Puzzling Out Ways to Communicate and Succeed
(Austin, Texas, USA)
This was an activity done for a meeting of 10 people, most of whom had communicated only via email and not met before.
Before the meeting, I had each person send me a photo of themselves and used http://www.puzzle-my-picture.com to create a puzzle of the group. At the meeting, I divided them into three groups of three and gave each group the same puzzle to assemble. I then challenged them to race to see which group could build the complete picture in less than 10 minutes - without talking!
When the puzzles were completed, the participants had to name each person in the picture. We then discussed what made the activity easier (such as having the people whose photos you were assembling in the room) and what made it difficult (such as not being able to talk).
This was a fantastic way to get them to know the faces of the other group members, and broke the ice for us all to get to know each other better, both at the meeting and again through email. And, of course, the restriction on talking highlighted the importance of constant communication in any project.
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