Managers' Library Home

Communication Skills Training Activities


Channels of Influence - Who and How?


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Explores the people your team need to influence and makes them aware of the need to consider the needs of the person they are seeking to influence.

You will need:

Flipchart, pens, post-it notes and the Channels of Influence PowerPoint. Each member of your team will also need a Channels of Influence handout.

In a nutshell:

Can you re-tune the internal radio station of the people you need to influence?

Communicating Without Body Language


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Highlights the role of body language in communication and identifies strategies for communicating more effectively over the phone.

You will need:

Blindfolds for every participant, and a flipchart.


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Blindfolds can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

Participants have a discussion whilst blindfolded to identify the difficulties that a lack of body language creates when not communicating face-to-face.

Different Perspectives - The House


Time required:

10 minutes.

What it does:

A quick exercise designed to demonstrate that just because someone has a different viewpoint/perspective, it doesn’t mean that they are not right too.

You will need:

The house pictures provided.

In a nutshell:

Team members describe the house in the picture.

Difficult Conversations - Carrie's Conundrum


Time required:

20 minutes.

What it does:

Explores why difficult conversations can be necessary and are part of healthy working relationships.


flagThis exercise can be run as a stand alone session, or can be followed by the Planning a Difficult Conversation activity and the Difficult Conversations video.


You will need:

Each participant will need a copy of Carrie's Conundrum. You will also find it helpful to have a flipchart to record key points from the discussion.


In a nutshell:

Carrie works as a volunteer for a charity, but the changes being made are making her unhappy and she feels personally targeted. What should she do next?

Distracting Assumptions


Time required:

15 minutes.

What it does:

Explores the impact of assumptions on how we think.

You will need:

The PowerPoint slide from the Resources tab to show the riddle. Alternatively you can write it up in advance on a flipchart.

In a nutshell:

How do our assumptions get in the way of solving a very simple problem?


flagCheck out the PowerPoint slide and see if you can solve the riddle before you discover the answer. A small clue for you is that the answer is not smoke inhalation.

Drawing Upon Questions


Time required:

25 minutes.

What it does:

Demonstrates the importance of asking the right questions when seeking to gain an understanding of the viewpoint of others.

You will need:

Paper and drawing equipment for each of your team members. Plus you will need a copy of the pictures provided to use in the exercise.

In a nutshell:

Can your team ask the right questions in order to get a clear picture?

Getting the Message


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Demonstrates how easy it is for communication to break down and for misunderstandings to occur.

You will need:

Space for your team to wait outside the room until they are called in one at time. You'll also need a picture (two are provided in the handout in the resources tab), a flipchart and a stopwatch or phone with a timer.


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Stopwatches can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

Can your team successfully pass the right message on?

Getting to Know You


Time required:

25 minutes.

What it does:

Demonstrates how understanding one another builds rapport.

You will need:

One pack of Getting to Know You cards for every two team members. You will also need flipchart paper.

In a nutshell:

What can your team members discover that they never knew before about their colleagues? How does it affect them?

Golf Ball Challenge


Time required:

15 minutes.

What it does:

A team activity that requires everyone to work effectively together to meet a challenge.

You will need:

Each team needs two postal tubes (stoppers removed), a golf ball and a flipchart pen. You will also need plenty of clear space for the activity and a way of marking the start and finish of the race.

In a nutshell:

Who will win the race to get their golf balls over the finish line?

Handling Customers Assertively


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

What is the difference between Assertive Behaviour and more Passive or Aggressive approaches? This exercise explores those differences and gives your team a chance to share their ideas about how to deal assertively with customers.

You will need:

Each of your participants will need a copy of both handouts. The PowerPoint is designed to support your delivery of the session.

Before running this activity, review the scenarios in Handout 2 and decide what you think is the appropriate action for a member of your team to take.


In a nutshell:

Building effective working relationships with customers is a big challenge. Can your team think on their feet and identify assertive coping strategies for different situations?

Handling Internal Customers Assertively


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Explores the differences between Assertive behaviour and more Passive or Aggressive approaches when dealing with our internal customers.

You will need:

A copy of both handouts for each pair of participants. The PowerPoint is designed to support your delivery of the session.


flagBefore running this activity, review the scenarios in Handout 2 and decide what you think is the appropriate action for a member of your team to take.


In a nutshell:

Building effective working relationships with our internal customers is a big challenge. Can your team think on their feet to identify assertive coping strategies for different situations?

Handling Unhappy Customers - LACE


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

This exercise will give your team four simple steps to follow when dealing with an unhappy customer.


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This exercise works very well as a follow up to The Shoe Shop.


You will need:

Flipchart and pens.

In a nutshell:

Learn how empathy and understanding can help make handling difficult customers easier.

Miss Communication


Time required:

20 minutes.

What it does:

Demonstrates how easy it is for misunderstandings to occur even when we think we are being very clear in what we are saying.

You will need:

Plenty of post-it notes for your team members. You'll also need 10 sheets of flipchart paper, numbered between 1-10, with each sheet's number written in the top left corner.

In a nutshell:

How often do your team members hear the same word and understand something differently?

Pieland Fling - Blind Communication


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

A fun packed way to explore how we communicate, how we can develop our communication skills and how this will translate to improved job performance.

You will need:

Each pair will need a blindfold, a bowl and set of tiddlywinks, which should comprise four of each of the following colours: Red, green, blue, yellow and purple. 


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Blindfolds can be purchased from Trainers' Market.



You will need a stopwatch and a flipchart to record the scores for each of the three rounds.


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Stopwatches can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

How well will team members communicate when one of them is blindfolded? Can they learn from their mistakes and improve?

Planning a Difficult Conversation


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Demonstrates a technique for your team to use to identify when they need to tackle a difficult situation and gives them the tools to prepare to do it in an assertive manner.

You will need:

Flipchart paper and a copy of the handout for each participant.

In a nutshell:

Demonstrates the steps your team members can take in order to deal with a difficult workplace relationship effectively.

Pulling in Different Directions


Time required:

20 minutes.

What it does:

Tests your team’s ability to communicate and work together to solve a simple problem.

You will need:

An open space big enough for your team members to stand in a large circle, blindfolds for all and a length of rope big enough for all members to hold as they stand in a circle.


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Blindfolds can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

Can your team complete a simple task whilst blindfolded?

Reporting Errors


Time required:

40 minutes.

What it does:

Reviews the kind of accuracy errors that can occur and the actions that can be taken to avoid them.

You will need:

Copies of the Reporting Errors Handout for each of your team members as well as a copy of the Crib Sheet for you. A flipchart and pens will also be useful.

In a nutshell:

Can your team spot the errors in the report you have asked them to proofread?

Speak Up


Time required:

20 minutes.

What it does:

Explores what your team members believe needs to happen when there is conflict between colleagues. Does job-role play a part?


flagThis can be run as a stand-alone exercise, or as part of a session that explores how to handle difficult situations around conflict in the workplace.


You will need:

An equal number of copies of the two different briefs to share amongst your team members.

In a nutshell:

How would you advise a friend who is struggling with a workplace colleague?

Summary and Clarification - The Lunch Order


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Demonstrates the importance of using summary and clarification to check understanding.

You will need:

A Lunch Order Form for each participant and a copy of Briefs 1 and 2 for each pair.

In a nutshell:

Will participants have a clear understanding of needs and enough information to order the right lunches for their 'colleagues'?

Team Bingo


Time required:

15 minutes.

What it does:

A short team building exercise designed to encourage greater communication and understanding.

You will need:

Each team member will need one of the Team Bingo sheets from the Resources tab and a pen. You'll need a stopwatch or timer and a small prize for the winner would be nice.


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Stopwatches can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

Who can find out the most about their colleagues in five minutes?

The Verbal Shape Challenge


Time required:

20 minutes.

What it does:

Explores how challenging communication can be when relying on words alone.

You will need:

A copy of the handout from the Resources tab as well as a flipchart and coloured pens.


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Mr Sketch Scented Markers can be purchased from Trainers' Market.


In a nutshell:

How accurately will your volunteer interpret the words they hear?

Why Feedback Matters


Time required:

30 minutes.

What it does:

Demonstrates to your team the difference it can make to their performance in a role when they receive effective feedback.

You will need:

The handout provided in the Resources tab, flipchart paper and coloured pens for each team member.


flagIt is also recommend that you refer to the Feedback AID self study guide on giving feedback effectively.


In a nutshell:

Your team are all new artists in residence, drawing horses. See how they get on with their first assignment and the difference effective feedback makes.
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