Team Bonding Through Name Activities: A Guide For Facilitators

No excuses needed.

If you’ve been trying to impress your target audience with one of the best name activities, chances are you’ve been finding yourself looking for content everywhere. Not to mention, it can be daunting when you’re not sure exactly what you need.

So consider my excitement when I started to use a simple activity in team-bonding sessions to then realize how effective it would be.

If you are finding a similar need, then I hope that this post really helps.

It’s been many years now since I discovered that name activities are a great way to help team members learn more about each other in a fun and interactive setting.

In truth, the goal of the activity is to build stronger connections between team members by sharing personal details and finding commonalities.

Remember, this type of activity can improve communication, collaboration, and trust within the team.

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Where to begin: the name game, Me – a name I call myself, the hobby, and the color.

Instructions for Completing the Activity

The reason why we do posts like this is because a simple name activity only involves each participant sharing some background on their first name and how they got it.

No matter what spin you put on this activity, there are only some simple steps to complete:

  • Gather participants in a circle or around a table.
  • The facilitator explains that each person will share their first name, its origins/meaning, and any story behind why they were given that name.
  • Go around the circle and have each person introduce themselves and share their name story in 1-2 minutes.
  • The facilitator can ask follow up questions or highlight common themes.
  • At the end, the facilitator summarizes key learnings and connections made through the activity.

Cost and Resources

Running this exercise is easy and this activity requires no special supplies, just participants gathered together.

Time Required

You can mix and match timing but allow 15-20 minutes for a group of 5-10 people. Add 5 minutes for each additional 5 participants.

Ideal Group Size

On the days that you really want this to run smoothly, we find that 5-15 people works best. And on the days that you need to cater for larger groups, simply break into smaller groups of 5-8 people.

Best Suited For

There is no single group that this activity is best suited for over others. Just think of the activity as suitable for all new and existing team members.

Facilitator’s Role

The facilitator explains the activity, keeps it moving, asks follow up questions, and summarizes key takeaways.

Participant’s Role

We turned to learning professionals and they’ve told us that participants should be told to actively listen and make connections between team members’ stories.

Reflection Strategies

Want to get the most from this activity, then you really should use reflection strategies. Really. I remember when I didn’t use reflection strategies and I now know what was lost. Things have come a long way since then and now I always:

  • Ask participants to share one new thing they learned about a team member.
  • Have participants reflect on common themes that emerged from the stories.
  • Discuss what surprised people or what assumptions were challenged.

Debrief Questions

In my case, my learning came from making mistakes and I learned the great benefits of applying debrief questions. As it turns out this is quite a simple exercise of asking:

  • What did you enjoy about this activity?
  • What connections did you make with team members?
  • How can we use what we learned to improve our teamwork?

Conclusion

It can be easy to forget that name activities are a simple but powerful way to facilitate relationship building between team members. In fact, we hear this from customers that have ordered our full set of courses all the time.

As a rule of thumb, always take time to make connections and learn about each participants backgrounds and names. Ultimately, this can increase understanding and unity within a team.