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Team building puzzles are an educational tool used to help unite groups of people who work together in some capacity. The purpose of the puzzles is to help the team learn to work together in efficient, often creative ways. Team building puzzles are often part of the programming at professional or educational conferences and retreats. They are also often used by consultants who are hired by businesses to help improve the productivity or general working relationships of their staffs.
One of the keys in team building puzzles is communication. Team members are generally asked to communicate in unique ways in order to solve the puzzles. For example, the team may be allowed to use hand motions and facial expressions, but not speak in order to complete a task. This sort of training helps people to bond and improve their general communication skills. The development of these bonds and skills often translate into improved professional relationships and the improved successes of a professional team.
There are many kinds of team building puzzles. A common example is a puzzle that requires a team of two to five people. One of the people on the team is given a set of instructions that the others on the team are not allowed to see. The instructions may have to do with the building of a model, the organization of a set of objects, or the completion of a task. Furthermore, the instructions may be printed purely in graphics so that the person explaining the instructions to his or her team has to find creative ways to verbally interpret what is on the page.
Sometimes obstacle courses are used as team building puzzles. Having people who generally work in an office environment work together in a physical manner often helps them to find new ways to work together, which stretches their professional relationships and abilities to communicate about professional matters. Such obstacle courses are almost always stationary and exist in facilities that regularly host team building retreats or conferences.
Team building puzzles are sometimes used at the very beginning of a team's professional career. This can help to quickly develop professional bonds and relationships in a team that would take much longer to develop in a standard office environment. At other times, team building puzzles are used to help better unite a team of professionals who already work together on a regular basis.
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