Imagine if you couldn’t communicate with the people around you.
You wouldn’t be able to speak or express yourself, whether via your voice or body language.
It would be quite frightening, and would seriously derail your efforts to connect and bond with others, as well as be heard.
Why is communication so important?
Communication forms the basis of our interactions. When we communicate effectively, we have a better understanding of others – and they have a better understanding of what we’re about.
The keyword in the above is “effectively” – not just any old communication works!
To improve how well you communicate – and ensure you get heard – try these 11 best communication games.
They’ll give you new insight into communication while helping you to boost the wellbeing of your relationships.
Best Communication Games You Can Do Right Now
Strategy Communication Game
This is a DIY card game that will flex your persuasion skills so you learn how to use communication to achieve your goals.
Here’s how it works.
Ideally, you’ll have three groups of players, and each group will have teams of three or four members. However, you can use two groups if you don’t have the numbers for more.
Make cards out of cardboard. Each card needs to be cut into half diagonally, and then into half diagonally again. This will give you four triangular pieces for every card.
Mix the pieces together, then place equal numbers of cards into three or four envelopes – one envelope per team.
Give all the teams their own envelope of playing cards.
Every team will have a few minutes to sort through their pieces and figure out which cards they will need to get in order to have complete cards. This is where they will have to come up with a bargaining strategy to get the cards from the other teams.
Now the teams can start communicating and bargaining for cards. They should do this for about eight minutes, and the team members can work in a team or individually to try to get the cards.
Afterwards, whichever team has the most cards wins. You should reflect on the exercise to see which teams’ strategies worked the best and what the losing team(s) could have done better to win.
Listen and Draw
Active listening is an important part of communication as it helps us gain a better understanding of others. This communication game will help to sharpen your listening skills.
A leader of the group will give each player a sheet of paper and pen or pencil.
Then, the leader will provide the players with instructions on something they have to draw on the paper. The key is for the drawing to become more and more difficult with every step.
Here’s an example of something you could ask the players to draw:
Draw a square that’s five inches on each side.
Draw a circle inside the square so that it fits in the middle.
Intersect two lines through the circle so that you divide the circle into four equal parts.
You will continue with the above example so that the instructions become trickier. This will force the players to have to listen very carefully to create an accurate drawing by the end of the exercise.
Guess The Feeling
This communication game will enhance your empathy. It’s great for doing with friends, kids, or co-workers as a team-building exercise.
Make cards from cardboard. On every card write down an emotion.
Divide a group into two teams.
The cards should be placed on the table in front of the teams.
Someone from the first group should take the first card on the pile and act out the emotion for their group. They should only have two minutes to do this.
When the emotion is guessed correctly, the group will get 10 points. Then, the other group will have a go.
After about 20 minutes, the game will come to an end and the groups’ points will be counted so that a winner can be chosen.
This is a classic school playground game that really shows how easy it is to misunderstand communication!
Divide a group of kids or adults into two even lines.
Whisper a short sentence or phrase to the person at the start of the line and let them pass the message along. They are only allowed to whisper and they can only say the sentence once.
To make sending the message along a bit more difficult, play some music or try to distract the people in the line.
Once the message has reached the end of the line, the last person has to say the message out loud based on what they heard.
The first person needs to confirm that this was the message – it might be very different from what it was intended to be!
What’s so useful about this communication game is that it forces you to learn how to listen properly and communicate clearly even when there are distractions around you, which is what you’ll experience in real-life situations.
This is another communication game that focuses on non-verbal communication and its importance.
Separate a group into pairs. One player should be called A and the other B.
Give the participants a copy of the script below.
Player A needs to read their lines out loud, while Player B needs to communicate non-verbally.
Player B needs to be given a secret emotional distraction that will be written on a piece of paper. Examples of these distractions include that the player is feeling stressed out, anxious, uninterested, or bored.
The pair will work through the script, and then at the end Player A needs to guess what emotion Player B was feeling.
This is an example of a script that can be used, but you can make up your own:
Player A: Have you seen my book? I can’t find it. Player B: Which book? Player A: The memoir that you borrowed. Player B: Is this the book? Player A: No, the book that you borrowed. Player B: I didn’t borrow your book! Player A: Maybe it’s in the other room. Can you check? Player B: Fine, but give me a minute. Player A: How long will you take? Player B: Why are you so bossy and impatient? Player A: Forget it. I’ll go look for it myself. Player B: Wait, I found it.
This is a fun exercise that will teach you how to communicate clearly. How it works is that you need four or more people to play, a private room, blindfolds for everyone, and obstacles in the room, such as furniture or books.
In this exercise, you will need to build an obstacle course with the items you’ve collected.
Divide the players into pairs.
One member of the group should be blindfolded and put at the start of the obstacle course.
The second member needs to direct the first person through the course by giving them instructions. For example, the person will say, “Move to the right so that you don’t step into the box… Now walk straight for five steps.”
This communication game will boost teamwork, trust between partners, and help you to be aware of how you communicate with others.
This is an interesting communication game that might feel strange at first but it will help you learn more about how you communicate without words.
How it works is that you and the other players must sit in a circle.
Four people need to remain standing for 10 seconds, before they sit down and another four people stand up.
The catch is that the members of the group can only communicate with each other about who should stand in a non-verbal way.
The game ends when people can’t get their message across.
Communicating Around Barriers
Communication isn’t always smooth or easy to do.
There will be times when you’ll have to have difficult conversations with others, so this game will make you aware of how to find ways around barriers to communication.
Here’s how to play it.
Get two people to sit back-to-back.
The first person should try to describe an object to the other person without actually naming the object.
The second person needs to draw the object according to the first person’s description.
If you are playing this in a larger group, you can make it more fun by turning it into a competition. The team that produces the most accurate drawing in a certain amount of time can win a prize.
This isn’t so much a game as an exercise that you should do regularly with your partner to boost your bond.
It’s an important one to do because of how it’s not always easy to take time with your partner when you’re leading very busy lives.
This exercise also helps you and your partner to pay more attention to each other. How it works is that you have to schedule a bit of time for you and your partner. Ensure there are no other people around and no distractions.
Set a timer for five minutes.
For the whole five minutes, one partner has to speak and the other must listen to them. The speaker can talk about anything they want, such as what’s been on their mind, how their day at work was, or even what relationship problems they are experiencing.
When the speaker talks, the listening partner needs to show empathy and understanding via non-verbal communication. They are not allowed to say anything.
When the time is up, the partners can talk about what they experienced during the exercise and they can share their thoughts and feelings.
Then, the timer will be set again so that the other partner can get a chance to speak.
Positive Language Only
Negative communication, whether verbal or non-verbal, is damaging over time. Therefore, this Positive Language Only game is a good one to play with your partner.
You can also do this exercise with your friends or kids as everyone will benefit from it.
Specify an amount of time in which you will only use positive language with your partner, child, or friend.
Ask the other person to also commit to trying this. If you have a child, you could promise them a prize if they complete this “game.”
This exercise ensures that you avoid being critical or negative whenever you communicate with the other person. You’re only allowed to use encouraging and positive words and non-verbal communication.
This exercise shows people what happens when they don’t listen or communicate effectively.
How it works is that you will divide a group into pairs – one person has to be the speaker and the other has to be the listener.
The speakers shouldn’t know that the listeners have been told to stop listening to them after 30 seconds!
The speakers can speak about any topic they want to, and should speak for three minutes.
Pay attention to when the speakers notice that the listeners aren’t listening anymore – that’s when the game ends.
This is a great communication game to try with students or your children as you can use it as a platform to talk about how you can gauge when someone’s not listening to you, and discuss how not being listened to can make you feel.
What is active listening?
Active listening is when you give your full attention to the speaker and reflect back what they’ve said to show that you have heard and understood them.
What are the seven principles of communication?
The seven communication principles are clarity, objective (purpose of the communication), understanding the receiver, consistency, completeness, feedback, and time (length of communication and choosing the right time to talk).
Good communication isn’t just about the words you say – it’s also about what messages you send with non-verbal communication and how well you listen.
After reading this article, you now have 11 best communication games you can play with your partner, co-workers, students, or kids, as they will teach you more about good communication and how to be a better listener.
Diane offers meaningful living counseling, guidance, and support to people who go through different crises. Combining personal experience with sound knowledge, Diane is committed to helping individuals become the best versions of themselves, even when immediate life situations tend to suggest otherwise. Diane is well-versed in behavioral, social, cognitive, and emotional aspects of the human mind. Armed with this understanding, she created Themeaningfulliving.com –home to everyone with a strong desire to take back control of their lives. If you are looking for simple yet powerful techniques and tips for living the best life you ever wanted, Diane will hold your hand and gently guide you.