For professionals in the health care industry, a few team-building activities can help create quality conversations between patients and professionals, while also improving work relationships among team members. Typical results usually include stronger communication and motivated employees. That usually leads to happier and safer patients and colleagues.


Divide the group into teams of three or four people. Give each person a pencil and four 3-by-5 pieces of paper. Have each group member write his name on one of the papers. Then have each person write three words that describes himself on the other three pieces of paper. Have one word per piece of paper. Gather all the papers and mix them up. Now ask the teams to change places so they are working with another group's papers. The job for each team is to assemble the descriptive words in sets of three underneath the appropriate person’s name. Have each team review their answers with the entire group. Have the members of the original teams decide how many matches are correct. The winning team is the one that has the most correct matches. This exercise helps participants learn about each other and builds team unity.

Project Planning

This activity is an easy introduction to project planning, and increases attentiveness to structure and scheduling. The exercise is for any size group. Start by dividing the group into pairs. The task is to make a simple plan for having a staff party. Start by introducing participants to tools they need to plan a project: brainstorming initial concepts and ideas, gathering and identifying all elements -- especially causal and hidden factors, timelines, identifying problems, finding solutions and sharing your results with others. First have each pair go through each step. They should write down their results for each item as they discuss them. When they are finished, have all the pairs compare what they have written. Designate an individual to write down the final plans for planning this party. You can use a simple plan more appropriate to the group if you so choose.

Nonverbal Communication

This activity for health care workers can be played with one group or between two or more teams competitively. Games are livelier if played competitively, with three to 10 players per team. Apply flexibility to suit your company’s particular situation. Each team needs a pencil and paper. The task for each team is to devise a secret code to tell people a number. They cannot talk or write the information. For example, the team might decide to use hand squeezing as a way to communicate the secret number to everyone on the team. The instructor tells the designated team leader a number. The team leader must communicate this number to each team member individually. The team member will write down what he thinks the number is. A team wins when the designated leader communicates the secret number, non-verbally, to all team members in the least amount of time. A leader raises his hand to tell the activity facilitator when all team members have received the number correctly. Remember, no talking is allowed while the game is in progress. Change team leaders so everyone has an opportunity to assume the team leader role.