Posts Tagged ‘breaking the ice’

Fostering Teamwork with Zip-Boing-SCHABLAMMY!!

Zip-Boing-Schablamy focusing exercise

Zip-Boing-Schablamy focusing exercise

January 20th is swiftly approaching.. I can’t think of a better way to spend a presidential administration change than to focus on your friends, teammates or co-workers.  ZIP-BOING-SCHBLAMY! is an attention focusing, teamwork centric game that is as ridiculous and fun as it sounds. If you can get your whole team in one room for 15-minutes this Friday, I recommend giving this game a try. If nothing else, you’ll have had 15 minutes of fun, smiles and laughter, and end up with a sharp, focused team!

This exercise is especially helpful for teams that are having a challenge loosening up with each other. Another great thing about Zip-Boing-Schblamy is that it completely stands on it’s own as an exercise. You don’t need a warm-up, give much of a preface, or anything. Just a team who is willing to give it a try. Giving your team permission to play a little, especially before a serious office meeting or client engagement can dramatically alter their mood and performance for the better.

ZIP-BOING-SCHBLAMY!: (a teamwork exercise by Improv Alive)
All in a circle. 1 person starts by pointing to their neighbor and saying “ZIP”, this continues until someone makes an ‘X’ with their forearms and says “BOING”, thus changing the direction of the action around the circle. Finally, one can send the focus across the circle by clap-pointing to anybody other than their direct neighbor and saying “SHABLAMY!”

The Ultimate Team Focusing Business Improvisation Game: (Here’s to more effective meetings in 2017!)

Improv-Alive.com - Slap & Clap Exercise

Improv-Alive.com – Slap & Clap Exercise

The new year is on our doorstep. Is one of your new year’s resolutions to lead more efficient, effective team meetings? SLAP & CLAP is an extremely versatile and fun corporate team focusing improv exercise that promises to prime your team for an energized and positive kickstart to any meeting. Taking it’s inspiration from PASS THE FOCUS (see our last blog entry), SLAP & CLAP adds an additional level of complexity into the mix, requiring a higher focus and concentration by each player. SLAP & CLAP is all about maintaining a CONSTANT, DISTRIBUTED FOCUS on each player while the game is in play. It is a terrific add-on to PASS THE FOCUS, to continue developing an ice-breaking, team bonding company culture. The greatest thing about this improvisation game is its ability to occupy your employees senses so fully, there is no option for anything but positive, joyus engagement, (which is what this season is all about, right?)

This exercise is especially helpful for teams that tend to get bogged down in negative dialogue in meetings. We suggest preceding SLAP & CLAP with PASS THE FOCUS, allowing your team to first become acquainted with the simpler version before attempting this slightly more involved version.

Engaging your team in or out of the corporate office in a quick 5-10 minute session of SLAP & CLAP, especially before an important meeting, or collaborative event can dramatically boost the energy and positivity of the overall experience. This game works equally well for Vice Presidents, HR Managers, Business Development Specialists, Consultants, and support professionals alike! Enjoy and Happy Holidays & New Year from Improv Alive.

SLAP AND CLAP: All players stand in a circle. 1 player starts by either slapping his RIGHT thigh (sending focus to the right), slapping his LEFT thigh (sending focus to the left), OR establishing eye contact and clapping once in unison with anyone in the circle (other than immediate neighbor on either side). Then that person either SLAPS or CLAPS, thus sending the focus on to another, etc.. The idea is to establish a rhythm and always keep your focus broad so you are open and ready to establish a connection with anybody in the circle to slap or clap in rhythm.

The Greatest Team-Building Improv Game for your Company Holiday Party EVER:

Company Team Building, Communication, Improv Alive exercise

Company Team Building, Communication, Improv Alive exercise

Despite a most unfortunate name, this is possibly the greatest teamwork-fostering, ice-breaking, group-energizing warm-up improv game ever created. We at Improv Alive like this game so much, we try to incorporate it, in one form or another, into almost every business improvisation workshop we lead. Pass the Clap is all about shifting your focus from internal (introspective), to external (extrospective), out to the other members of the team. It is a terrific ice-breaker and bonding exercise, but the real power of this exercise is in its ability to cause each player to forget about how embarrassed he or she is to be doing improv in front of his company co-workers, and focus fully on what everybody else is doing, and how he can keep the exercise going!

This exercise is especially helpful for teams that are challenged communicating with each other. We strongly advise engaging your team in or out of the office in a quick 5-10 minute session of Pass the Clap before an important meeting, or collaborative event in order to start things off with an extra boost of energy and team focus. This game works equally well for CEO’s, managers, sales professionals, customer service reps, developers and librarians alike! Enjoy and Happy Holidays from Improv Alive.

  PASS THE CLAP (aka: PASS THE FOCUS): All participants in a circle. Doug establishes eye contact with anyone in the circle and he leads that person in a single unison CLAP. Then that person makes eye contact with another random person in the circle and leads that person in a single unison clap, and so on.. the ‘Clap’ (or Focus) gets passed randomly around the circle. The idea is to establish a rhythm and always keep your body ready, your energy high and your focus broad,  so you are open and ready to establish eye contact and clap on rhythm. For an additional challenge, try it while moving randomly around the space.
The Name Game

Get your team THINKING like a team with ‘THE NAME GAME’

Your workforce is under pressure. Each employee is doing the job of two, and the responsibility feels like stress. You’re starting to notice a drop in morale, which goes hand in hand with a drop in workforce efficiency.  Getting your leaders and teams to engage in improv at work is one of the best ways to turn stress to joy and boost morale.  Here’s another terrific, easy-to-play game that breaks the ice, encourages a team-centric focus, and is more fun than a photobombing seal: The Name Game is a simple, fun and effective game to be played by 6-30 people.  Here’s THREE versions of it to try out:

The Name Game I, II & III: 

Breaking the ice, Focus & Concentration (6+ people)

I. Everyone in a circle. Doug says his own name and points to Alice, Alice says her name and points at Brian.. until everybody’s name has been said several times.

II. Doug points at Alice and says her name, etc.. (if the wrong name is said, the pointed tells their name and we move on).

III. Begins by starting a rhythm (group snapping their fingers). Doug says his own name and Alice’s name, Alice says her name and Brian’s name.., hence passing the focus around the group in rhythm.

Breaking the Ice

An improvisation game to help break the ice at work:

Getting your teams at work to engage in theatrical improvisation is one of the best ways to break the ice when you’re introducing one group to another, or striving for more of a sense of teamsmenship within a group. Sometimes, the mere mention of the words “We’re gonna do Improv!” can strike fear in the hearts of many. It’s important to start the event with a game that is light, fun, and quickly defuses the angst. NAME & GESTURE is a simple, fun and effective game that I learned at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New York City.  Here’s how it works:

Name & Gesture: 

Everyone forms a large circle. The first (brave) person says their name and does an associated bodily gesture to accompany their name. For example, the 1st player (let’s say Scott) says “Scott”, and slaps his thigh. Then EVERYBODY in the circle repeats “SCOTT!” and slaps their own thigh.  Then, the player to the right of Scott, (let’s say, Ellen) says “SCOTT!” and slaps her thigh, and then says “ELLEN!”, and spins around in a circle.  1-by-1, all the way around the circle, each plays says the previous names & gestures of  all the previous players, ending with their own name & gesture.  This goes all the way around the circle. Finally one brave soul must do the names & gestures of the ENTIRE circle.