure. Because the team also looks for guidance and direction in this stage, the leader must ensure that the team's purpose is clearly communicated and understood by all team members. At this beginning stage, it's essential to get buy-in from all the team members and candidly and honestly identify the pros and cons of teamwork and team building. This stage is where the team builds their foundation, so time well spent in this stage will pay off later.
A Map of Our Team
To build a stronger sense of team identity
To gain a better understanding of the members of the team
Landmark Suggestion List provided and available for download at virtualteambuildinggames.com
20 minutes or more
Google Maps, Bing Maps, MapQuest, or other location-or map-based service. Everyone on the team will need an account to use any of these services.
Online collaborative tools give virtual work teams a whole new set of resources for working together and building relationships among members. This activity uses an online location- or map-based service to create an interactive, customized (and private) map that's all about your team and its members.
Shared maps are a great way for team members to visualize where everyone lives and works, and provide opportunities for participants to learn more about their virtual teammates.
We suggest following these steps prior to the team meeting:
1. Assign a unique colored marker or pushpin to each team member.
2. Team members can place their pushpins anywhere on the map to identify landmarks that are related to them.
3. Team members can include as much or as little detail as they would like.
4. Once completed, people can click on the pushpins of their teammates to learn more about them, including fun facts, professionally relevant facts, information that's location-specific, and personal insights.
Landmarks should be as specific as possible and include work- or project-related places. Using the maximum zoom will ensure your pushpin locations are exact. Ideas for landmarks include:
The place you currently work
The location of your corporate headquarters
The location(s) of key vendors, customers, or clients
Ideally, this game should focus on more personal aspects of team members' lives. In order for teammates to really get to know each other, make sure to include some nonwork categories for team members to mark on your shared map. Here are a few suggestions:
Your hometown/where you grew up
The college you attended
A place you would like to live
A place that intrigues you
Sites of the three most significant experiences in your life
A place you have visited several times
The farthest place to which you have ever traveled
The location of your favorite restaurant
Where your child was born
A favorite vacation spot
All the places you have worked
The location of your first job
An easy way to get started: navigate to maps.google.com.
Click on "My places"
Click on "Create new map"
1. How does sharing more personal information build a stronger virtual team?
2. Is self-disclosure necessary for a virtual work team? If so, what is the appropriate level of self-disclosure?
3. What are some other things we would like to learn about the members of our team?
4. How does geography play a role in a person's work style?
All About Me
To improve camaraderie and connections
To understand more about the members of the team on a personal level
To build a deeper level of trust on the team
All About Me Guidelines (provided here, and available for download from virtualteambuildinggames.com)
10 to 20 minutes
Email, word-processing document
While this activity is good for any type of virtual team, team members that are working from different time zones can gain a better sense of team by participating in this game. Request that each member of your team create an "All About Me" page (using the guidelines provided; add any other topics that may be of interest or unique to your team). Let them know the purpose of the task is to gain a better understanding of the people who make up the team. After receiving all the individual pages, combine them into one document and email it to all the team members to print out as a reminder of who the people are on their team.
After providing your team with the idea, ask them to submit topics of interest to be included in everyone's "All About Me" documents.
No discussion questions are necessary.
GET IT ONLINE!
All About Me Guidelines
Please create a document to help us to get to know you better. Start with your name and a current picture of yourself. Beneath your picture, complete these sentences.
I was born in _________.
I live in __________ and have lived here for _________.
My family consists of _________.
In my spare time I like to __________.
One of my favorite quotes is __________.
Get creative! Pictures are welcome! Please include any additional pictures or interests that will help your teammates get to know you better. Thank you.
I was born in Dodge City, Kansas.
I live in Chicago, and have been here 12 years.
My husband, Phil, and I have two sons. Zac is 7; Nick is 9. We have a dog, Sparky.
In my spare time, I love to play soccer. I also love to read and am in a book club. (Do you have any book recommendations?)
My favorite quote: "We are what we r
Excerpted from The big book of virtual team-building games by Mary Scannell. Copyright © 2012 by Mary Scannell, Michael Abrams, and Mike Mulvihill. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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