Of the countless team-building exercises that can help improve the dynamics of your team, one of my favorites involves each team member sharing personal pictures with the group. The exercise is great in almost any setting, but is especially well-suited for teams who only meet virtually or are just starting out.
The set-up of the activity is simple: ask each member of the team to provide 3 photos that represent who they are. Then when sharing the photos, the person can describe a little about themselves and also answer any questions people might have.
I’ve found that giving a little bit of direction can help here, and usually suggest people bring in the following:
1. A Picture of You as a Kid.
These pictures are almost always hilarious and can also provide a lot of information about the person’s history. Plus it serves as a reminder to each of us of where we came from.
My picture below is from during my short-lived stint as a child-model. Modeling never worked out, but I have always loved Osh Kosh B’Gosh and something about the picture just seems to encapsulate who I am.
2. A Current Picture with Friends and/or Family
Many times, our friends and family define who we are as a person. A picture of them is a way of sharing that personal side of us, as well gives others an insight into what relationships we value most.
The picture with my brothers comes from last Christmas and shows our sense of humor and love for our mom. The color of my sweater also happens to be my favorite color.
3. A Picture of You Doing Something You Love
When we first meet another person at work, the tendency is to ask generic questions related to their work: what do you do? how long have you done it? how much do you make? (OK, maybe not the last one.) But asking about what the person loves to do not only strengthens the relationship, but is also so much more interesting. I’ve been amazed with what some of my co-workers do outside of the workplace.
This picture of me comes from a stand-up show in the middle of a particulary embarassing story. I love performing and making people laugh, even if it’s at my own expense, and the picture is a great way to show one of my biggest passions.
What Are Your 3 Pictures?
The possibilities for the pictures is endless, as well as the discussions that will take place after. But in just three pictures, you are able to get a strong understanding of each of your team members. The pictures are not only more interesting than someone just talking, but they also serve as a springboard for discussion, both during the presentation and afterwards.
I don’t know about you, but I feel more appreciated and included when people ask about more than just my work. If you ask me how my comedy is going, or about my mom, I’ll know that I mean more to you than just another co-worker or employee, and isn’t that what team-building exercises are all about?
So the next time you’re kicking off a new team, or you just need a great team-building game, ask everyone, “What are your 3 pictures?”