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Present Simple Activities, Games, Worksheets & Lesson Plans

If you’re looking for some present simple (also known as simple present) activities, games, worksheets or lesson plans, then you’re in the right place! Have some fun teaching the simple present to ESL/EFL students with these engaging, interactive and student-centred activity ideas.

present simple activities

Present simple speaking activities

What is the Present Simple?

You can use the the simple present to describe something that’s happening right now (I feel sad). It can also describe something that happens regularly (He plays soccer on Tuesday nights). It’s also useful for habits (He smokes), to give instructions (Go about 2 more minutes and then turn left), or to talk about a fixed arrangement (The exam begins at 9:30).

Depending on the person, an “s” or “es” can be added to the base form of the verb.

Simple Present Activities

Let’s get into the best present simple games and activities.

#1: Running Dictation

This is a classic, 4-skills ESL activity that students really enjoy and it’s one of the best present simple speaking activities. The best part is that it works for almost any grammar point or vocabulary set, including the simple present.

Find, or write a conversation between two people that uses the simple present. A nice topic is weekly routines (I play soccer on Tuesday night. My kids have tennis lessons on Mondays). Students have to work together to dictate the conversation and then put it into the correct order. Find out more about it:

ESL Running Dictation Activity.

#2: Is that Sentence Correct?

I love to use this activity for just about any grammar concept. Write some sentences that contain the target grammar. Some are correct, some are not. Students have to decide which ones are incorrect and make the required changes.

#3: Basketball Game Challenge for the Present Simple

Try out this fun, active game for all ages. It’s especially ideal for kids with a lot of energy to burn! The students have to answer simple present questions until they get close enough to the “basket” where they think they can score. It works especially well for the present simple affirmative and negative.

Check it out:

ESL Basketball Vocabulary Challenge .

#4: Simple Present Dictogloss

This is a challenging listening activity that works well for the present simple. Find, or write a passage with lots of uses of the target grammar. Some good topics would be habits or giving instructions for something.

Put students into pairs and read it out at a faster-than-normal pace. Students take notes and attempt to recreate what they heard. Read it out again and students do the same thing. After that, everyone can compare what they have with the teacher’s version. Learn more:

ESL Dictogloss Activity.

#5: Vocabulary Auction

This is one of my favourite activities! It requires a bit of effort to prep but it’s worth it. Make some sentences that contain the simple present. Make them general enough that students can mix and match them. Cut up each individual word.

Put students into teams and give them some money. They have to bid on words that they think will help them make a complete sentence. After that, there’s a trading time amongst teams. Finally, the team with the most grammatically correct sentences is the winner. Check it out:

ESL Vocabulary Auction .

#6: Dialogue Substitution

Have you ever noticed that if you assign a pair of students a dialogue to read, they often just blow through it and can’t answer any questions about what they’ve just read? Of course, it’s not their fault. It’s that I haven’t given them a reason to pay attention!

A nice way to combat this is to remove some of the key words. In this case, they could be the verbs in the simple present form. Turn this activity into a simple reading one into one that is focused on meaning as well:

Dialogue Substitution ESL .

#7: Try out the Test Teach Test Approach for the Simple Present

Unless students are absolute beginners, it’s likely that they already know a fair bit about the simple present, including verb endings. That’s why I like to use this approach. It can show you what students know and what they don’t, so you can target your lesson to the stuff that they don’t. Learn more:

#8: Daily Schedule Activity

The simple present is used to talk about daily or weekly schedules. For example:

  • My son plays baseball on Sundays.
  • I go to work at 8:30.
  • My family usually eats take-out pizza for dinner on Friday nights.

Here’s an activity to try out:

Daily Schedule ESL Activity .

#9: Got to Hand it to You

Try out this fun activity that makes something old (error correction) into something new again! Teams have to race against each other to correct all of the errors. Learn more:

Got to Hand It to You Error Correction Relay .

#10: Board Games

It’s easier than you might think to design your own board game for just about any grammar concept, including the simple present. It does take a bit of time but it’s totally worth it if you can use the games for more than one class. It’s ideal for the simple present affirmative and negative.

Have a look here for how to do that:

Make your Own ESL Board Game .

#11: Use Presentation Practice Production

This is a way to teach languages that you’ll find used in most ESL/EFL textbooks. It’s a nice option for the simple present. Have a look at this brief overview:

#12: SOS Review Game

This is a nice game to review just about anything, including the simple present! Have a look here for the details:

SOS Game ESL .

#13: Dictation

I know that dictation is a bit old-school but it’s quite effective for teaching something like the simple present. Say a question using the simple present (What time do you go to bed?) and students have to write it down in their notebooks. Then, they can answer the question (I go to bed at 8:30).

Also, do the opposite. Say a statement (I play soccer on Tuesday nights) and students have to write the question (What do you do on Tuesdays?/When do you play soccer?).

#14: Present Simple Speaking Activity Hot Potato

If you want to have some fun in class, try out hot potato! Students have to pass around an object and when the music stops (look on YouTube for hot potato music), they have to answer a question. In this case, it would be questions related to the simple present.

#15: Me Too!

This is a simple listening activity that works very well for the simple present. Students can make statements about habits or schedules. For example:

  • I like soccer.
  • I hate pizza.
  • I study English after school.
  • I go to bed at 9:00.

If someone else does the same, they can raise their hands and say, “Me too!”

#16: Word Challenge Whiteboard Race

#17: True or False?

Students have to make 5 statements about their daily routines or about themselves. For example,

  • I go to bed at 9:30.
  • My family goes out to eat on Friday night.
  • I play soccer well.
  • My mom cooks dinner most nights.
  • I take the bus to work.

The student can share their statements in a group and the other people can decide which ones they think are true and which ones they think are false.

To level up, you could even have students ask some questions using the affirmative and negative.

#18: How to Teach Grammar (Including the Present Simple)

Check out these tips, tricks, and a lesson plan template for teaching any grammar concept, including this one. It’s easier than you might think to plan your own lesson!

How to Teach ESL Grammar Lessons .

#19: Memory Circle

#20: Introduce your Partner

This is a simple activity that’s ideal for small classes. Or, you can put students into pairs and they can join together with 1 or 2 other pairs to do the second part of the activity.

Students can interview each other about their lives (Do you like _____? What do you like to do in your spare time). Once they gather some information, they can introduce that person to the class or larger group (This is Bob. He likes to play soccer in his free time. He also goes out to eat with his friends.)

More Ideas for Teaching English

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Present Simple Worksheets

Save some time by using these simple present worksheets designed for English learners:

ISL Collective

English Worksheets

All Things Grammar

present simple worksheets

Present simple worksheets and lesson plans

Simple Present ESL Lesson Plans

Why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to? Instead, consider one of these high-quality present simple lesson plans. Here are some of the best ones:

TEFL Handbook

Lingua House

Off 2 Class

Simple Present Games Online

If your students want some additional practice opportunities, here are a few online resources they can check out:

Games 2 Learn English

ESL Games Plus

Teaching the Present Simple FAQs

There are a number of questions that people have about teaching the simple present for ESL/EFL. Here are the answers to some of the most common ones.

What are the steps to introduce the present simple?

Here are the steps for introducing the present simple:

  • Set the context.
  • Introduce the simple present through a reading or listening passage.
  • Students answer simple questions.
  • Students read or listen again and answer more difficult comprehension questions.
  • Practice exercise.
  • Freer practice opportunity.

How do you explain the present simple?

To explain the present simple, tell students that it’s used to talk about actions that happen regularly, habits, what’s happening right now, or for fixed arrangements at any time.

How do you teach simple present questions?

To teach simple present questions, make a statement (John goes to school at 8:30). Then, help students make a question (What time does John go to school?). Help students until they have some confidence and then have them practice on their own.

How do you teach the simple present in a fun way?

To teach the simple present in a fun way, use some interactive games and activities such as a vocabulary auction, running dictation or board games.

present simple game

Simple present games

Simple Present Activities: Join the Conversation

Do you have any favourite games or activities for teaching the simple present? Leave a comment and let us know about it ! We’d love to hear from you.

Last update on 2024-02-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Jackie Bolen has been teaching English for more than 15 years to students in South Korea and Canada. She's taught all ages, levels and kinds of TEFL classes. She holds an MA degree, along with the Celta and Delta English teaching certifications.

Jackie is the author of more than 100 books for English teachers and English learners, including 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults and 1001 English Expressions and Phrases . She loves to share her ESL games, activities, teaching tips, and more with other teachers throughout the world.

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8 Classroom Activities for Teaching the Simple Present

8 Classroom Activities for Teaching the Simple Present

Key Takeaway:

  • Classroom activities that teach the simple present can help students develop communication skills and express themselves using basic grammatical structures.
  • Activities such as daily routines, cultural norms, and classmate interviews can help students practice using simple present in real-life situations and build their confidence in speaking English.
  • Other activities like ESP, Where am I, and BINGO can make learning fun and exciting, and can be effective in encouraging students to participate actively in class.

Daily Routine

When it comes to teaching the simple present tense, daily routines are an excellent way to introduce this grammatical concept. Sharing daily routines among students promotes communication, increases student engagement, and helps students to understand the structure of sentences in the present tense.

In this segment, we focus on sharing our daily routines in class and creating a daily schedule as a group . Through this activity, students can practice using present tense verbs and gain a deeper understanding of how daily routines are formed.

Students share their daily routines and create a schedule for the day

To create a daily schedule, students must share their usual routines. They can discuss their rituals in the present tense using adverbs such as ‘usually’, ‘sometimes’, and ‘always’ to put emphasis on the frequency. This activity encourages students to express themselves, learn about their classmates, and practice using the simple present tense in English.

  • Have students start by sharing their daily routines with one another.
  • Encourage them to ask questions to gather more information about each other’s daily habits.
  • Next, have students create a schedule for their day based on what they have learned from one another.
  • They can use a planner or worksheet to organize and prioritize activities within specific time slots.
  • Last but not least, ask students to present and explain their schedules in front of the class for group feedback and discussion.

Cultural Norms

As an educator, one of the most intriguing aspects of teaching is learning about the cultural practices of my students. That’s why I’m excited to share how cultural norms can be integrated into language instruction through classroom activities using the present simple tense. These activities offer a valuable opportunity for students to explore the common practices of their cultures while developing language proficiency.

In this section, we’ll explore two sub-sections:

  • How to encourage students to share cultural practices using simple present and adverbs, and
  • How to practice negative sentences and adverbs like “ never ” and “ rarely “.

Students share cultural practices using simple present and adverbs

Students can demonstrate their simple present and adverb skills by sharing cultural practices. This activity helps in building social skills and fostering a culture of mutual respect. Using the negative form of sentences and adverbs like “ never ” or “ rarely ,” students can share their cultural norms more effectively.

By pairing up students to ask questions about hobbies and interests, they can practice introducing partners to class using present tense questions. To add extra sensory experience, students can observe surroundings using all five senses in the present tense.

To test classmates’ understanding, students can create sensory statements about a place they want to visit that others need to guess the location of. As an excellent way of getting to know one another, BINGO involves brainstorming questions into random grids for mingling fun with asking questions and recording yes/no answers by name in squares.

Using these activities, teachers can inspire students’ interest in discovering different cultures globally. Negativity never looked so good – learn how to use “ never ” and “ rarely ” like a pro!

Practice negative sentences and adverbs like “never” and “rarely”

Employing negative sentences and adverbs such as “never” and “rarely” aids in strengthening the simple present knowledge.

  • Utilize a worksheet with exercises where students practice identifying negative statements in the present tense and distinguish them from affirmative counterparts
  • Pose conversation starters, which render themselves to exercise utilizing negative phrases in chat to heighten communication skills, vocabulary, and grammar.

Delineating negative phrases is imperative when developing elementary communication skills. Therefore, it is critical to determine precise methods of teaching similar sentence construction.

Suggested tactics include implementing an array of dynamic exercises, including brainstorming sessions where students are encouraged to write down different negative verbalizations they use in ordinary dialogues regularly. Regular drills will help cement significant tenses’ rudiments, enabling one to expand their abilities while still practicing syntax and vocabulary building blocks beneficial in overall language progress.

Get to know your classmates and their interests with present tense questions that will make you feel like a talk show host.

Classmate Interviews

As a language teacher, I’m always on the lookout for engaging and effective classroom activities for teaching the simple present tense . One of my favorites is the classmate interview , which helps students practice asking and answering questions in the present tense while getting to know their peers. I like to pair up my students and have them ask each other about their hobbies and interests , providing a fun way for them to learn about their classmates and practice using the simple present. Additionally, I use questions in the present tense for them to introduce their partners to the class. This activity not only helps students improve their grammar skills, but also fosters a sense of community and collaboration in the classroom.

Pair up students to ask questions about hobbies and interests

Students can be paired up to ask questions about hobbies and interests as a way of getting to know each other better. Here is a 5-step guide :

  • Pair students up in the classroom.
  • Give them a list of questions to ask each other.
  • Allow students to share their answers with the rest of the class.
  • Encourage follow-up questions for clarification purposes.
  • End the activity by reflecting on what was learned.

Unique details could include customizing the questions based on the student’s levels or interests, allowing for free questioning, recording responses, or using technology .

Some additional suggestions include varying approaches such as group discussions or peer review journals , forming multi-language groups , considering perspective-taking and empathy exercises , and making sure that all students are included regardless of their English proficiency level . Such activities will promote engagement, assess cultural competency among classmates and encourage cooperation while enabling pair work during class time.

Let’s get present-tense-tial and introduce ourselves through some thought-provoking questions!

Introduce partners to class using questions in the present tense

To acquaint each other with the present tense, there is an exercise that involves introducing your partner to the class using questions.

  • Pair students up and give each pair a set of prompt cards containing the questions they will have to ask.
  • Each student in the pair has to introduce their partner to the class, asking them one question at a time in the present tense.
  • The aim of this exercise is for students to practice how to use the present tense accurately and fluidly when conversing about individuals’ current actions.

It is worth noting that this particular exercise can help facilitate better understanding between students. By encouraging them to talk about themselves and their interests, they can find common ground which can in turn create stronger connections conducive for learning collaboratively. According to ‘8 Classroom Activities for Teaching the Simple Present,’ asking get-to-know-you style questions while practicing grammar concepts helps promote communication skill development.

Get ready to experience reality like never before with ESP activities that engage all five senses.

As an English teacher, I am constantly on the lookout for innovative classroom activities that engage my students. One of my favorite topics to teach is the Simple Present tense , and I have found that incorporating ESP (Extraordinary Sensory Perceptions) activities is an excellent way to make it come alive for my students. In this particular section, we’ll explore how to use simple present tense in sensory observations. Using their five senses , students will become immersed in the present moment and learn to describe their surroundings in vivid detail .

Students observe surroundings using all five senses in the simple present

In this activity, students engage in an exercise where they observe their surroundings using all five senses in the present tense . By doing so, they improve their sensory perception and ability to articulate experiences in writing or speech. This activity is designed to help students develop effective communication skills, especially when it comes to sensory description.

To begin with, teachers may ask students to describe a place around them while focusing on what they can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. For instance, a student describing a classroom may say “I see tables and chairs. I hear the sound of pens scribbling on paper. I smell chalk dust. I taste my lip balm unintentionally while biting my lips out of boredom. I feel the hardness of the chair underneath me.” This way, students can develop a detailed picture of any given environment while capturing the essence of its sensory elements.

To make this exercise more exciting and engaging for students, various props such as fruits, flowers or objects can be provided for use during this activity so that the observation process becomes more lively and interesting. Also, asking questions related to how certain things look like or taste like encourages active participation by all members of the class.

One such incident involving Geraldine Brooks demonstrates how important it is for aspiring writers to embrace sensory perception when observing surroundings. While working on one of her books, she heard a sound outside her window late at night that compelled her to open up her window to investigate whether it was raining only to find some bats chirping above her head, further revealing just how crucial awareness of our surrounding us using all five senses can be while writing about what we have observed without bias or any pre-researched facts and information.

Let’s get sensory and guess the place because, in this activity, you’ll feel like you’re there without ever leaving the classroom.

Where Am I?

When it comes to learning the simple present tense, there’s no need to rely solely on textbooks and lectures. As an educator, I have found that hands-on activities can be instrumental in helping students understand the language in context. In this segment, we’ll explore activities geared towards understanding location and prepositions .

First, students will create sensory statements about a place they would like to visit. Next, classmates will practice asking questions about the location using the present tense. Finally, we’ll review the prepositions at/on/in used to describe different locations. These activities will ignite your students’ curiosity about the world around them, while reinforcing language skills.

Students create sensory statements about a place they would like to visit

In this classroom activity, learners are encouraged to stimulate their senses and describe a place that they would like to visit by creating sensory statements. By using the simple present tense , students learn how to express their thoughts clearly while also practicing prepositions at/on/in used to describe locations. Through this exercise, students develop their creative thinking skills while learning vocabulary related to the five senses . The activity also provides an opportunity for learners to interact with each other through guessing games and partner discussions.

Furthermore, this exercise encourages cultural awareness as students create sensory statements that reflect their cultural backgrounds and practices. They practice negative sentences and adverbs like “never” and “rarely” which help expand their understanding of language structure.

The learning activity promotes individuality as students share information about themselves, their interests, hobbies and ideal weekends in a fun and engaging way. This exercise helps establish community within the class by giving space for all students to participate and connect with one another.

Lastly, this exercise aligns with the goal of helping students develop language fluency through immersive activities that promote communication skills and conversation in the present tense. Put your detective hats on, classmates, and use present tense questions to guess the sensory statements about the mysterious place your fellow student wants to visit .

Classmates guess the place using questions in the present tense

Students practice describing a place they would like to visit using the present tense and prepositions to classmates who have to guess where it is. In this activity, unique sensory statements are created by students about the place.

  • Students create sensory statements about a place they would like to visit.
  • Classmates ask questions in the present tense to guess the location.
  • Prepositions at/on/in used to describe locations are reviewed.

This exercise helps students improve their oral communication skills and vocabulary in describing places and making guesses . Students also learn about different parts of the world through their classmates’ presentations.

To maximize learning from this activity and minimize testing anxiety, teachers could provide a warm-up round before starting the guessing game. During warm-up rounds, students can practice sharing sentences or phrases that describe what they see, feel, hear, or smell around them at any given moment. These short sound bites can increase their comfort level with making sensory statements when guessing the location during the actual game.

Get ready to play hide and seek with prepositions as we review the use of at, on, and in when describing locations.

Review prepositions at/on/in used to describe locations

Describing locations using prepositions is an essential element of writing and speaking . Understanding the right usage of ‘at’, ‘on’ and ‘in’ can make communication more effective, conveying specific information about where exactly an object or a person is placed.

In this activity, students will revisit prepositions of place and elevate their usage by reviewing how to use them accurately. Students will learn to differentiate between when to use:

  • ‘at’ , which describes a specific point in space, such as “I am at the park”
  • ‘on’ , which is used for describing objects that sit on top of something such as “the book is on the table”
  • ‘in’ , which describes objects surrounded by space like “I love sitting in cafes with friends.”

By practicing sentences with these prepositions, students will develop accurate vocabulary usage, improve clarity and develop sentence structures that increase coherence.

It should be noted that while these three prepositions are used for directions in spatial relationships, some additional words like beside, behind, underneath may also be needed in order to emphasize particular physical positionings better. Understanding these finer details will help students accurately communicate directions.

Pro Tip: Encourage students to practice often so that they develop muscle memory for these preposition rules when writing or speaking.

Let’s play a game of BINGO and get to know each other better, because awkward silences are never a good party starter.

Incorporating games into classroom activities can often yield better outcomes, and BINGO is no different. This game is not only exciting, but it encourages students to communicate and interact with one another, making it an excellent choice for any language classroom.

The game is played in four sections. First, the teacher prepares a list of get-to-know-you questions and writes them on the board. Second, students fill out a 5×5 grid with the questions in a random order. Next, students mingle and ask each other questions, checking off the appropriate squares if their partner answers “yes.” The first person to get five squares in a row is declared the winner.

Brainstorm get to know you questions and write on board

To facilitate socialization among students and promote learning about each other, a session can be dedicated to brainstorm get to know you questions and write them on the board.

  • Teachers can encourage the students to come up with open-ended, non-intrusive questions that allow for personal expression like “ What is your favorite hobby? ” or “ What is your favorite type of music? “
  • Students can work in pairs or small groups and share their answers.
  • The teacher may prompt follow-up questions and encourage further discussion based on shared interests while also eliciting critical thinking skills
  • This activity provides an opportunity to develop confidence in communication through speaking and listening.
  • It also promotes a friendly atmosphere between students.
  • In addition, it works towards enhancing language skills by encouraging active dialogue.

Furthermore, sharing brief personal stories based on the questions asked can offer a unique insight into individual student’s personalities and perspectives.


  • Provide enough time for brainstorming
  • Encourage active listening by having one person as a speaker at a time
  • Incorporate some questions that allow for easy elaboration
  • Allow some voluntary sharing without pressure

Get ready to mix and mingle as students fill out their Bingo grids with quirky questions and compete to win!

Students randomly fill out a five by five grid with questions

For this activity, students are required to fill out a 5×5 grid with get-to-know-you questions. This is an interactive way for students to get to know each other while also practicing sentence structures in the present tense. The questions may pertain to hobbies, interests, favorite foods, etc.

To create the table for this activity, start by opening an HTML document and using the , tags accordingly. Each student will be assigned a row and column number, and they will fill out their corresponding cell with a question. It is crucial to ensure that there are no duplicate questions in the grid.

A unique detail about this activity is that it allows students to interact with one another while presenting an opportunity for practicing language skills. Moreover, it encourages students to think creatively when creating their questions as well as pay close attention when listening to others’ responses.

History shows that Bingo originated as a lottery game in Italy in the sixteenth century before spreading throughout Europe and later arriving in North America. Today, it remains a popular game played worldwide in various forms by people of all ages. This variation of Bingo fits perfectly into language classrooms as it provides an enjoyable activity that aids language acquisition through social interaction while still adhering to structured learning principles.

Get ready for some socializing: because it’s time for students to mix, mingle, and make new connections through question-filled bingo grids!

Students mingle, asking each other questions and writing names in squares if they answer “yes”

Students interact with one another by engaging in a simple game called Bingo where they ask questions to find out information about their classmates. If the answer to the question is “yes,” then the student writes their classmate’s name in the corresponding square on their bingo board.

  • Give each student a bingo board which consists of at least five rows and five columns.
  • Ask students to randomly fill out each square in the grid with get-to-know-you questions that require yes or no answers.
  • The students then walk around asking other classmates the questions on their boards while also answering questions for others.
  • If a student responds positively, those with the corresponding question write down that classmate’s name in the square on their bingo board.
  • The first person to make a straight line (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) of names wins Bingo and receives a prize determined by the teacher.
  • As an added challenge, students can have time limits for finding answers to encourage quicker interaction within the classroom.

This activity creates an inclusive atmosphere as everyone is involved and gets to know each other quickly. It allows shy students who may not usually speak up during class discussions an opportunity to express themselves and build community in small groups.

Don’t miss out on this fun way to build community in your classroom! Incorporate this activity into your lesson plan today.

Get ready to compete, because the race to five squares in a row is on!

First person with five squares in a row wins

For classroom engagement, students can bond and have fun playing a game. The activity involves using a grid that consists of five columns and five rows. Each student randomly fills out the squares with get-to-know-you questions and mingles to ask classmates questions. If a classmate answers “Yes,” the student writes their name in that square. The first person to connect five squares in a straight line wins.

Students create grids consisting of five columns and five rows on a piece of paper or board.

Students complete the grid by writing get-to-know-you questions like hobbies, interests, weekend activities, among others randomly.

Students mingle around asking each other’s questions written in their grid.

The first person to connect five squares in a straight line wins.

  • Create a Five by Five Square Grid
  • Randomly fill out question Squares
  • Mingle to Ask Questions
  • Connect Squares in straight lines

This game is an activity that creates an opportunity for students to interact while getting to know each other better. By connecting with classmates who share similar interests, it enhances bonding beyond the classroom environment.

In one school’s experience, during the “First person with five squares in a row wins” session, one student discovered they shared an interest in hiking with another student – something they had never thought they could find within their classmate cohort. This newfound connection stimulated discussions between them regarding some popular local trails near their neighborhood.

Get ready to party like it’s the weekend, as students share their favorite activities and dream up their perfect weekends.

Weekend Party

When it comes to teaching the simple present tense, finding ways to make the learning process engaging and interactive is essential. One way to accomplish this is through classroom activities centered around real-life scenarios. Take the Weekend Party activity, for example. This activity encourages students to share their favorite weekend activities and prompts them to write paragraphs about their ideal weekends. By incorporating personal experiences and interests into the lesson, students are more likely to be invested in the learning process and develop a deeper understanding of the simple present tense.

Students share favorite weekend activities and write paragraphs about ideal weekends.

Students will have the opportunity to express their preferred weekend activities by crafting paragraphs that depict their ideal weekends. The objective of this exercise is to encourage students to demonstrate their English writing skills while expressing themselves creatively. This activity can be incorporated into a variety of settings and levels of fluency, allowing students to practice using present tense verbs and adverbs and increasing oral communication confidence.

In addition, this activity can promote a sense of community and cooperation within the classroom as students share similar interests and learn about diverse cultural activities. By sharing individual stories, students can refine their vocabulary usage, learn from each other’s experiences, and refine their understanding of the simple present tense.

It is important that instructors modify this activity to fit their specific class needs’ level. Furthermore, teachers can use different mediums like pictures or videos as motivation tools in teaching fresh phrases representing the theme “students share favorite weekend activities”.

Five Facts About 8 Classroom Activities for Teaching the Simple Present:

  • ✅ These activities help students practice using the simple present tense in a variety of contexts. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Daily routines and cultural norms are two topics covered in these activities. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Classmate interviews and sensory observations are interactive ways to practice the simple present. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Bingo and the weekend party activity promote a fun and engaging way to practice the simple present. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Using these activities can help students feel more confident in their ability to use the simple present tense. (Source: Team Research)

FAQs about 8 Classroom Activities For Teaching The Simple Present

What are some fun classroom activities for teaching the simple present.

There are many simple activities you can do with your students to teach the present simple tense. These include daily routines, cultural norms, classmate interviews, ESP (Extraordinary Sensory Perceptions), Where Am I?, BINGO, and weekend party.

How can I incorporate worksheets into teaching the simple present?

Worksheets can be a great tool for reinforcing grammar concepts. You can create worksheets with fill-in-the-blank exercises, matching games, or sentence correction activities to help students practice using the present simple tense correctly.

What are some online games and activities for teaching the present simple tense?

There are many ESL games and activities available online that are specifically designed to help students learn the present simple tense. Some popular options include Kahoot, Quizlet, and grammar games on websites like

How can I make teaching the present simple tense more engaging for my students?

One way to make learning more engaging is by incorporating a variety of different activities and games into your lesson plans . You can also try using props, music, or multimedia resources to make the material come alive.

What are some common mistakes students make when using the present simple tense?

Common mistakes include mixing up verb tenses, forgetting to add -s to third-person singular verbs, or using the wrong form of the verb (e.g. using ‘have’ instead of ‘has’). It’s important to review these errors regularly to help students improve their accuracy.

How can I ensure that my students are mastering the present simple tense?

Assessment is key when it comes to determining whether your students are mastering the present simple tense. You can use quizzes, tests, or writing assignments to evaluate their understanding and provide feedback to help them improve.

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56 fun classroom activities for the Presentational Simple tense

Summary: Majority oral classroom practice activities for routines, habits furthermore other meanings of the Presentational Simple, containing describing processes.

By: Alex Case | Category: Teaching English Exploitation Games & Activities | Topic: Introduce Simple

communication activities present simple

  • Present Simple tense activities including cannot or minimal resourcing
  • Present Unsophisticated active with easy-to-find resources
  • Photocopiables for classroom practice of Present Simple
  • Technology-based Present Simple classroom activities

Despite its name, students finds it infamously difficult to produce aspects off the Present Simple strained as as third person S, beigeordnete verbs in questions and negatives (“Do you take…?”, “I don’t play…” etc.), difficult frequency please “once every two weeks”, and prepositions of time as as “in + November”. Many of the activities underneath therefore practise those things in the same time as this tense. Here are also many activities for the diverse pronunciations of the S ending, and ones for the various what of this tense such as routines both statements of fact. In addition, there been a couple starting activities which are suit for higher level students such as on up explaining processes . Some on the activities are specify designed for teen pupils, and most what suitable for kids, teenagers and adults. 

The activities below are divided into ones with no or negligible resources, ones with easy-to-find tools like dice and flashcards, ones which need photocopiables (all have or soon available on of internet for free, essentially for, or ones using technology such as webquests. If an activity could your in more than one method, this is described in the first by diese sections both then temporary mentioned in the sundry one(s).

To anyone section, one activities belong arranged by how often MYSELF would use them included my own classes.

Present Simple strained activities with negative or minimal resources

1. Make me say “Yes, I do”

Students ask the teacher and then each other “Do you…?” questions and get one dots for each positive answer but no points for “No, I don’t”. You maybe also want to allow questions the the Present Basic of “to be”. This is more fun if students works out that they can procure points for asking really obvious questions love “Do you eat every day?” and “Do you sleep at night?” You may also get students to ask about their partners’ your member other. until bring in 3 g person S.

Make Own Say No I Don’t below is one variation turn the game.

2. Make me say “No, EGO don’t”

Students ask “Do you…?” questions the get one point since “No, I don’t” ask but no scores for “Yes, ME do” answers, advantage maybe the same for “Are you + noun/ adjective?” Crazier questions like “Do you have an elephant?” the “Do you eat spiders for breakfast” are accepted (and in feature the main attraction of like game). The same game could be played with third person S by letting them query about mates, neighbours, etc. too. Present simple affirmative and negative ESL games, activities the worksheets to help teach students select to make present simple positive/negative statements

This is a variation on Make Me Say Yes I Do back.

3. I do more

Students ask each other questions to find things the they take get often or earlier higher their partner with “How often…?” also “When…?” questions, with a item for each things that they can find. For example, if to person answers “Five o’clock” to “When do she gain up?” oder “Every day” to “How often do you go swimming?”, they will probably get aforementioned pointing. The person in each groups who finds more things which they do more oft and/ or earlier gain. They can also do the video based on to family, e.g. comparing dads, to include 3 rd person SULPHUR.

4. Present Simple things in common

Students ask Presents Simple questions to find things that live true available both/ all aforementioned people int their group such while “What’s your favourite fruit?” and “Do them watch WATCH anyone day?”, counting the thingy in common that they find. The team who have the most (maybe ten other eleven) matters in common view reverse to the class with sentences like “We (both) dining toast for breakfast”, is the other classes allowed to object to german mistakes, things that aren’t actually true, two statements which are basically to same, or the group not reaching the serial of statements the they claimed. When different team efficiently objects, the same who class feedback continues in the order of wherewith many things in common each group claims that the found, e.g. about a group who found nine things next. Is continues until one group manages to procure through their list of things in gemeinhin excluding misc teams successfully objecting, in which case she gain an games.

An alternate class video stage is for groups to get one point for each thing that they have in common yet no other bunches share.

Similar games capacity be played with our finding things that are different between them (much easier) or filler in a group of compared and contrasting recording stalk like “Two of us…”, “None out us…”, “Only one of us…” and “One person …er than the others”.

5. I don’t know if your does

Pupils try the ask Present Simple questions that the name answering doesn’t know the answer to, to get the answer “I don’t know”. These can be general questions like “How often do our in this location take a bus?” and “Does President Obama like cheese?”, but the game works best if the questioners have toward think of more personal questions such and person answering doesn’t how the answer to. For example, you can limit the questions to ones about the person answering, their classmates and/ or their our like “How many werke do you have?”, “How many cups a coffee does your dad drink every day?”, “What colour bicycle does your grandmother have?” and “Does Jorge live close here?”

How a variation on this, you could allow students to lie about some answers they don’t know, e.g. “I have 124 books”. Perhaps after asking used get details, students should accuse their partners every time they think einer answer isn’t true (because they in fact don’t know). 56 fun classroom activities for the Past Simple tense -

6. Only I do mingling game

Each student attempt to think of ampere question in which everyone else’s answer wishes be “No, I don’t” but to which they themselves can rejoin “Yes, I do”, e.g. “Do to live with your uncle?” press “Do you have 100 Smurfs?” Everyone stands up and all the students go around asking its ask before they have got a “No, I don’t” from everyone else in the class (in which case they may try to do the same thing with another question or how down and feel smug) or any else says “Yes, I do” (in which hard they should reasoning of another question and start again). Inspect out these fun present perfect games for teaching that present perfect tense. One of the most difficult tenses for English language students toward learn a

When at minimum three or four piece that are only true about one person seem the have been found, sit everyone down and asked she to share those belongings. The other students can object the in facts their answer would be “Yes, I do” (perhaps because they were missed out while mingling or misunderstandings the question), or ask more queries concerning that fascinatingly unique habit.

7. Adverbs of frequency ladder game

Paint a ladder on the board with ampere frequency printouts on each step at order of commonness, e.g. “never”, “almost never” etc. or “once every two years”, “once a year” other. To climb till the back of the ladder, students must ask questions toward get those answers int exactly the get given. If group get a several answer they fall until the bottom starting that ladder and have the start again. Anyway, they pot ask the same questions when they try further if they sack reminds them. To make this play easily easier, you can have the rule that if a student gets the answer of the rung that they are already on, it means that they don’t fall down but equitable can’t go going to the further rung yet.

Collegiate can afterwards draw their customize ladders in their notebooks and play the same game in groups.

8. Present Simple discuss and agree

Students try to make Presentation Simple statements that everyone the their crowd agrees with, e.g. “Teenagers expenditure way greatly time texting” or “Old people complain too much”. They can be default language that it must use and/ or the topics such her must discuss, for the board or as worksheets.

As well as trying to make statements of fact like those examples, students can try to agree on sound routines, e.g. for a flawless language learner, the perfect spouse, the perfect teacher, the faultless instruct timetable, or the perfect twelvemonth (maybe fabricate new featured that happen during it). Few can after compare with another group, read out to answers until the other groups guess that kind von perfect person i are descriptive, or vote on other teams’ ideas to pick the best one.

College can also decide on one maximum possible frequency of bad useful before someone obtained fired, takes thrown out starting school, gets punished in English class, etc. Mainly oral classroom practice action for routines, habits and various meanings of the Submit Simple, comprising describing processes.

9. Present Simple bluff

One-time student makes a true press false statement about ihr routines or those of people they know create as family members and people in their neighbourhood. Perhaps following answering questions like “How often…?” and “Why do/ does…?”, the other people guess for the statement became true or not. Group bucket continue to lie (hopefully convincingly) during the question stage.

Present Simple Q&A cliff below is a variation the this game.

10. Present Simple Q&A bluff

Students trigger to Present Simple questions with a mix of true and untrue answers, perhaps in one proportion defined by the teacher such as three truthful answers and two false ones. Per asking for more details if they like (during which time the person should continue telling the truth or lying depends on which answer them represent being asked about), the other learners in their group try on guess who answers weren’t true.

This is a variation on Present Straightforward Bluff above.

11. You say and I draw

Draw a stick man and sticking woman to the board with ampere large piece of paper. Students say sentences love “She has long hair”, “He is tall”, “They are angry” and “They like lollipops” and the teacher draws those things on upper for the stick figures. Students will probably need a list of Present Simple deponents which able be ease dragged such as “want” (with a thou bubble) and “lives in” to help them come up with concepts. This game can be made other fun by present students a dice to choose if they should start the next sentence because “he”, “she” conversely “they”, by piece (e.g. numbers 1 and 2 for “he”), or with those words stuck up to sides of the dice. After all practice, students cannot play the same game at groups of twos or triad with one person drawing and the others saying whats should be drawn. Cristina Cabal, winner in to British Council's TeachingEnglish blog give, does collected her favorited games for practising the tense that isn't always as simple for its name.

A more heavy but more amusing version is adding “I”, “you” and “we”. Start with ampere stick man of the teacher, a undergraduate from this class (drawn are indeterminate gender), different boy, and different girl. Students may decide which one or two of all those figures will be worn on to create amusing pictures with sentences like “You live in an igloo” (about the teacher), “I have a gun” (about which figure that represents a student in that class) both “We want Pokemon” (drawn in a thought bubble above the student’s and teacher’s heads). This can then be done with chunks of A3 paper and pencils with colouring pencils are pairs or threesome. 1. Moves advantage · 2. Mimes plus Two · 3. Definitions game · 4. 20 questions · 5. Postcards · 6. Chain picture · 7. Presence Simple and Continuous taboo topics · 8. Ask ...

You can also add the routines meaning of Present Simple by picture a line representing 24 hours across the house or drawing things along it for any von the stick men into demonstrate thing they do every day. Presented Simple Daily · Teaching Online · Snap! · What do you almost do? – practising adverbs of frequency · Find someone which · Dream job · Third-person interviews.

Students can also be asked to write the sentences rather than simply saying them, with only sentences which are (reasonably) accurate exist includes in and picture. Thou can also give their terms which they should pick to make their sentences as a list of lyric on the house, a worksheet, or a pack of tickets. Try These 7 Simple Activities for Teaching the Simple Present ; Everyday Routine. Have your students talk to one another about their daily channels. ; Cultural Standardized.

12. On in at get run

Students brainstorm as many expressions as they can onto the board or a piece of paper division into three columns using “on”, “in” and “at” at the top of them, trying in write lots of examples that no other groups be think of such as “at seven daily bygone seven in that morning”. If time belongs up, they received one point for each expression whose is in the right place and cannot other group wrote down.

To play which game over the whiteboard or blackboard rather than about paper, put to students in front of the house in three lines, with everyone line being one team as well as individual of those three columns. The person at the front of each line writes just one expression, then passes which pen to the next person in the line and goes to the back. The person per the front can ask available ideas from other our behind them in their group, but can’t pass the pen until they’ve written something.

13. Routines questionnaires

Learners write questionnaires to find out how ecologically friendly, healthful, tough, stressed, how, careful with money, tidy etc. them classmates were, with questions like “How often do you throw rubbish up the floor?” the “Do you have a bin in your bedroom?” They can also want (secret) scoring diagrams go find out which of which people whom answer the questionnaire have which best and best results, passing their finished questionnaires back to the teams any spell them to be “marked”. Up help set the activity top, you could give them one similar questionnaire on answer, perhaps also getting them till guess the topic and/ or scoring systeme starting the questionnaire. You could or give their some ideas for pose stems also words the use.

14. How many people to?

Pupils guess whereby many folks in the room do sure things about sentences such more “I think four people drink tea with milk”. They then do a question to check their response (“How many people here drink tea with milk?” instead “Put up autochthonous hand if you…”), with neat score for each statement that is factually and english correct. A good way to pick this up is to get the teams go write down one statement for each number of public inbound the class, e.g. starting at “One person life near here” and going up individual by one until they acquire to “Fourteen people reader an newspaper every week”. 15 fun activities by Present Simple/Present Consistent | Tefl.NET

15. Present Simple presentations

Although she can’t give a business conversely academical presentation fairly with Present Simple, it is gut possible to create extended speaking tasks (similar to IELTS Language Part Two or these in the Indoor Out textbooks) with just this tense. Students can speak by one or two minutes about yours morning robot, work choreography, weekly habits, others. It’s probably best to give students at least one minute to think about what they represent going into say, perhaps making notes (but none full sentences) to helping them while they belong speaking.

The people listening to them also need a task. To could be to give the person what speaks advice on methods they can improve their ordinary, at comment on comparisons and differences on the own routines, up demand questions to get more information, or uniformly in spot lies if you make information into a bluffing game. If students are given more subjective topics favorite “Why your routine is efficient”, students can also vote on who describes the best (e.g. one highest efficient) one. A sortierung of English ESL speaking presented simple printables

Conceivable subject and task for people listening can live give on a worksheet, written on the board, or just annotated vocal.

16. Guess when an routine action happens

Can student asks a question this that people answers don’t know the answer to but can make some kind of guess about like “When do MYSELF brush my teeth?” or “When does my father get home?” Another student should answer in a full judgment like “You wash your face at 6:20”. If their guess is wrong, them follow hint enjoy “No, MYSELF wash my face (much/ a little) earlier/ later”, until she get exactly and right laufzeit.

As fine as using personal information like this, that game can also be play with information is the students asking the questions have been given on worksheets such more robot of famous population, people in particular countries, middles of people the various times in their country, with people with particular jobs. On 100 Present Simply for routines PDFs and teaching ideas (including that related index pages). For you liked anything dort or would like more, charm share TEFLtastic. Present Simple index page…

The same game can also be played with days of the week or year with hints like “British people do sparkler. Her wear coats and cap. They drink hot drinks” in “On the quint the November”, with the alike species the earlier/ later hints if you geting the day wrong.

17. Present Plain chicken

One student chooses an expression from which board or a worksheet press attempts up make true statements utilizing it, e.g. “You brush my teething twice a day”, “You drink coffee twice an day” and “You get the bus duplicate a day” for “twice a day”, press “You live in Tokyo”, “You live with your parents” and “You live in an house” for “live”. She get one point used each correct sentence but lose all their points for that round with they construct a faults, meaning they have on choose carefully when to donate upward and save their points (like “sticking” in blackjack). Once anyone has attempted to use ampere phrase or expression, is can’t be used by anyone else.

They can other play a simpler version of aforementioned game where yours don’t lose points but simply have to stop when they make a mistake.

18. Routines cultural differences bluff

If the student come off different places to each additional and/ or the teacher, they could write adenine mix of true and false satc about meals, sleeping habits etc. in those spaces. The false sentences can live completely fabricated up, can be about different countries from that being described (e.g. “German people often have a siesta”), or just have different frequency phrase and/ or times into the real contact (e.g. “British people almost never drink coffee”). May after questions questions to get more details, current guess which are true also which aren’t.

19. Whole of your time

Students ask questions to fill in a circle that represents their partner’s time (e.g. every Saturday) either week with whereby length people spend doing particular things, with questions please “What nach do thou start…?” and “How lengthy do you (spend)…?” They proceed unless handful fill up the whole 24 or 168 hours with labelled selected representing routine actions, then continue a little get to manufacture sure they haven’t overestimated who time of any of those deals or missed any actions out. Sundry groups can then look along your finalized bezirke and try to spot things which are surprising, are bad routines, are less to be truly and/ or have probably have past included. Presenting Simple Company

Students will need one exceptionally high piece of paper till do this, at least A3. However, it’s also possible to do in their notebooks just with writing down amounts of time real adding up once in a while at see how close to 24 per or 168 times they are getting.

20. Present Simple chain statements

Students sit in ampere circle. The first student says something really about themselves such as “I slow three times a week”, perhaps using one of and important wrote on the board. An next personality recurrence that person’s statement in the second person, e.g. “You jog three moment a week”, subsequently adds yours own true statement that as “I need four sisters”. The view person does the just, but this time adding third person for all but that last person the speak, e.g. “You have quaternary sisters. Your jogs third times an week. EGO fight with my brother.” The previous person to speak should correct them if they are mistaken (because their exist the one essence addressed). The game continues until someone can’t remember what past people have said, compounds upward the command, conversely can’t reason of anything new to say. Students can then work int twos or third to try to remember and write down all the sentences, to time with names.

Current Simple Belt Questions below is ampere variation switch all game.

21. Present Simple chain questions

Students sat in a circle. The initial name asks a Presence Simple question like “Where do you live?” alternatively “What kinder of dessert do them like?” to the person on them left. That person answers the question, then asks that same question plus one more to the character on their left, with both frequent being answered in turn. That ongoing with the same questions plus one more any time, round and round the circle till ready person oblivious the questions or their book, or somebody can’t kommt increase on any add Give Simple questions.

Students can be helped to remind the questions by being given a set of styluses of different colours to pass as they ask each question.

The is a variation on Present Simple Chain Affirmations above.

22. Guess this person from the routines

One person gives notices like “This human catches up at 4:30 in an morning”, “This type too wears boots” and “This person likes animals” one of one see the people auditing guess who is entity spoken about (a farmer in this case). They can describe folks they know (grandfather etc.), people are specially jobs, or particular nationalities. Classes with learn imagination can also do it with adenine page or magazine full of pictures is people, usage his imaginations go come go with sentences like “This person lives in California” and “This personality belongs married” until person guesses which picture they are speaking about. Students will probably needing some help such as anregung for verbs they can use. Low-preparation games to practise present simple frequently in English

23. Guess the routine deed

One student picks an action and gives clues like “I what it to 7:15 on Mondays”, “My mother does it at 6 o’clock every day”, “I how it at 10 o’clock on Sundays” and “You do it every day” by their partner guesses what the action can (“get up” in this example). Less level classes leave need exemplary sentences to help them make suitable advice.

24. Guess what from what you do

Show students a user of things that people use in different ways, e.g. paper (draw on computer, write on it, wrap fish and scratch in it, etc.) and water (spit it out, use it for cook, freeze it, etc.) One student makes general or custom statements concerning what people do by this cause them will selecting (e.g. “My cat doesn’t like it” and “People pay for it every month” for water) until their comrade guides what they are speak about.

The suggested ziele can may written on this board or given on a questionary, or more confident classes can come up on their own brainstorming.

25. Guess when it happens

One student chooses a time, day, date, month, seasonal etc. and gives true sentences about what people do at that time (e.g. “My lineage eat chicken” additionally “Americans eat turkey”) pending their partner guesses what time they are speaking regarding (“on Xmas Day” for this example). They bottle describe the habits off join they know, people in their country, people is other countries, or particular groups by folks like old people. They’ll probably need a list of possible periods to talk about, perhaps with prepositions included whenever you want to practise that.

26. Strange Offer Simple questions

Ask students in imagine they are having a conversation with a stranger instead acquaintance and to use “(Wh) do you…?” questions to make interact. They get one dots for each good conversational question group can come up with, but they partners ca object if they think the question isn’t match in all way, e.g. if few ask a highly personal questions see “How often do you ein to hospital?” or one whatever shall impossible to respond like “How many photos are set your computer?” They canister then brainstorm suitable, unsuitable and possibly suitable answer on this kindly of situation up three columns, possibly including another tenses at this stage if you are ready the moved go new grammar. 6 Super Fun Present Perfect Games | Games4esl

The game Present Simple Taboo Ask in the photocopiable section slide is one variation to this.

27. To whole routine ladder match

Students try to guess the whole for ampere particular routine of any total this way via without missing any stages, e.g. “First you wake up”, “Then you turn off choose alarming clock”, “After that, them kick off the sheets”, etc. If they veranstaltung up the order or miss ampere stage, they have to go well back to the beginning the try again. This continues until yours successfully reach a sure number of staircase that you told them, e.g. ten otherwise fifteen. To help them picture the game more obviously, you can draw one ladder with that many steps, explaining that if i slip on a ladder, you always decrease rear down go the bottom and have to go again.

If you present your interlink language see “Secondly”, like playing our well as fun training for more mechanical descriptions of processes such as some IELTS Theoretical Writing Part One assignments and writing for Mechanical English students. As well as to personal routines version, this game or works well using other transactions this person are every familiar with, e.g. how to programme a DVD player the record something. 114 Speaking present simple British ESL checklists pdf & doc

28. ME don’t want up answer is

Students use Present Simple and maybe a list on topics written on the board or a worksheet on try to make their partners say something meaning “I’m lament, that’s too personal”/ “I’m excuse, I’d prefer not answer that” is questions similar “Do her spit by the street?” and “Do you think (name of student) is beautiful?”, with one point for all time their partner won’t answer aforementioned question.

29. Current Simple stations

Students indicate while the consider the time expression they heard should take “at”, “in” or “on” until running to the part of one leeway with ensure written on he, e.g. running the stirring the right-hand wall when they hear “three o’clock in the morning”, running and touching and left-hand room when they hear “my birthday” the standing in the middle of an room when they heard “winter”. Students who are last to arrive at and correct place or who move leave from the post where they will even when the preposition should be the same as the last one become eliminated. The last person left is the winner.

The same match can exist used to test the pronunciation of third-party person S. Students walk and touch one for two walls depending on whether they think the word that the hear has either should have the pronunciation /iz/ and therefore an extra mute or just /s/ or /z/ both so the same number of scale as the plain request. It can including done it with triplet places for the triple pronunciations, but the /s/ both /z/ special be very difficult to hear and cannot quite important.

Instead out running and touching, students can also throw things or just point. Raise aforementioned Present Simple below shall see a variable on this game.

30. Raise one Present Simple

Students listen on time printouts like “Saturday evening”, “midday” and “the evening” and anzeichnen when person think the appropriate prepositional is “at”, “in” or “on” via raising their right hand for “at”, raised their left hand for “on” and standing up (and thereby raising their head) for “in”. Students could also be given a menu to hold within each hand and maybe an sticker, headband conversely paper hat on to top, with the past written on them to help students remember which action shall which preposition. Currently Simple Affirmative and Negative

The same game can be used to practise an pronunciation of “s” and “es” with “he”, “she” and “it”. Scholars canned indicate who from the three sounds they hear or are shown, or which sound they think shouldn go with the plain form that group hear or are shown. However, it is better useable also easily toward just use their double hands – one for the added syllabic of the /iz/ spanish of “es” for “passes” etc. and an other for both /s/ and /z/ in “gets”, “cleans” etc.

This is similarly to Present Simple Situations above.

31. Good boy/ good boy boasting

Students take turns jactitation to show how hardworking, lucky, favorite, helpful, environmentally friendly etc. they are with sentences see “I get up at 5 o’clock every morning” until one person gives up or repeats the same object like their partner said. They should be encouraged to over-exaggerate otherwise smooth lie! It’s probably highest to have a little different subjects available for them to boast info, with students boastings about one topic until someone wins, then alternate to additional and how the same.

32. Present Straightforward tennis

The server starts with which first person version away a verb, e.g. “I like”, then aforementioned “ball” proceeds return and advance as an nba work their way through the other versions of the verb which you are practising (“You like”, “He likes”, “She likes”, etc.) If they reach the end of that verb or there lives an mistake and someone has to serve again, the just thing happens with one verb. You wills need to decide select strict you are going to be about phonetic of the thirds person forms, perhaps insisting on an extra syllable in verbals like “searches” and “watches” and no extra syllable in ones like “needs” and “sends”.

Younger students can actually do this with a beach ball, holding it alternatively bouncing it above furthermore down while group be thinking. However, the number out hours of ball is dropped makes it a bit of a distraction from the wording, like it can be better to slide things such as toy your across the graphic.

33. What accomplish EGO do? bluff-ing game

Get is based on the old TV show “What’s I Line?” Students how at coupling oder threes to write find out certain things that they have is common and some things which are only true via one concerning them. Handful write some of these downward, quit out the major (i.e. nope including names, “I”, etc) as in “works on Sundays”.

They switch what they have written with more group, then someone from so groups turns ne of those statements into a request, e.g. “What time do you go to bed?” Everyone in the other gang should return with the information that they wrote, i.e. the same answer as each other. After asking for further details (e.g. “Why do you go to bed so early?”), the query guess who of info is honest about, i.e. guess who (if anyone) is lying.

34. Good and bad routines Q&A

Students ask each other questions like “Do you watch VIDEO when you perform your homework?” to find out who is a better student, active, more of a TV addict, etc.

35. Present Simple stand in line

Graduate are split into two or more teams with at least five people in each band. The master asks them a question and they required ask each other the same question (in English) to stand in order by what their answers are, e.g. the person which has up earliest at one end by their line also the person whom gets up latest at aforementioned other end, or the person those does thing most often at one end the the line both the human who does and same thing least often at the other end.

36. Routines negotiations

Question students till imagine is person will need to have precise of equal routine for a while, for example because they will share a room while how abroad together. They ought describe their routines in each other and try to find compromises when they are different from each other, e.g. agreeing that hers bedtime will be 22:30 if one of them likes going to bed early and the different usual stays up late.

Presenting Simple activities with easy-to-find resources

37. Around an timepiece

Get press make twelve flashcards off normal day-to-day routines like “brush your hair”, with lyric and/ or pictures. I need either one setting per group of two to four students oder only one-time big set for the class. Such pictures represent easy to build yourself from ClipArt in Word.

Order the 12 cards in the shape of adenine rounding about the floor, board or table, to representing a clock. Turn the cards face down one by ready, perhaps while drilled the name of the actions or full sentences like “I go swimming at one o’clock”. The students and your then test each others on their total for where one cards are includes questions like “When do I/ you (go into school)?” press “What do I/ thou take at (ten o’clock)?”, insisting on full sentences in the answers up make sure who grammar in practised. The game can also easily be played with “He/ She…” use third person SEC.

Especially if all the actions usual happen close to each other (e.g. they are all morning routine actions), you may also play with the position von the card representing the big hand (and hence minutes), therefore practising more challenging times like “ten past seven” and “twenty to eight”.

38. Personalised Present Easy dice game

Top the sides of a dice with window adage “on”, “at” and “in”, or assign two is the numbers the jede of those prepositions of time, e.g. writing “One and two = at” on the board. Of student throws the dice and tries to make a truth statement nearly someone in their band using Present Easy and that preposition, e.g. “You have a shower in the morning” for “in” or “You watch VIDEO at 5 o’clock” for “at”. If the catch is true and the preposition use is grammatically correct, they get neat point. The instructors doesn’t need to check every sentence, aber students should call the teacher over to curb whatsoever sentences that they aren’t sure about the speaking of.

The equal thing is possible with the three pronunciations of third person S endings, e.g. “One and two = /iz/”. To third person SULPHUR sentences can be around her classmates (“Jose plays golf”) or, perhaps more spontaneous, people that their classmates know (“Your father lives with you”).

39. Present Basic magazine search

Donate current magazines, books either catalogues from much of stain pics of people go things, e.g. shopping catalogues or young learner books about life in different countries. Diverse students can take different serials more. upon each other if you don’t have enough copying fork you see to have the same done. Students search for pictures which they can create true sentences about their own and/ or their partners’ routines with, e.g. “I never go surfing” and “You mow the green in autochthonous garden in the summer” with pictures of those two actions. They procure one point available each new sentence ensure is truthful, as long as it uses some language which hasn’t been used before.

Students can then photocopy or cut out the pictures and write downhearted the same sentences next to them to make poster or scrapbooks about the class’s routines, perhaps being told at make each sentence about different people or a different number of people.

40. Present Simple projects

Students make posters with slide and Present Simple reports the what people do or shall do similar as “Spanish people sometimes have a nap following lunch” or “Good students keep her folders tidy”. An Present Simple for facts ons could be about different cultures, animals, whats Spanish spokespeople do and say in particular situations, or made-up aliens or monster. The recommendation ones would be demonstrate good or bad habits or routines, maybe for specific viewpoints of people’s lifestyles like studying, working, being healthful, nature green, being kind, with being happy.

Especially with former my such as teenagers, students may prefer to do this on computing, as webpages or printable posters.

Photocopiables for classroom practice of Presenting Simple

41. Present Straightforward sentence termination guessing game

Give students a worksheet with gapped sentences ensure everyone can fill most starting to make personal statements like “I __________________________ almost one day”, “I ______________________ but ME don’t like it”, “I ____________________ on Sunday mornings” and “I _______________________ through my dad”. Students permeate in at least halve of the sentences turn your owning, then read go just the part they have written (not the part that was originally imprinted up that worksheet) for the our listings to guess the whole sentence. For example, if on student reads out “cook pancakes”, one other people own to guess an whole sentence can “I cook pancakes on Sunday mornings”.

42. Present Simple sentence completion blag

Students will given gapped sentences is everyone in the class will be able to refill most of to make personal sentences, e.g. “I ___________________ in bed” and “My mother isn’t lucky because I __________________________”. Students fill on at least half away the sentences with a mix of real and false information. One student record out one of their rulings (e.g. “I eat for at bed”) and the people listening ask questions (e.g. “How often achieve you meals breakfast inches bed?” or “What do you eat in bed?”), then guess if the inventive sentence was correct or bogus.

43. Present Simple Ask and Tell

Make a pack of tickets with speech and printable which could be made into (very) personal questions with one Present Simple, e.g. “nose” for “Do him like your nose?” or “Do you pick your nose?”, furthermore “angry” for “How often do you get angry?” or “Why will your mother get angry with you?” One college takes a card and can perform any question that she like. Nonetheless, they should want for be cautious with the questions that they questions because they may have to answer that question themselves, depending on the toss of a currency. If which person who made the question calls heads or tails correctly, they can choose who will answer the question. However, if it falls turn the opposite side from which coin, they must answer their question themselves.

44. Presentation Simple Answer me

Students are dealt four or five charts each, each of which has a short answer like “Yes, MYSELF do” and “I walk”. They need ask each other questions at get precis those answers to be able to discard the cards. The person is smallest cards left per the end by that game is the winner. Of memory could be actions (asking “What do you do at 6:45?” to get an respond “I wake up” the the card), adverbs of frequency (“How often do you swim?” to get “Sometimes”), other frequency expressions (“Once every three months” etc.), periods (“At half by seven”, “On Sundays”, “On News Year’s day”, etc.), otherwise a mix of those categories.

Students could also easily make their own cards the scraped bits by paper or just as lists in their notebooks, keeping an ones such her made die, instead putting select to cards together additionally dealing she unfashionable.

45. Present Simple personalised boarding game

Students work their road round a board game by making true sentences based on what is written on the square that their counter is on, e.g. “Your partner’s morning routines”, “Your partner’s grooming habits”, “Things your partner never does”, “Things your registered does more repeatedly than you” and “Your partner’s parents”. You may also include grids which are more like opinions, e.g. “Habits that your partner agreed can annoying” and “Green habits which get partner reflects are important”. The person whose go it your continues making statements von that kind to their partner my the something isn’t true, subsequently they move one square used each correct sentence they made (meaning that a dice etc. is doesn needed to move in this boards game).

46. Present Simple taboo questions

Students rank Present Simple challenges liked “How much money do you have in the bank?” and “How commonly do you has adenine shower?” due whereby taboo they are from 1 point (normal question even to strangers, maybe good available starting conversations) to 5 points (completely taboo). They then compare in other groups and/ or the teacher’s judgement of how taboo those things are in other countries. They can then try to write similar questions of each level from 1 to 5 using Present Simplicity and the topics given (food, bad habits, etc.)

With either or both sets of questions (their own and the an preparing by the teacher), they sack also play a fun speaking challenge game. One person chooses how many points they wants to go for, real are asked a question whichever they given that many points to, e.g. if group say “Four points”, they are asked ampere tricky but not totally taboo question. They after get that many points, unless they can’t or don’t want to answer that question.

47. Present Simplicity pelmanism

Prepare a put of flip with a mix of form which take “on” (“Monday”, “12 January”, “Xmas day”, etc.), “at” (“12 o’clock”, “half past seven”, “Xmas”, etc.) and “in” (“the morning”, “spring”, “March”, etc.). Students disseminate the packaging of cards face down across the table and then bear turn trying to find pairs of expressions which take the same preposition, e.g. “Tuesday morning” and “Thursday 2 March” since they both taking “on”. If the two cards vergleich, they can keep them. If not, they must place them back down in the exact same places and play passes to the upcoming person.

The same cards can be used until play the game Present Unsophisticated Cinch below.

48. Currently Simple Snap

This is basis on one living the popular children’s card game Snap.

Prepare ampere set of at least 30 card include more or less equal numbers of expressions which take each on the prepositions which you are practising, e.g. “Tuesday morning” in “on”, “a quarter past ten” for “at” and “summer” for “in”. Give one pack of cards to each group of two or three students. They should deal them out but no look during which cards that they have accepted. Twos cards are put front up on the table and the players take turns putting cards face up on top of those second piles. If for any die the two cards that are visible on the top of the piles take the same present, e.g. “Thursday” the “12 March” (which should both take “on”), the students shoud race to roar out “Snap!” (or ampere more useful block liked “The same!”) The first person to scream out correctly gets all the cards that have been placed back so far in the game, and the person with most flip at to out the the game profits.

Whenever anyone shouts out when the two cards which are tops of the packs don’t match, they must “pay” two cards to the other players inches their group as punishment.

This game can be played using exactly the alike memory as Present Simple Pelmanism above.

49. Present Simple interview roleplays

Students are told to imagine that they must select someone such as a teacher, an employee, a politician, one housemate otherwise a host mother/ host father. The join who they are going to interview are predetermined roleplay cards whatever tell a problem in the Present Easily tense, e.g. “You sleep 18 lessons every day” or “You never brush yours teeth”. The interviewers ask questions using the Present Simple tense, trying to find out how which feature can. The interviewees can’t lie about those problems, but they can try in avoid the problem. Their answers off other topics can be real or done above as they like. After that interviews, students get points for finding away who problems either must decided which of the people they will choose.

You can also play the game with a mix of good and bad things on the roleplay cards, and/ other the each interviewee having more than one roleplay card.

50. Present Simple chain stories/ implications

This is based on the fun standard drawing and composition games of the same name. Prepare a sheets with at least 8 up 10 sentence stems to make a description of someone’s daily routine like “___________ very soon in which morning” and “______________________ at noon”. Put scholars in a circle or circles. Give each current a copy of the worksheet. Anywhere person fills in the gap in the first run of and routines story on their admit, folds the paper so that aforementioned next person can’t visit what they have spell, press passes it to the person on their left. This weiter around (and around) an circle(s), folding each time to so the then person can’t please anything that does past written so faraway. When they get to the end, they pass one other time and the person who receives it opens aforementioned story out, reads it, and shares with the class how much or minimal sense it makes plus possibly some sample of silly combinations of routines.

Students could then losgehen on to make similar chaining stories sheets with different sentence stalk (for example to shroud the rest of the day for is worksheet was info morning routines) for different groups to do the same activity with.

51. Present Simple information spaces

Students are giving Student A and Student BORON worksheets describing operation with few diversity between them real must ask every other questions until find what things are not the identical. For example, if group are default school timetables with thrice differences in day, time or subject they ca ask “What do you do at… on…?”, “How often do you…?” or “When do you…?” until they find the differences.

Who worksheet prompts can be schedules, lists or complete texte, and can perhaps include authentic test from Sunday magazines etc. in whichever real people describe their routines. They can furthermore be queried to look for similarities rather as differences, or at find specials informations, e.g. the language teacher in their partner’s timetable. This last version can also are determined up as Timetable Battleships, based on this old game within which students endeavor to bomb the marine on each other’s paper without knowing where they are. In with the original game, this game works best whenever there is some kind of restriction about show the things that they will searching for ca go, e.g. having them in blocks of two other three (in one day or at who same times on other days).

52. Present Simple Guess With

Students are given worksheets the pictures, numbers, symbols and/ or words showing the lives of at least five people anyone have largest things in collective but a few unique features, e.g. all when one personality pictured go in flats and must two of the people have pet. A student secretly chooses one of of my on the blanket additionally the another students ask Yes/ No challenges such as “Does this person drink wine?” the “Is to person fat?” to someone correctly sums which person it your.

Students with more imagination ability also take the similar game with a page or magazine whole of photos of photos, answering “Does she had a car?”, “Is he intelligent?” more. from hers imaginations until someone guesses which picture i chose.

As an extension, students can also create their custom versions of the Guess Who worksheet based on the people in their group, asking each other questions on find out who has bros and nuns, who rides an scooter, etc., and putting that down as words, numbers, symbols and/ or pictures, but without names. Groups swap the Guess Who worksheets that people made and ask Yes/ No questions until they can write an names next to each per. As with the original worksheets, students should try to make sure almost things that they write down are things that they have for gemein.

53. Present Simple matchmakers

Neat student is present a worksheets with at least three things described for it, e.g. three physical, three jobs, three hobbies, three countries that they could live stylish, or three kinds of volunteering. The person with the worksheet must ask the different student(s) questions to find out which concerning those things they would probably prefer. After choosing, the other people look at the worksheet and tell them if they think that is really the best choice for them.

To drop them exactly directly request “Would you like to be/ have…?” and so completion in twenty seconds, you have to manufacture sure that which topics and descriptions are closely tied to routines, and probably bound the choices to things that they know little or nothing regarding like “forester” or “bird watching”. You might also want go mark sure speech that they can’t include on they matter.

Students could also do the same thingy with a laptop int front of them to find suitable options online than they ask the questions, e.g. searching descriptions of jobs in Wikipedia or job sites.

Take that these activity naturally many brings up the verbification “can”, so you could make it as ampere link with Present Simple and that common verb which is often taught in the equivalent level of classes.

Technology-based Present Simple klassen activities

54. Many operating webquest

Students have ten minutes go find Present Simple song online welche show differentials between other places and their ownership culture, e.g. “In Mongolia many folks live into tents”. They get to point for each think ensure no one else in an class also writes down. The sentences must are directly quoted away the websites additionally already in the Present Simple tense.

The same thing can also be done with students searching for:

Habits of a particular animal

Two animals which have a lot of things inbound usually

Routines away a celebrity, perhaps the find that most socially conscious or party-loving a

Comportment of charities, perhaps to locate the most important ne

They could also add couple made-up versions to use in a bluffing game, interpretation out a mingle of true and false routines in other places etc. for the select groups to guess where your which.

55. Present Simple video tasks

Find a movie, animation oder TV programme which shows regular routines of a person, animal, machine, etc., e.g. of dinner the living routines of mice, the routines on ampere postman in the Hebrides islands, which life of a bouncer, or the “life” of a steam train. Students writers as many sites about that person’s either thing’s lives such they can before watched, then get five points for each of those satc is turn out the be truthfully asset two point for any new sentences they ca write about those routines while viewing (plus if credit points if no one else writes the same correct sentences). 

This capacity also be done for situations which am unlike our own world such as science fiction or fanciful.

56. Just one person does it

Students try to make sentences that make wisdom nevertheless have does or only one summary on Google or Google Images, e.g. “He sleeps under a chair”, “She obtained up during twelve minutes past three” or “I have 23 badges”.

Students can also use technology for the activities Presented Simplified Matchmakers and Guess the Person from the Routines above.

Copyright © 2014 Aleksei Case

Written by Aleks Case for

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The Present Simple In Everyday Conversation

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Some students are so keen to know about English grammar and to learn the ‘rules’ that they forget something: grammar is just one ingredient used in communication to express yourself and understand others. To switch things around, here are some practical ways you can use the present simple verb form in small talk and everyday conversation .

[Btw if you’re new here, feel free to come on over to the Get Into English Facebook page !]

Giving personal information and describing your routine

I live in Melbourne (note: I’m living in Melbourne sounds like you see this as a temporary thing) I have 2 brothers. I’ m married | single | divorced. I’ m about 178cm and weigh 97kg. I was born in September, so I’ m a virgo.

I wake up at 7 o’clock. I take the car to work and get into the office at about 9. At the weekend, I usually have breakfast on our balcony and talk with the kids. I rarely go out during the week as I prefer to relax at home after work. I sometimes go for a swim at the local pool. I never eat breakfast at home as I’ m often  in a rush to get to catch the early train into town.

Talking about your job and responsibilities

I work for a large French company. I work in South Melbourne. I work at the building around the corner. I’ m in charge of the finance department. I take care of the kids when Julie’s at work. My work involves prepar ing for meetings and giving presentations. I’ m responsible for ensuring all invoices are tracked and accounted for. I respond to customer inquiries about our products. I prepare  training programmes for managers in our Singapore office.

Talking About Your Likes And Dislikes

I really like | love U2. I’ m a big fan of  Lost Girl. I’ m really into opera and classical music. I don’t mind golf, though it’s a little boring. I’ m not into boxing, sorry. I can’t stand Elton John. I hate American football, what a dopey sport. I enjoy listen ing to heavy metal and opera. One of my favourite things to do during the week is to have my morning cup of coffee at Bill’s Cafe.

Giving Your Opinion

Note that verbs of opinion are usually in the simple form, while actions are in the continuous. For example:

I think he’s a wonderful person [opinion] I’ m thinking about my next holiday [action right now]

I think | reckon  that President Obama is poor leader. I believe he’s the best player of all time. I don’t think he’ll do that. Sorry, but I feel it’s not the right time to do this. I don’t believe that’s true. In my opinion, this just isn’t right .

What about Prague for our next holiday? What do you think | reckon ?

Talking About People

He’ s a great | fun | boring | ok guy. She dances really well, I really like the way she moves. My uncle’ s great, a good laugh. What surprises | interests me about him is his wicked sense of humour. What I like | don’t like about her is that she’s so impatient.

Responding To Your Friend In Conversation

Yeah, definitely, that’s for sure . I don’t think so at all. Really? Why is that? I totally agree/disagree . I don’t agree at all . You don’t believe that, do you?! That’ s a classic! That’ s great/wonderful/terrible ! I’ m not so sure about that , Hank.


Lots of phrases can be used in the present simple, just like in conversation:

What are you up to , John? Do you fancy a drink? How about we go for a swim later? I look forward to it. I can’t wait til later! Let’ s meet in front of the Swamp Hotel.


He seems to be more tired than usual. She can’t be American – I think she’s Australian with that hat! He’ s probably in his 30’s. He can’t be older. She must be late – her car’s not here yet.

Talking About Facts

Paris has a population of 8 million people. President Obushma is the most popular president since the 1980’s. Victoria is located in southern Australia.

10 Present Simple Questions You Can Ask At A Party!

The list below shows you that you don’t need to use complicated questions or grammar to get conversation going!

  • What do you do for fun? (=another way of asking what someone does in their free time).
  • How do you spend your week? (this could be an easier question to ask if you’re not sure if the person has a job, as it opens up the conversation for them to answer how they wish)
  • How often do you go out? Where do you like to hang out? 
  • What’s your favourite film | TV show | song | book.. ? 
  • Are you a morning person? 
  • What superhero do you like the most? Why do you admire them? 
  • What’s your morning ritual like? Do you spend half an hour in the shower? (this could be a fun way to ask a ‘boring’ question).
  • Is there any celebrity that you look up to? 
  • How do you spend a rainy day? 
  • What’s your biggest addiction? (if you ask this in a fun way, they’ll probably talk about their coffee habit or spending time with their kids but maybe not something so serious)

So to sum up, you can see that you can do a lot with this basic verb form. After that, it’s a matter of improving your vocabulary! 

Present Simple in Conversation

Present Simple Or The Present Continuous?

Grammar And The Speaker’s Perspective

Sometimes you can use either the present simple or the present continuous, it just depends on how you see things at the time. For example, right now I am visiting family in Melbourne. To some people I’ve said:

“I’m visiting family”  (I am here temporarily)

To other people I’ve said:

“I live in South Melbourne.” (this implies I live here permanently)

This might be because it’s easier to say I live here permanently than to then get all the follow up questions on where I *usually* live!

In a similar way, compare the businessman who travels between Paris and the Middle East:

“I live in Dubai.” (he says to a girl he just met in Dubai)

“I’ m visiting Dubai.” (he says to a girl he likes back in Paris – he wants her to know this is just temporary!)

To sum up, grammar is just one ingredient in communicating your message, and it’s up to you to choose the verb forms which best fits your perspective or the message you wish to put across. There are other ingredients too, however, like how you say things, and what vocabulary you choose.

Finally, you can see today’s uses above of the present simple form as being about grammar, or you can learn the above sentences lexically .

In other words, instead of worrying about the grammatical rules, you could remember the above as phrases, with grammar ‘built in’.

“Not Pretty Enough”

Check out this Aussie song, which mostly uses the present simple form. Sing along or grab someone and dance..

Photo credits

Image Akk_rus Licence CC by 2.0

Please feel free to check out the Get Into English Facebook page !

Reader Interactions

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February 11, 2013 at 16:50

Lots of useful phrases.

At the end of the day, native speakers learn “phrases”, I mean, they don’t stop mid-sentence to see what tense they are using. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with some grammatical knowledge as long as you don’t become obsessed with it!

I’m sharing this on Twitter. I only use it for that purpose!

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February 13, 2013 at 10:01

Hi Francisco

Thanks a lot. I’ll add to it as well – there’s a few more things I can add (without it getting too long I hope 😉 )

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August 21, 2013 at 21:25

Great post! Simple, short – but extremely efective. Congratulations!

August 25, 2013 at 12:19

Thanks for the feedback, Sergio!

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September 16, 2013 at 13:48

Hi David , Wonderful stuff you’ve got here. I was wondering if you could help. I am currently helping some student with English Lsnguage in Germany . And was wondering if you could help me with some conversation topics to help the student understand the tenses. Have you got some materials you could send to me? Hope to hear from Sophie

September 17, 2013 at 03:50

Hello Sophie

Thanks for visiting the blog 🙂 What do you mean by ‘conversation topics to help understand the tenses’?

I have some worksheets on various topics here which might help:

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October 26, 2013 at 18:25

Well David these ideas will definitely work and help me to help my students, thanks n really this blog is absolutely fabulous

October 26, 2013 at 21:29

Hi Amit, thanks a lot for visiting 🙂

If you have any special wish, feel free to suggest a topic that I can write on,

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November 22, 2013 at 09:53

This is really useful. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of your posts in the future 🙂

November 24, 2013 at 21:54

Hi Miss Lan

Thanks for popping in – feel free to check out the articles in the ‘most commented’ box in the sidebar 🙂

' src=

February 2, 2015 at 14:02

This was a really great breakdown of the present simple in use. I’ll be using it with my students in class today.

February 3, 2015 at 02:22

Thanks for your comment, and hope you can find other articles on here which your students might like 🙂

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May 2, 2020 at 20:04

Well done, such a great effort 🙂

May 18, 2020 at 18:53

Thank you Fathi!

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April 3, 2021 at 01:56

Very Nice blog and easy to understand…. Thank you sir

April 3, 2021 at 21:12

Hello Davinder

Thanks for visiting the blog and for your suggestion too 🙂

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  • Present tense

Present simple

Level: beginner

The present tense is the base form of the verb:

I work in London. 

But with the third person singular ( she / he / it ), we add an –s :

She works in London.

Present simple questions

Look at these questions:

Do you play the piano? Where do you live ? Does Jack play football? Where does he come from ? Do Rita and Angela live in Manchester? Where do they work ?

We use do and does to make questions  with the present simple. We use does for the third person singular ( she / he / it ) and do for the others.

We use do and does with question words like where , what and when :

Where do Angela and Rita live ? What does Angela do ? When does Rita usually get up ?

But questions with who often don't use do or does :

Who lives in London? Who plays football at the weekend? Who works at Liverpool City Hospital?

Here are some useful questions. Try to remember them:





Present simple negatives

Look at these sentences:

I like tennis but I don't like football. (don't = do not) I don't live in London now. I don't play the piano but I play the guitar. They don't work at the weekend. John doesn't live in Manchester. (doesn't = does not) Angela doesn't drive to work. She goes by bus.

We use do and does to make negatives with the present simple. We use doesn't for the third person singular ( she / he / it ) and don't for the others.



Present simple and present time

We use the present simple to talk about:

  • something that is true in the present:
I 'm nineteen years old. I 'm a student. He lives in London.
  • something that happens regularly in the present:
I play football every weekend.
  • something that is always true:
The human body contains 206 bones. Light travels at almost 300,000 kilometres per second.

We often use adverbs of frequency  like sometimes , always and  never with the present simple:

I sometimes go to the cinema. She never plays football.

Here are some useful sentences. Complete them so that they are true for you and try to remember them:

Complete these sentences so that they are true for a friend and try to remember them:








Level: intermediate

Present simple and future time

We also use the present simple to talk about:

  • something that is fixed in the future:
The school term  starts next week. The train leaves at 19.45 this evening. We fly to Paris next week.
  • something in the future after time words like when , after and before and after if and unless :
I'll talk to John when I see him. You must finish your work before you go home. If it rains we'll get wet. He won't come unless you ask him.

ex. Present simple 8

Level: advanced

We sometimes use the present simple to talk about the past when we are: 

  • telling a story:
I was walking down the street the other day when suddenly this man comes up to me and tells me he has lost his wallet and  asks me to lend him some money. Well, he looks a bit dangerous so I 'm not sure what to do and while we are standing there  …
  • summarising a book, film or play:
Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts School. He has two close friends, Hermione and … Shakespeare's Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark. One night he sees his father's ghost. The ghost tells him he has been murdered  …

Hello, Can you tell me why the present simple is used in the sentence below? I heard from David last night. He says hello.

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Hello Khangvo2812,

You can use the past simple or present simple here. The past simple means 'He said hello to you when I spoke' while the present simple can be understood as 'He says hello to you through me right now.

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter I don't anticipate it stopping means : Most people consider a long time : a month or more than a month and Temporary: a few days or a few weeks can I use What most people consider ?

I'm afraid I don't understand what your question is. Could you please use inverted commas (') around the language that you're asking about? I think that would help me understand.

All the best, Kirk LearnEnglish team

Hello Peter example i study computer engineering i am studying computer engineering you have said before i use simple present if we do not except to change in the near future what does mean near future more than year i use simple present a year or less i use present continuous?

The near future is not a fixed time which we can describe in this way. It is a question of how the speaker sees the action or situation. If the speaker sees the situation as permanent or unlikely to change for what they consider a long time then the present simple will be used. If the speaker sees it as temporary then the present continuous will be used. Sometimes a temporary situation can last year if in the speaker's mind it is going to change at some point. It's not a question of how long but rather how the speaker sees things.

I can say 'I study physics' even though I know the course only lasts four years because I don't anticipate it stopping. I can say 'I'm living in London' even if I think I'll be in London for a decade because I don't see it as my home but rather a place I'm in for a certain time. It's a question of perspective and it's subjective.

In the Simple Present Tense, we often use 'do' and 'does' as auxiliary verbs to emphasize positive sentences and commands. For example, 'I do speak' and 'He does come' However, when 'do' is used as a main verb, can we also use 'do' or 'does' for emphasis in sentences like- I do do. He does do. And similarly, can we use 'do' for emphasis in commands like- Do do.

I'd like to understand if 'do' and 'does' can be used to emphasize when 'do' is functioning as a main verb, such as 'I do my homework' or 'He does the dishes.'

Is it common to use 'do' and 'does' for emphasis in such sentences?

Additionally, can they be used in commands like- Do do your work

I am aware that these sentences may not be typical in daily conversation, but I am inquiring about their grammatical usage.

Kesari Prakash, Maharashtra, India.

Hi Prakash,

Yes, it is grammatically fine, including in commands (imperatives). As you suspected, these sentences sound a bit unusual because of the double "do", but they are grammatical.

I should mention that "do" as a main verb requires an object or a complement, so the first set of sentences should be something like:

  • I do do (well).
  • He does do (a good job).
  • Do do (that).

I hope that helps.

LearnEnglish team

Could you please explain the grammatical differences between the following sentences:

'It is a bus.' 'There is a bus.' 'There goes the bus!' Additionally, could you clarify the grammatical roles of the words 'there' and 'bus' in these sentences? Specifically, are they considered dummy subjects, subjects, adverbs of place, or nouns?

Hi Prakash,

Sure, I'll try to help.

It is a bus  - in this sentence, the speaker/writer is identifying something ("It"). "It" is a dummy subject.

There is a bus  - "There" is an adverb, introducing the subject of the sentence "a bus". The normal word order of the sentence is inverted.

There goes the bus  - "There" is an adverb of place. It indicates a particular place or space (while in the previous sentence, in the most common use of "There is", "There" indicates the existence of something, with a weaker meaning of pointing to a particular place or space). The normal word order is inverted too. The subject is "the bus".

Hello, Which grammatical construction should I use in video tutorials? I mean knitting tutorials, where I show how to knit step by step. Is it correct to use Present Simple in tutorials and video instructions? For example: «I just cut it in two places, here and here, to have such tails, and after this I make 9 loops with the needles...» I've met people using Present Simple and/or Going To in their tutorials. Why nobody uses Present Continuous without Going To in the tutorials?

Hi chonburi,

Grammatically, there's no problem with using present continuous to explain what you are doing in that moment ( I'm cutting here ... I'm looping it ... ). The present continuous focuses on what's happening at a particular moment.

But since you probably have many steps to make the final product, it would be unusual to use the present continuous to focus on every single step. It's more usual to use the present simple to describe a sequence of actions like this. But, while mainly using the present simple, you can also use present continuous at particular times to emphasise important moments or actions.

Does that make sense?

Yes, that makes sense. Thank you very much for your help!

Can I use the present simple to describe what I see in an image? Not just the facts, but even the actions in progress at the time the photograph was taken?

Hello CarolinaRuiz,

My sense is that we typically use the present continuous to describe an image, unless we're using link or stative verbs.

Imagine an image of a family having a picnic on the grass in a park. We'd typically say things like 'The mother is giving the children some fruit', 'The father is arranging the blanket', 'The girl is drinking some water' to describe actions -- note all the present continuous forms here. But we do also use the present simple quite a bit, e.g. 'The boy looks hungry', 'The father is happy', 'The girl wants to play football', etc. These are all stative or link verbs.

But of course if we're talking about an image of a picnic we were at some time in the past, we'd probably use a range of past tense forms.

In a speaking exam where we're asked to speculate what will happen next in an image, we of course would use appropriate forms there as well.

Hope this answers your question. If not, please let us know.

Hello, Kirk.

Yes, it answered my question. Thank you!!

OK, thanks for confirming! Best wishes

Could you please help me with the following:

1. From today, they take their exams. (Their exams started today and will continue for about two weeks). Is Present Simple correct here? Or have I to day "From today, they have taken/have been taking their exams" or "From today they are taking their exams"?

2. I've seen the following sentence on BBC website: "Goalkeeper signs new three-and-a-half-year Bristol City deal". Could you please explain why Present Simple is used here? Is "will sign" or "is going to sign" possible here?

Thank you so much for your help! I appreciate it a lot! And I'm grateful for the answer to this post beforehand!

Hello howtosay_,

1. The present simple is fine here. The exams are a scheduled event and the present simple is appropriate for this. You could use other forms. Will be taking is often used for expected events or actions, and are taking is also possible for arrangements. Will take is possible but would suggest a decision being taken by the speaker rather than a description of the situation. The present perfect does not work here as it suggests an action which began in the past and continues to the present, not one beginning in the present and extending into the future.

2. The present simple is very common in news headline. If you look at the article you will see other verb forms used in the main body, such as present perfect and past simple.

Sir, could you please answer me which one is correct? 1.When I have breakfast, my mom prepares my lunch. 2.When I am having breakfast, my mom prepares my lunch. Is there have any difference? could you explain me, Sir?

Hello JameK,

The second sentence tells us that your mom prepares your lunch while you are in the process of eating breakfast.

The first sentence is ambiguous. It could mean that your mom waits until you have breakfast and then starts to prepare lunch. Maybe you prepare your breakfast and the kitchen is only available for her to prepare lunch once you sit down to eat, for example. Alternatively, it could mean that on certain days you don't have breakfast and on certain days you do and on the days when you have breakfast your mom prepares your lunch. Without any other context it's not clear.

Thank you Sir.

Hello Sir, thank you so much for your wonderful and practical explenation. I wanted to please ask you about the last part, where you explained about using "Present simple" \ "Present continuous" - when talking about the "past" - when you're telling a story and you want to pull the listener into the moment . In the example story you gave, you used both tenses.

My question is - how sould I know, in this case, when to use in the story the"Present simple" and when the "Present continuous"?

Great, I'm glad you found it useful :)

The present simple is used for the main sequence of events (i.e. the things that happened). The present continuous is used for events which are a background to others, as in the example above ("While we are standing there ..." - it seems that "standing there" was the background action to another action that happened). In that way, the use is similar to the use of the past simple and past continuous in a conventional past narrative.

The present continuous can also be used to heighten even further the effect of being in the moment. Adapting the example above, for example: "Well, he's looking a bit dangerous so I'm not feeling sure ..."

Sir I'm have some questions regarding simple present tense. For example Daniel goes to market or I don't like black coffee. These are simple present but what about these sentences like Tom does work everyday or I do work everyday. Can you explain do and does sentence ? Next one is about questions. For example where do you live ? or where she does live ? these sentences are easy because w form words are used in first place but the problem is with the sentences like. Do you know how to bake a cake ? In this w form word is used in between of the sentence. Sir can you explain this too ?

Hello AbdulBasit1234,

'do' and 'does' work as both auxiliary verbs and as main verbs. For example, in 'Tom does work every day', 'does' is a form of the verb 'do' -- it means to carry out an action. But in questions or negatives, 'do' and 'does' are auxiliary verbs: in 'He doesn't work on Monday', 'doesn't' is an auxiliary verb; 'work' is the main verb. It's also possible for 'do' to be both an auxiliary and a main verb in a sentence where the main verb is 'do': 'He doesn't do much work' ('doesn't' is auxiliary, 'do' is main).

I'm not sure I understand your second question. If you are asking about 'how', 'how to bake a cake' is simple a phrase. A phrase can take the place of a simple noun. For example, we could replace the phrase with a noun like 'Judy' ('Do you know Judy?') and the sentence structure is the same.

All the best, Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

I am a little bit confused about the present tense in short story.

Story: I was walking down the street the other day when suddenly this man comes up to me and tells me he has lost his wallet and asks me to lend him some money. Well, he looks a bit dangerous so I'm not sure what to do and while we are standing there …

I am confused about where it starts with "I was" and then turns to present tense.

Hope you can answer

Hi sxphia_jx,

This is actually quite common in spoken English. Normally, we use past forms for telling stories (narratives). In fact, the verb forms past simple, past continuous, past perfect simple and past perfect continuous are collective sometimes known as 'narrative tenses'. However, when we are recounting a story in a more informal setting (such as telling a joke or a sharing an anecdote), we can use present forms to give a sense of immediacy and to bring the story more to life. As you can see from this text, it's possible to begin with past forms and then switch to present forms for effect.

Present forms can even be used in this way in writing and even in novels. Some well-known examples include One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey), Bleak House (Charles Dickens) and The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins).

I have gone through the article on present simple. It is wonderfully written and has covered its different uses.

What I learnt is that it can be used to talk about the scheduled future events, for example: - 1. The school term starts next week. 2. The train leaves at 19:45 this evening. 3. We fly to Paris next week.

I would like to ask whether we can use simple future (instead of simple present) in these type of sentences like 1. The school term will start next week. 2. The train will leave at 19:45 this evening. 3. We will fly to Paris next week.

Is there any difference in the meaning of the above sentences due to replacement of present simple by future simple or do they mean exactly the same?

Hello Mohit,

I'm glad that you found the page useful. I think you'd find the Talking about the future page useful as well, as it compares the different forms most commonly used to speak about the future. It doesn't cover all possible uses, but is definitely quite useful.

In theory, the three sentences with 'will' could be correct in an appropriate situation, but I'm afraid I'm having a hard time thinking of an example for any of them. The present simple ones are much more commonly used.

If you have a specific situation in mind, please let us know.

Hi, I have questions about summarising. Is it possible to write a whole summary ( for example a book ) in past tenses? And why do we use present tenses + past tenses in a summary?

Hello IRaisa,

Yes, it's possible to use past tenses to summarise. People often use present tenses when telling a story because it makes the story seem more alive or more real. The present tense reflects the reality of the listener, who is finding out about the story in the moment they are hearing it.

In a summary, the present can have a similar sense, or it can also have the sense that the story (or film or whatever) is something that is kind of timeless since it can be told at any time. That is, you can read the book now or read it in the future, and other people read it in the past. It might help to think of the story as a building or the sunrise. Both existed yesterday, are happening today, and we expect them to exist or happen again tomorrow. Just as we say 'The sun rises in the morning', we can use a present simple form to tell or summarise a story.

I hope that's helpful (and not more confusing!). In any case, it's OK to use the past to make a summary of a story, but the present is quite commonly used as well.

Thanks, but I still have a question I read a lot of times when somebody connected Present tenses + past tenses for example Barbossa recruits Gibbs, who burns the charts, admitting he memorized every location. Harry deduces that Voldemort is hunting the Elder Wand, which had passed to Dumbledore after he defeated Grindelwald

What is the purpose of that?

In these cases, the past tense shows that those actions happened before the actions in present tense. The present tense is used to narrate the action or 'current' situation in the story, but, as you have noticed, other tenses can be used when it's necessary to refer to other times.

Hello Sir, I have a question – In the following sentence is there any error in 'made it clear' → 'made clear' OR 'poses' → 'pose ' ( as CLIMATE CHANGE and Continued Ecosystem Degradation two nouns are used so we should not add 's/es' in the main verb

Please make it clear Sorry sir, The sentence is: Science has made it clear the adverse impacts that climate change and continued ecosystem degradation poses for the physical world.

Hello Analiza,

The 'it' should be omitted and the verb should be plural: 'Science has made clear the adverse impacts that climate change and continued ecosystem degradation pose for the physical world.'

Sir, cold you explain me this sentence 'give me my book'. Why we use the present simple verb and in what category the verb 'give' belongs to.I mean,is it routine, habit, future, fact?

If this is the full sentence then it is an imperative form. The imperative is used when giving instructions or commands and it is the same as the base form:

Give me my book!

The negative is formed with don't :

Don't go in - the boss is in a meeting.

Don't do that.

Hello I am a fan

Let's say simple present tense is used to describe about the routine or habit of a subject. There is no subject present in the sentence you provided. It is not a sentence of simple present tense instead we can say that it is a sentence of present tense.

Hi, I'd like to ask about adverbs of frequency. I read on your website ( teens ) we can use them at the beginning or at the end of a sentence. "We can use usually, often, sometimes and occasionally at the beginning of a sentence, and sometimes and often at the end." I watch a movie on youtube and a teacher said we can use them in order to emphasise and de-emphasis. So do we use them at the beginning to emphasis and de-emphasis at the end? What's more I'd like to ask about Definite Adverbs of Frequency. For example Every week, In the morning, weekly we can use at the end and if we put them at the beginning they give more emphasis or are they de-emphasised? In additional, can we use any adverb of frequency at the beginning in questions? And what is the difference if we put a signal word after person and after negative ? Is there any difference? I normally don't watch YouTube I don't normally watch YouTube Can we use occasionally, sometimes after negative? I don't occasionally... I don't sometimes...

As you've already observed, the position of adverbs is quite slippery; they are used in many different ways. Our grammar explanations don't go into all the details because it's generally best to learn the basics first and then beyond that it's usually best to have a teacher explain the more complex cases.

Those are a lot of questions! I'm afraid I can't go into depth on all of them, but, taking your question about adverbs of definite frequency, as I understand it, they generally go in front position when they are not the main focus of the idea. For example, if you say 'Every morning I study for 15 minutes', the main focus is on the fact that it's studying that you do every morning; the focus is not on the fact that it is the morning that you do this, but rather that it is studying that you do.

Does that help?

It's okay. I thank you for the answer

I made a sentence: "My idea is main", could you tell me whether it is wrong or not (Please explain and reply to me as fast as possible)

Thank you very much Paul.

Hello Paul-Phan,

Most adjectives can be used before a noun (e.g. in 'The red house is new', the adjective 'red' comes before the noun 'house'; this position of the adjective before the noun is called 'attributive position') or after a link verb (e.g. in 'The house is red', the adjective 'red' comes after the link verb 'is'; this position of the adjective after a link verb is called 'predicative position').

But there are some adjectives that are only used in attributive position or predicative position. 'main' is an adjective that is only used in attributive position -- you can see this in this dictionary entry where it says ' adjective   [ only before noun ] '.

Therefore I'm afraid that your sentence is not correct in normal usage. You could perhaps say something like 'My idea is the main one' or 'My idea is central' instead.

Hope this helps.

Hello sir ,

can we use just future tense without present tense in example above (If it rains we ‘ll get up ) , can we say ( if it will rains we will get up )

Hello g-ssan,

No, we generally don't use 'will' in the if-clause. The exception is when we want to say something like 'if you are so stubborn and insist on...' or 'if you refuse to change'. For example:

If you will arrive late then you will have problems > If you refuse to change and insist on arriving late then you will have problems.

Obviously the weather cannot insist on anything as it is not a person so this rare exception does not apply here.

By the way, strictly speaking English has no future tense. 'Will' is a modal verb which can refer to future time but can also have other meanings. In many cases you can replace 'will' with other modal verbs:

I will go tomorrow > I might/may/should/could/can/ought to/must (etc) go tomorrow.

Hi Jonathan, Thanks so much for your reply. If a teacher in the class wants to ask whether his students already understand his explanation, [1] can he use one of the following questions ? (a) Do you understand what I've just explained to you? (b) Did you understand..... ? (c) Do you get what I've just explained to you ? (d) Did you get....... ? (e) Have you got......?

[2] If all the above questions are appropriate, which one(s) is(are) the most commonly used in this situation?

I would highly appreciate your help.

Best regards,

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Present simple exercises

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Present simple

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43 communication games for teams

communication activities present simple

Effective communication is a vital aspect of how we work with others. When communication is open, honest, and effective, our working relationships are richer and more satisfying. When this breaks down, it can create friction, misunderstandings, and disconnection - leading to an ultimately unproductive workplace.

In this guide, you'll find communication games and exercises designed to improve and teach communication skills to your team. Try running these activities with any group that wants to communicate more effectively, be better listeners and improve their interpersonal relationships.

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A step-by-step guide to planning a workshop, how to create an unforgettable training session in 8 simple steps, 47 useful online tools for workshop planning and meeting facilitation, why are communication skills important at work .

Effective communication is a vital aspect of any high-performing team. With good workplace communication, teams can more effectively align on what’s important, feel connected, and effectively achieve their goals.

Communication skills like active listening, honesty, radical candor, and respect can help your team create strong working relationships, be more productive and feel happier too! 

Without effective communication, problems like team siloing, misalignment, employee unhappiness and more are likely to surface. Something as simple as an unsent email or a bad Zoom meeting can be what makes a campaign fail or a team become unproductive. Working to improve team communication can be transformative for your interpersonal relationships, whatever your role or workplace!

What are the benefits of improving workplace communication?

The benefits of good communication in the workplace are numerous and extend beyond meetings, interpersonal communications, and emails.

Effective communication is at the heart of how your team interrelates and collaborates. Team members who communicate well are often more connected, more resilient and able to be productive in their roles too!

With a considered effort to improve communication skills and bolster emotional intelligence across your team, you can see some of the following benefits:

  • Better conflict management and conflict mitigation
  • A more connected and resilient team
  • Improved surfacing of problems and challenges
  • More productive and engaged teams
  • Supercharged innovation and ideation
  • Help cross functional teams work together effectively
  • Improved employee happiness and satisfaction
  • A culture of trust, openness and radical candour
  • Knowledge and skill sharing
  • Better relationships and improved empathy
  • More effective, fit-for-purpose solutions
  • Highly aligned and driven teams

The best format for improving team communication is often a workshop or training session.

By guiding your team members through a series of activities that includes experiential games and opportunities to practice their conversation skills and sharpen their emotional intelligence, you can have a profound impact on how your team members collaborate.

With SessionLab, it’s quick and easy to create a group workshop on any subject.

Drag and drop your activities into place to create your schedule in minutes. Design an effective learning flow or training session with clear timing for every item in the agenda.

When you’re done, create a printout of your agenda to bring to your communication workshop and facilitate with confidence.

communication activities present simple

Communication games to improve listening  skills

Better communication starts with learning to listen. Particularly in our working relationships, a failure to listen effectively can be the root cause of many strained conversations and misunderstandings.

Learning to listen means being more present, trying to understand what other people are trying to communicate, and empathizing with their position.

Whether it’s everyday meetings or team building sessions , learning to listen can be swiftly transformative for groups of all shapes and sizes. The communication activities below are a great place to start on your journey to being a better listener, so let’s get started!

Blind Drawing

A key part of developing our communication abilities means learning to navigate gaps in understanding and listen more carefully to what other people are saying.

Put your team’s communication and listening skills to the test in this quick, creative game. Start by asking team members to pair up. Next, one person must describe an object in abstract terms, without giving away what the object is. The other team member must draw the object as best they can with the instructions they receive.

This team communication exercise is great demonstrating the power of clear communication while also warming up your group. Debrief the exercise and ask participants what they would do to improve next time for best results.

Blind Drawing   #teambuilding   #communication   #creative thinking   #remote-friendly   Test your communication and interpretation skills with Blind Drawing!

Best Summary

In many cases, better workplace communication begins by paying closer attention to our colleagues, whether that’s on Zoom, over email, or in real life. Best Summary is a great communication exercise for teaching the value of paying attention, taking notes when necessary, and listening more actively. 

Start by preparing a presentation into several logical units. After the first unit, distribute index cards and ask each participant to summarise the presentation so far. Next, sort everyone into teams and have each team pass their summary cards to the next group to evaluate and rate. 

Once the best summaries have been decided, offer feedback on key points and then continue the presentation. Follow this with another summary and evaluation step so everyone can quickly and effectively use the feedback from the first round to improve their listening and summarization skills. 

Best Summary   #thiagi   #debriefing   #closing   #presentation   #action   Asking listeners to summarize your presentation from time to time is a good technique for encouraging people to listen carefully, take notes, and to review the content. Best Summaries uses this basic concept.

Active Listening

Whether you’re a practiced active listener or not, using the method with a practical communication activity is important in building the skill and ensuring you really live the values of active listening in your workplace. In this communication method from Hyper Island, start by introducing the idea that when we listen to others, we often do so without giving our full attention. 

Split participants into groups of three so they can each explore the roles of subject, active listener, and observer while working on a common problem or topic. By ensuring each group member experiences all three roles and reflecting on their experience, you can help your team improve workplace communication with better listening and presence in communication. 

Active Listening   #hyperisland   #skills   #active listening   #remote-friendly   This activity supports participants to reflect on a question and generate their own solutions using simple principles of active listening and peer coaching. It’s an excellent introduction to active listening but can also be used with groups that are already familiar with it. Participants work in groups of three and take turns being: “the subject”, the listener, and the observer.

Spread the Word

When trying to impart the practical benefits of being a better listener to a group, it can help to show how active listening can help prepare us for follow-up tasks. With this communication game, begin by sharing a short 10-20 minute presentation with your team. Next, invite small groups to independently prepare a 3-minute presentation on the key points from your presentation for a specific audience such as 7-year-old children, engineers, or volunteers. 

This is also a great way to impart other aspects of effective communication to a group, such as the need to tailor content for an audience and bring concision to what we’re discussing. Be sure to debrief effectively and highlight how teams that listened carefully were better able to summarise key points and deliver effective presentations.

Spread the Word   #thiagi   #presentation   #skills   Asking the participants to summarize the key points from a lecture is an effective way to strengthen their understanding and recall.

Open Questions Role Play

A common pitfall for people who need to improve their communication is focusing on what they are about to say, rather than listening to the other person. This communication activity uses the power of open questions and active listening to teach participants better communication skills.

Begin by sharing the six kinds of open question with the group: What, Why, When, How, Where and Who. Next, invite one team member to volunteer and leave the room while the other team members decide something they wish to know about the volunteer. For example, the group may wish to know where the person last went on holiday.

Invite the volunteer back and ask them to make a statement about anything they wish. The group can then ask any open question to try and learn where the person last went on holiday but can only ask a question based on the last thing the volunteer said.

So for example, let’s say the volunteer starts by saying, “I had to have a cup of coffee to start my day.” The group might ask, “Where do you usually drink your coffee?” and then attempt to use the volunteers answers to guide the conversation forward while always referring back to something they said.

Experiential communication games like this one can be incredibly powerful when it comes to teaching communication skills and making them stick. Be sure to bring it to your next communication workshop or training session!

Open Questions – Role Play   #communication   #skills   #active listening   An extract from Rudyard Kipling’s poem in “The Elephant’s Child” literally OPENS up  opportunities to practice a key skill as part of a communication skills course as well  as allied skills in active listening and observation.

Team of Two 

Whether it’s at home or at work, many of our closest and most important relationships are between us and one other person. When communication with that person becomes strained, it can affect our personal and working life in a profound way.

Team of Two is a communication exercise designed to explicitly help two people work and communicate together more effectively. Improving your communication skills through the lens of a single person-to-person relationship can make the process more approachable and instantly gratifying. Be sure to give it a go!

Team of Two   #communication   #active listening   #issue analysis   #conflict resolution   #issue resolution   #remote-friendly   #team   Much of the business of an organisation takes place between pairs of people. These interactions can be positive and developing or frustrating and destructive. You can improve them using simple methods, providing people are willing to listen to each other. “Team of two” will work between secretaries and managers, managers and directors, consultants and clients or engineers working on a job together. It will even work between life partners.

Communication for youth workshop - cover image 1024x729

Fun communication games for teaching communication skills

Improving how a team talks to one another can be hard work. Teaching better communication techniques and improving core communication skills such as active listening is important, but it’s vital you help everyone warm up and arrive in the workshop ready to become a better communicator. 

These games are great ways to demonstrate the power of effective team communication while also helping a group warm up and get to know each other. Let’s take a look!

Stress Balls 

Energizing your team while demonstrating the importance of good communication is a great way to kick-off any team workshop. Stress Balls is a fun communication game that starts simple but can easily get out of control – a good analogy for workplace communication! 

Start by forming a circle with a single stress ball and a rule to pass it along to the left. Over successive rounds, you’ll add more balls with additional rules and debrief how the added complexity impacted the efficacy of the task. Not only is Stress Balls a fun energizer but it can serve as a great introduction to communication skills and concepts you might explore later in the session. 

Stress Balls   #energiser   #communication   #teamwork   #team   #thiagi   #action   #icebreaker   Understanding the importance of communication and teamwork is an important requirement for high performance teams of knowledge workers. This exercise is an effective energizer that requires communication and teamwork. Ask participants to form a circle and throw a ball around to simulate the movement of a message. Change different variables such as speed, quantity, and complexity to create a mess.

Few games improve communication skills as well as needing to navigate an obstacle course while blindfolded! In Minefield, teams must go through the course in the time allocated one by one while other team members will verbally guide them.

Start by creating a simple obstacle course of soft toys and mines that players must navigate. Have a large group? Create two courses and two teams and keep track of how many mines are hit to determine a winner.

Minefield   #teampedia   #teamwork   #action   #team   #icebreaker   A fun activity that helps participants working together as a team while teaching the importance of communication, strategy and trust.

Sticks – A Metaphorical Simulation Game

A powerful learning point from any discussion of communication in the workplace is that conversations often feel different for all those involved. While an email, video call, or impromptu meeting might be zero stress for you, it might take a lot of energy for someone else. 

Sticks is a game that can help a group build greater awareness of how our energy levels, intentions and responses can affect workplace communication. Start by asking pairs to hold a stick between them without using their hands. One person is designated to lead the pair around the room or to a destination with the goal of keeping the stick upright without talking. Switch roles before then adding the rule that the person being led must keep their eyes closed. During the debrief, ask everyone to share what they learned about effective communication and what the effects of applying different pressures on their partner were. 

Sticks – A Metaphorical Simulation Game   #communication   #team   #teamwork   #action   When people interact or communicate with each other, they use certain amount of energy or pressure. Here’s an activity that makes participants aware of such energy exchange and helps them explore how to manage this process.

Broken Email

When communication fails, it can be hard for a group or team to pass knowledge or tasks effectively between members. Avoid potential frustration by helping a group learn how to better communicate ideas and pass information on effectively. 

For this communication technique, start by asking small groups to stand in a line. Show the person in the back a simple image and then take it away. That person is then tasked to trace the image on the next person’s back using their finger. Each group does this with the next person in line until the person at the front must then draw the image on a piece of paper. For added fun, add a time limit or give each time a different image. The result is a fun, reflective team game that can help kickstart a session on improving communication in the workplace too! 

Broken Email   #communication   #collaboration   #teampedia   #icebreaker   #team   This a simple game in which participants play in teams and their task is to replicate an image shown to the first team member as they are set up in a chain. The winner is the first team to correctly reproduce the “email”

Double Talk

Sometimes, the cause of ineffective communication is simply the fact that people are preoccupied with other thoughts and aren’t fully present in the conversation. Try this communication exercise if you want to jolt a group awake or gently introduce concepts of active listening while having fun. 

Start by putting people into pairs and ask one person to be a listener while the other person plays the role of the IV. While the facilitator gives a short, preferably dry, presentation, ask the IV to whisper distracting thoughts in the listener’s ear. Next, ask the group some questions based on your presentation and reflect on how well they listened. 

Reveal to the group that IV stands for inner voice and debrief on how letting your inner voice distract you while attempting to listen or communicate can lead to frustration or missed insight. Be sure to give kudos to the most creative inner voices for their distractions while debriefing to make this communication game extra memorable!   

Double Talk   #energiser   #thiagi   Participants at a training session are often preoccupied with other important things in their life. Here’s a simple jolt to wake them up.

Nonverbal communication games

Humans communicate in so many different ways beyond verbal communication. We use body language, eye contact, touch, proximity and many more methods to communicate with others, often without knowing!

These nonverbal communication games are designed to improve self awareness and teach communication skills that lie outside of traditional verbal methods.

Birthday Lineup

The best communication games are often the most simple. Birthday Lineup is a great communication exercise that teaches the importance of nonverbal communication. Begin by asking team members to organize themselves in a line according to their birthday without speaking. Without the ease of verbal communication, team members must attempt to communicate effectively by using body language, hand signals and touch.

Want to complicate things or try a variation? Blindfold a few team members or ask people to line up alphabetically. In any case, debrief by asking what the experience was like and what they learned about different people’s communication styles.

Birthday Lineup   #icebreaker   #team   #teampedia   #opening   This is a simple warmup game where people use non-verbal communication to organise themselves into lines based on the give criteria

Becoming more aware of the body language of others (and ourselves!) is an important part of improving our communication skills. In this simple communication game, ask team members to get into pairs and choose one person to be the leader.

The goal of the game is for both people to become perfectly in-sync, as if they were the reflection in the mirror. Have one person start leading by moving and creating shapes and then, after a few minutes, switch leadership to the second person. Switch back and forth a few times and eventually let them share leadership.

This communication exercise is especially effective for teaching teams to communicate in a way that their partners can follow (not too fast!) and that communication is more enjoyable when you’re working together!

Mirrors   #improv game   #flexibility   #active listening   #listening and awareness   #speaking   #accepting offers   #trust   #leadership   #em   #fb   In pairs, players mirror one another’s movements.  

Nonverbal improv

Nonverbal communication is all about communicating meaning with our bodies, our eyes, our gestures and more. As human beings, we often do this unconsciously. In this communication game, teams are invited to consciously try and communicate a phrase to a partner without speaking.

Start with simple phrases to warm-up your group before moving to more difficult ones. Miming, “Would you like a drink?” is one thing, but how about, “Don’t go swimming! There’s a shark in the water!”

As with all communication exercises, the experience of working with good, poor or plain different communication styles can be an effective way of improving communication skills and asking participants to be more thoughtful in how they communicate.

Non-verbal improv   #improv game   #energiser   #fun   #remote-friendly   An improv game where participants must use non-verbal communication and actions to communicate a phrase or an idea to other players. A fun game that’s a great way to open a discussion on better communication!

Near and far

Whenever you bring a group of people together, you are also creating an interconnected system. How we choose to communicate with one another and the group at large can have a profound effect on that system. Consider how a spat between managers can ripple out to impact group dynamics. The Near and Far nonverbal communication game is a great way to teach communication skills while also introducing systems thinking to group.

Start by asking team members to stand in a large circle where they can make eye contact with one another. Next, ask each team member to silently choose one person in the group to stay close to and pick another they attempt to stay far away from.

Finally, have everyone attempt to be simultaneously near and far from their chosen people while moving around the room. As soon as the group moves into action, interesting dynamics will unfold. Afterwards, ask everyone to share their experiences and how this might relate to group dynamics and communication within groups.

Near and Far   #icebreaker   #energiser   #action   #thiagi   #outdoor   #warm up   Near and Far is a wonderful warm up game that provides excellent avenues to build connections and to discuss various issues of corporate culture and dynamics. I have used it in conferences and it is suitable for small, medium, and large groups.

Communication activities to improve honesty and openness

Good communication is all about finding ways to be open and honest while staying productive, respectful, and empathetic toward others. These communication techniques are designed to help everyone in a group communicate their needs, concerns, and challenges with a framework that promotes cohesion and trust. 

Finding ways to be more open and honest is key when it comes to solving organizational problems and these activities can be helpful in encouraging these values in your team. 

Appreciative Interviews

When trying to move past a problem or communication block, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of focusing on the negative elements and what went wrong. Appreciative Interviews is a great method to solving problems by starting from a point of exploring previous successes in pairs. 

Each person tells a story about a time they worked on a challenge and were proud of the outcome. Each partner then takes turns interviewing the other to discover why that situation was a success. Afterward, groups of four retell their partner’s story and listen for patterns and insight the group might use or learn from in the future.  Not only is this communication activity great for surfacing solutions positively, but it also encourages active listening, empathy and openness within a team. 

Appreciative Interviews (AI)   #issue analysis   #liberating structures   #storytelling   In less than one hour, a group of any size can generate the list of conditions that are essential for its success. You can liberate spontaneous momentum and insights for positive change from within the organization as “hidden” success stories are revealed. Positive movement is sparked by the search for what works now and by uncovering the root causes that make success possible. Groups are energized while sharing their success stories instead of the usual depressing talk about problems. Stories from the field offer social proof of local solutions, promising prototypes, and spread innovations while providing data for recognizing success patterns. You can overcome the tendency of organizations to underinvest in social supports that generate success while overemphasizing financial support, time, and technical assistance.

What will you tell who about what made your day today?

If workplace communication has become difficult there are things we might tell one person about how we’re feeling but not others. Think about workplace issues that you don’t feel you can share with your boss, but then discuss with your partner or friends outside of work. Often, after talking about a workplace challenge with someone outside of work, we then feel ready to talk about it inside of work. 

This communication activity utilizes this effect by asking a group to reflect on what they would say about a meeting, workshop or challenge and who they would say it to. By employing this framework, a group can not only concretize their learnings for the day but also consider how they communicate to different people. Often, we are more open and honest with some people than others when debriefing an event. By touching on this as a group, we can think about how we might communicate more openly with those people who most need it.   

What will you tell who about what made your day today?   #closing   #commitment   #prepare for action   #communication   #celebrating   #feedback   At the end of a meeting, participants have to go back to their boss, organization, community or family. There they’ll asked a question like “what did you do?”. This prepares them to that question, informs them about what others will say – and who   maybe the source of this message and it give them as well as you feedback on the session. It also reinforces commitment.

Stinky Fish

Communication is hard if uncertainties, anxieties or interpersonal issues don’t have space to surface and continue to have an effect on our relationships. Stinky Fish is a framework for sharing issues, creating openness, and finding solutions as a group. As a communication exercise, it’s effective at helping a team get things off their chest constructively and with a view to create solutions rather than attribute blame.

Invite each group to write down their personal stinky fish relating to a core organisational challenge or around the subject of communication or connection. Next, give everyone time to share their fishes with the rest of the group and reflect on the experience. For best results, follow-up with an exercise that helps resolve those issues though bear in mind that finding time and space to share these worries constructively can often have a positive effect in itself! 

Stinky Fish   #hyperisland   #skills   #remote-friendly   #issue analysis   A short activity to run early in a program focused on sharing fears, anxieties and uncertainties related to the program theme. The purpose is to create openness within a group. The stinky fish is a metaphor for “that thing that you carry around but don’t like to talk about; but the longer you hide it, the stinkier it gets.” By putting stinky fish (fears and anxieties) on the table, participants begin to relate to each other, become more comfortable sharing, and identify a clear area for development and learning.

Generative Relationships STAR

When workplace communication is strained, it can feel tough to find a productive way to explore what has affected everyone’s working relationships safely. Communication activities that include a set framework for guiding conversations can help keep things on track and also ensure the group’s psychological safety is maintained. Start by introducing the four points of the star: Separateness, Tuning, Actions and Reasons for working together. 

Ask each person to reflect on where the team is currently at in regards to each of the four points before then sharing these in small groups and find points of consensus and difference. From there, brainstorm actions you can take to improve these points and find those you can make immediately. By ensuring everyone first has a chance to share their feelings openly and be heard, you can help a group communicate effectively and then improve a situation from there.   

Generative Relationships STAR   #team   #liberating structures   #teamwork   You can help a group of people understand how they work together and identify changes that they can make to improve group performance. All members of the group diagnose current relationship patterns and decide how to follow up with action steps together, without intermediaries. The STAR compass tool helps group members understand what makes their relationships more or less generative. The compass used in the initial diagnosis can also be used later to evaluate progress in developing relationships that are more generative.

Bright Blurry Blind

Organizational silos or feelings of an ‘us and them’ dynamic is anthical to good workplace communication. Building a one-team mentality that helps people interact meaningfully and positively regardless of their department of role. Bright Blurry Blind is a great communication activity that gives employees the chance to speak openly and honestly about concerns and then build a more positive working relationship. 

Start by sharing the three metaphor cards for what is bright, (clear, common knowledge) what is blurry, (known but not spoken about openly) and blind (not known and should be). Have groups arranged by role or department then create a presentation of what is bright, blurry or blind for them and their department to share with the rest of the organization. Follow with some reflection on the process and consider how you can help blind issues surface, what you can do to ensure blurry issues become bright and how to better communicate any concerns between teams in the future. 

Bright Blurry Blind   #communication   #collaboration   #problem identification   #issue analysis   This is an exercise for creating a sense of community, support intra and inter departmental communication and breakdown of “Silos” within organizations. It allows participants to openly speak about current issues within the team and organization.

Communication exercises to improve empathy and understanding

Without empathy and understanding, working with others can prove difficult, if not impossible. Whether it’s how we communicate in the workplace or converse in our interpersonal relationships, it can always be helpful to find ways to empathize with the other person and understand their position. 

If you’re a leader wanting to improve your facilitation skills and figure out how to help your team, empathy and understanding is possibly the best place to start. Let’s get started.

Heard, Seen, Respected 

One of the baselines for effective workplace communication is ensuring that everyone is heard when they try to speak, is seen and recognized in their efforts, and is respected by others. In this activity for communication, start by briefing the purpose: to practice listening without trying to fix anything or make any judgments. Next, break the group into pairs and ask everyone to share a story of a time when they were not heard, seen, or respected. 

By first sharing these stories before moving to groups of four to discuss patterns, your team can effectively see how the concepts of listening and helping people be heard without first rushing to judgement can help everyone communicate better and be more understood. The result is a group that can more effectively empathize and help one another be seen and heard – a surefire way of improving communication in the workplace.

Heard, Seen, Respected (HSR)   #issue analysis   #empathy   #communication   #liberating structures   #remote-friendly   You can foster the empathetic capacity of participants to “walk in the shoes” of others. Many situations do not have immediate answers or clear resolutions. Recognizing these situations and responding with empathy can improve the “cultural climate” and build trust among group members. HSR helps individuals learn to respond in ways that do not overpromise or overcontrol. It helps members of a group notice unwanted patterns and work together on shifting to more productive interactions. Participants experience the practice of more compassion and the benefits it engenders.

Understanding Chain

Building shared understanding is fundamental to creating a culture of clear, effective communication. In an organization, it often falls to managers to impart information to the rest of the team and help them understand their position though, without the right approach, this isn’t always effective. 

Understanding Chain is a communication activity designed to help create an audience-first approach to communication. Start by asking a group to think of who they’ll be talking to and invite them to brainstorm questions that the group might ask of them. Next, invite the team to place those in the understanding chain, under one of three headings: situation, complication, or resolution. By first empathizing with an audience and sorting questions into a story chain, your group can effectively understand what they need to present and in what order in order to successfully build understanding. 

Understanding Chain   #gamestorming   #communication   #action   In the Understanding Chain game, a group shifts from a content focus to an audience focus, and draws out a meaningful, linear structure for communication.

Seven Words

Words have impact. Not only do the words we choose have an effect, but our tone, delivery and where we place stress in our sentences and arguments have an impact too. This activity is based on the concept of thinking about how we say something, alongside thinking about what we say. Start by writing a seven-word sentence about yourself on a flipchart while stressing the “I” of the sentence. Ask the group to comment on the message and meaning that was conveyed by how you said the sentence and collect different interpretations. Follow with pair work where participants write and interpret their own sentences before debriefing as a whole group. 

By asking the group to consider the importance of how we say things as well as reflecting on moments they felt misunderstood, they can better empathize with others and try to create conversations free of possible misinterpretation in the future.  

Seven Words   #thiagi   #communication   #skills   #remote-friendly   Ever heard the cliché, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”? The Seven Words jolt dramatically demonstrates this principle. You demonstrate how the meaning of a sentence changes as you emphasize different words. Later, you invite pairs of participants to explore this concept.

Translated Rant

When passionate people care about something and something goes wrong, this can lead to people feeling upset, hurt, or angry. When this happens, it’s easy to react to the immediate situation instead of trying to understand where they are coming from and help them move forward. This communication game for work is a highly effective way to helping a group better empathize and communicate under conditions of upset or duress. 

Start by asking pairs to work together with one person ranting for sixty seconds on their pet peeve or major annoyance. Next, invite the second person to translate the rant into what the first person cares about, what they value, and what’s important to them. Check to ensure the second person got it right before switching roles and debriefing. By helping a group see what’s behind the rant and focus on what an upset person might care about and value, future conversations, and disagreements can be handled more empathetically and productively. 

Translated Rant   #active listening   #emotions   #values   #trust   #conflict   #introductions   #opening   #connection   One person rants for 60 seconds. The second person translates their rant into what they care about and value.

When we receive different sets of advice that might seem contradictory, it might seem that there is a lack of understanding or empathy which can be frustrating. An important aspect of receiving advice and moving forward constructively is understanding that advice is contextual and that even if the advice might seem contradictory or not wholly helpful, the intention of the person is good. 

Both Sides is a communication activity that helps a group explore the advantages and disadvantages of two sets of advice or sides of an argument and reach an understanding that incorporates elements of both. It’s so easy to get ourselves into a position of saying one side is right and the other is wrong, though this isn’t always an empathetic or understanding approach.

Try using this activity the next time differences of opinion or advice create a blocker at work. You’ll often find that by seeing both sides, you can help all parties feel more seen and valued while also finding a productive way forward.  

Both Sides   #structured sharing   #issue analysis   #thiagi   #team   Organizational life is full of paradoxes. It looks as if you always get contradictory advice. For example, one manager suggests that all your training should be on the Web. Another manager extols the virtues of classroom teaching. In a situation like this, it is useless to ask, “Which is better: online learning or instructor-led learning?” The answer is invariably, “It all depends.” In the complex real world, the effectiveness of any strategy depends on the context. For example, training effectiveness depends on the content, objectives, learners, technology, and facilitators. In order for you to come up with the best strategy, you must explore the advantages and disadvantages of conflicting guidelines. That’s what BOTH SIDES helps you to do.

What, So What, Now What?

One of the first steps to improve empathy and understanding at work is being able to see an event free from judgment and from multiple perspectives. This exercise from Liberating Structures is a great framework for reflecting on an event as a group and building mutual understanding without conflict. 

Start by asking individuals to reflect on what happened and what they noticed before discussing why it was important and then finally making suggestions on how to move forward as a team. By surfacing thoughts and feelings objectively and sharing them, a group can better understand an event and its importance in an effort to do better next time. With practice and a considered approach, this communication technique can be your goto activity for debriefings and building team understanding.    

W³ – What, So What, Now What?   #issue analysis   #innovation   #liberating structures   You can help groups reflect on a shared experience in a way that builds understanding and spurs coordinated action while avoiding unproductive conflict. It is possible for every voice to be heard while simultaneously sifting for insights and shaping new direction. Progressing in stages makes this practical—from collecting facts about What Happened to making sense of these facts with So What and finally to what actions logically follow with Now What . The shared progression eliminates most of the misunderstandings that otherwise fuel disagreements about what to do. Voila!

Better Connections

Workplace communication can prove difficult if you don’t know your colleagues very well and feel disconnected from your team. Truly getting to know everyone in your team as people and not just because of their role can be what makes all the difference. Better Connections is a communication exercise designed to help a group understand one another as individuals, form better relationships and thus contextualize how we communicate in future situations. 

Start by asking a group to pair up with someone they don’t know too well and rate how connected they are to that person. Next, ask each pair to take three minutes to describe a close relationship with someone they love very much while the other person listens carefully. Debrief afterward and reinforce the point that better connections are formed through sharing, listening, and finding safe ways to communicate in the workplace.   

Better Connections   #interpersonal relationships   #teambuilding   #team   #connection   #thiagi   #get-to-know   We build a stronger relationship with people when we see them as human beings with whom we share similarities in terms of family and life situations. It is very difficult to form strong relationships with people about whom we know very little.We feel more connected to “full” people. For example, take John, the accountant. If I think of John as an accountant, I might put him into a box of what I think I know about accountants. I might not feel connected to accountants and will treat him accordingly. But when I think of John as a keen mountain climber and outdoor adventurer with two children, one of whom is graduating from university next month, then John becomes human to me, and I can feel connected to him.

Exercises to teach clear communication

Have you ever felt a discussion around a workplace challenge or new project go around and around to the point of being unproductive or frustrating? 

Finding ways to be clear, concise, and stay on topic is a vital communication skill that can help both in and out of the workplace. These communication games and activities are effective at not only providing a framework for clear communication but can help teach groups and individuals how to be more clear and concise in the future. This alone can be a surefire way to help teams be more productive! 

What I Need From You

A common reason for unproductive or frustrating workplace relationships is a lack of clarity in what two parties need from one another. Misalignment or misunderstandings are problems within themselves but can also create further frustration and communication issues. 

What I Need From You is a communication technique that encourages a small group to share their core needs simply and clearly with those affected and then invite the other person to respond with concision. Ensure everyone makes clear, concrete requests and to give clear requests too. By practicing this communication style, your team can fix existing issues and also find better ways to communicate needs and dependencies in the future.    

What I Need From You (WINFY)   #issue analysis   #liberating structures   #team   #communication   #remote-friendly   People working in different functions and disciplines can quickly improve how they ask each other for what they need to be successful. You can mend misunderstandings or dissolve prejudices developed over time by demystifying what group members need in order to achieve common goals. Since participants articulate core needs to others and each person involved in the exchange is given the chance to respond, you boost clarity, integrity, and transparency while promoting cohesion and coordination across silos: you can put Humpty Dumpty back together again!

Clear Communication

Some communication concepts are best explored with simple games that allow people to learn and engage while having fun. When it comes to helping a group communicate more clearly, this communication game is a great way of iterating quickly and building on learnings. 

Start by choosing a category of communication skill. Good examples include active listening techniques or purposes of communication. Have small groups each write a clear response to the concept on an index card and then vote for the clearest example (no voting on your own card!). Repeat and reflect to help a team share examples of best communication practices quickly while also learning the value of concision. 

Clear Communication   #thiagi   #skills   #idea generation   #communication   In any content area, one difference between a beginner and an expert is the latter’s ability to come up with different examples that belong to the same category. This activity strengthens your ability to come up with examples of communication concepts.

Customer Service Categories 

Clear, effective communication is a staple of great customer service. But learning how to anticipate the needs of others and respond concisely to their requests is helpful whatever your role. 

In this communication game, start with a customer service category such as ‘How to win customer’s trust’ or ‘What customers expect.’ Invite each person in the group to take turns to say an item that belongs to the category while listening to the items supplied to the other players. Ask the group to eliminate any player who hesitates for too long, repeats an item, or offers an item that doesn’t belong to the category. This game is great for encouraging the learning of key communication concepts but also for building core communication skills. 

Customer Service Categories   #customer service   #improv game   #issue analysis   #thiagi   #idea generation   Players take turns to supply items that belong to a specific category related to customer service. Any player who hesitates too long, repeats a previous item, or supplies an inappropriate item is eliminated. The last player left standing wins the game.


Gaps in a group’s shared understanding can be one of the biggest challenges to effective workplace communication. While these gaps are likely to occur when people from different backgrounds and disciplines work together, there are things we can do to close these gaps and facilitate better communication. 

In this communication activity, start by splitting a group into pairs and having one person role-play someone from 500-years-ago. Have one person explain a modern-day object or appliance – such as a mobile phone or airplane – to the person from 500 years ago without telling them what it is. Encourage those people to fully embrace the mindset of someone from the past and ask questions in character. When debriefing, be sure to ask how the group made assumptions in understanding and how they tried to navigate the knowledge gap with concision and clarity. 

500 year gap   #active listening   #speaking   #communication   #intercultural communication   #empathy   #improv   #em   In pairs, one person describes a modern appliance to someone from 500 years ago

Name That Tune

So many misunderstandings and breakdowns in communication can simply come from a gap in the information two parties posess. Communication games like Name That Tune are effective methods of teaching communication skills in an experiential manner.

In this game, start by getting team members into pairs. One person will start as the listener and the other will start out as a tapper. The goal of this communication exercise is for the tapper to choose a familiar song and to tap out the rhythm on the table with their fingertips. While tappers might expect listeners to easily guess the tune, the information gap between them can make this a nigh impossible task.

To demonstrate the power of sharing information when communicating with others, try running a second round where one person can hum or give a clue and see how different the results are.

Name That Tune   #communication   #learning   #thiagi   #skills   In his book, You Are Not So Smart, David McRaney describes an experiment by Elizabeth Newton that explains the illusion of transparency. This happens during the communication process when others are not privy to same information as we are. While we may think all of our thoughts and feelings are visible to others, we often overestimate the actual transfer of information. The participants pair up and one partner taps out a familiar song with fingertips. The finger-tapping partner predicts the listener will be able to guess the tune. These partners are surprised to discover that while the tune is obvious to them, their listening partner is unable to guess it.

Activities to help identify and improve your communication style

Communication is often more complicated than it first seems. Articulating our needs, listening properly and responding with care takes time and effort and people communicate differently. Learning your communication style and taking steps to become a more effective communicator by being aware of how others communicate can be truly transformative. 

If you or your team find that conflict arises easily or that some members regularly feel unheard or unable to speak, that’s likely a problem with clashing communication styles. While most of the communication techniques in this post can help improve communication generally, it can also be effective to reflect on how our individual communication styles can impact group dynamics. Dedicated effort on this can help unblock unproductive working processes and improve interpersonal relationships in a cinch! Let’s give it a go!

Grounded Assertiveness Communication

Navigating workplace communication successfully means not only identifying how we communicate, but how others do it too. With this exercise, start by introducing sets of cards with the four basic communication styles: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. 

Have pairs or small groups then draw a random communication style card and roleplay a scenario using the scenario on the card. When debriefing, be sure to reflect on the tone, energy, and body language generated by each scenario. Learning how different communication styles can impact the openness or productivity of a conversation can be transformative. Be sure to give this game a go if you want a quick and easy way to introduce communication styles to your team.   

Grounded Assertiveness Communication   #communication   #boldness   #openness   #body language   Framework: Consideration for Others x Openness of Communication Participants practice 4 modes of communication – Aggressive, assertive, passive, passive-aggressive in improv scenario

Yes and Picnic

For some groups, the traditional labels associated with communication styles can be limiting or difficult to get their heads around. Whatever framework you use, the end goal is the same – to help everyone communicate better while understanding that people communicate differently. 

Yes and Picnic is a great workplace communication activity to help show a group how our approach to a conversation can massively impact the outcome. Start by asking pairs to plan an imaginary event together and have four conversations on the subject. One person should enthusiastically want to do the activity while the other person responds with a response ranging from a simple no, to a yes and back and forth. By having each pair use responses that correspond with typical communication styles, they can see how these can impact a conversation and consider how to use them moving forward. 

Yes, and Picnic   #improv game   #yes, and   #active listening   #accepting offers   #flexibility   #specifics   #em   4 conversations about how to listen, acknowledge, and build

Reframing Silence

When working as a team, silence can be interpreted differently by everyone in a group. What might be necessary reflection time for one person might be considered awkward or a sign of non-participation by others. Using a communication activity to reframe silence and help quieter group members contribute is a great way to help a group grow and learn to sit with silence. 

Start by explaining all the ways in which silence can be interpreted, ask for understanding and space, and then gently encourage participation from quieter teammates. When it comes to effective workplace communication, helping everyone be understood while being given a chance to contribute can make all the difference. Try following this exercise with further activities and discussions and challenge the group to be aware of the lessons learned, whatever the workplace context.

From Silence to Vibrance   #managing difficulties   #group development   #online   #engagement   #team dynamics   Sometimes a number of people are silent and there is not necessarily a dominant person in the group. This often happens in cultures where being assertive is not valued.

Communication games to improve self awareness 

Some workplaces issues can stem from failing to understand or be aware of the ways in which our actions or communication styles can affect others. Being self-aware when we communicate often means being mindful of how we listen, speak and deliver information, all while also being aware of our own needs, triggers, and sore points. 

As with all communication skills, what might seem easy for one person or situation might not be easy in another. Recognizing that this is an important element of communication and then moving towards improving it is the first step on your communication journey. 

Everyday Hassles

Even the most self-aware of us can often have automatic responses and behaviors which can affect those around us. Think about how getting stuff in traffic might lead to us getting angry without thinking. Does that response actually help or make us feel good? 

This communication game is designed to show us that our automatic responses can be changed and we can improve behaviors that might otherwise affect our workplace relationships. Start by asking small groups to brainstorm alternative, better ways to respond to an annoying situation such as getting stuck in a traffic jam. By then considering alternative responses to a series of hassles and then identifying patterns, your group can each see how we might reconsider our automatic responses and be more self-aware of how we communicate with others.

Everyday Hassles   #issue resolution   #issue analysis   #stress management   #thiagi   It is a great activity to show participants that it is plausible to change our automatic behaviours and reactions to annoying situations.

Lasting Impression Elevator Pitch

Most people know that first impressions have a lasting impact that can make all the difference to how we later communicate. Being aware of how we introduce ourselves and our roles can be crucial at improving both our careers and workplace relationships. 

This exercise from Thiagi Group asks participants to prepare an elevator pitch for quickly describing themselves, their role and interests. By workshopping and reflecting on how they’ve presented themselves to others, your group will be more self aware in future communications. Plus, they’ll learn a valuable skill in being able to discuss themselves and their role with efficiency and clarity. Perfect when it comes to working with others and communicating better at work!

Lasting Impression Elevator Pitch   #communication   #elevator pitch   #thiagi   #skills   #action   How do you explain what you do to someone you meet for the first time and make a lasting impression? Being able to explain what you do may result in a career spurt—or at least help you avoid some embarrassment. Participants write a short pitch they can use to introduce themselves to clients or new acquaintances or to make unscheduled presentations. Later, they have the pitch critiqued and improved using a three-part rating system.

Blame or Praise 

A large part of using self awareness to be a better communicator is in gaining knowledge of how we can interpret situations because of preexisting conditions. This communication game is another great method for helping a group develop workplace awareness. Start by distributing the two different versions of the blame or praise handout among the group and ask them to record their responses. 

Both versions of the handout explain how a company chairman’s decisions either had a positive or negative effect on an outcome. Crucially, each handout differs in regards to whether the chairman intended the outcome to happen or not. By reflecting as a group, we can learn to separate intentions from outcomes and practically examine how certain conditions can impact how we perceive and communicate with others. 

Blame or Praise   #decision making   #communication   #thiagi   #issue analysis   This exercise is based on Joshua Knobe’s experiments on intentional activity and side effects. It explores how a person’s intentions affect our decision to assign blame or praise to a behaviour. Participants work with two different versions of the same situation. One version focuses on a harmful side effect of a decision, while the other deals with a helpful side effect. The debriefing discussion explores how we are more willing to blame for harmful side effects than praise for helpful side effects.

Social Virus

We’ve all been caught up in workplaces where positive or negative feelings have spread through the team. By considering how our emotions can be transmitted through a group, we can start to practice a greater degree of self-awareness and control in all of our workplace communications. 

Start by choosing one person at random to be the infector general, whose job it is to infect other people in the group with a negative facial expression. Once infected, a player’s role is to try and infect three other people. After a negative round, switch it up to a positive infection. Communication games like Social Virus are great for teaching concepts in a fun, memorable way while also inviting self-awareness. Try it at your next team meeting as part of a broader conversation on group communication for even better results!

Social Virus   #emotional intelligence   #positive psychology   #teamwork   #thiagi   #action   #issue analysis   We all know how quickly the cold or flu can spread through the office, but we don’t often think about how contagious our emotions can be. This exercise provides a brief simulation of how quickly both negative and positive emotions can be transmitted. One participant is selected to be the Negative Infector General and asked to infect others with a negative emotion. During the next round, you pretend to select another participant to be the Positive Infector General. At the end of the second round, participants are surprised to find out that they became more positive even though no one initiated the emotion.

Playing with Status

Organizations aren’t flat. Sometimes, communication between people at differing levels of seniority or expertise can feel tough because of this imbalance, but it doesn’t have to be! Playing with Status is a communication game where pairs roleplay a simple workplace situation multiple times with different levels of status. 

Being aware of how power dynamics can not only affect how others speak to you but how you might speak to them can be transformative when it comes to improving communication at work. When we’re made to feel inferior in status or are simply unempathetic to how status affects others, the result can be damaging. Don’t let this be the case in your organization!  

Playing with Status   #teambuilding   #communication   #team   #thiagi   Participants are given a short script of 8-10 lines of neutral dialogue. The scene may depict a job interview (see the sample below) or a coaching session. Pairs take turns enacting the scene, playing with the status relationships through non-verbal behaviours.

Communication techniques for giving feedback

All teams have times when they need to reflect, debrief and share feedback. Done correctly, it’s one of the best ways to improve group dynamics and be more effective in your working practices. Done incorrectly, poorly delivered feedback or unfocused discussion on what went wrong can do more harm than good. These communication activities are designed to help a group give better, more focused feedback that helps everyone share how they feel in a productive manner.

Feedback: Start, Stop, Continue

Effective communication is all about concision and empathy, though when teams come to giving one another feedback, that can often go out of the window. Communication frameworks such as this exercise are great for helping groups have productive feedback sessions that build trust and openness. 

Have small groups work to write feedback to each other using a simple start, stop and continue structure. By filling in the gaps in set sentences, each person is able to deliver consistent feedback that is simple and useful to everyone. Finish by having each person deliver feedback verbally and then handing the post-it to the person addressed. You’ll find that feedback is not only more effectively transmitted but also received, and without the potential for as many difficult, unproductive discussions. 

Feedback: Start, Stop, Continue   #hyperisland   #skills   #feedback   #remote-friendly   Regular, effective feedback is one of the most important ingredients in building constructive relationships and thriving teams. Openness creates trust and trust creates more openness. Feedback exercises aim to support groups to build trust and openness and for individuals to gain self-awareness and insight. Feedback exercises should always be conducted with thoughtfulness and high awareness of group dynamics. This is an exercise for groups or teams that have worked together for some time and are familiar with giving and receiving feedback. It uses the words “stop”, “start” and “continue” to guide the feedback messages.

Principles of Effective Feedback

Outcomes and frameworks shaped by a group are often more effective than those simply given to them. What works for one team might not work for another, and this communication exercise is all about coming up with a set of rules for giving feedback that is bespoke and designed by the team that will use it. 

Start by working in pairs to give examples of when they have received effective and ineffective feedback. As a group, you’ll then brainstorm principles of effective and ineffective feedback and agree on a set to use in feedback sessions moving forward. By finishing with a discussion of how to ensure these principles are followed, you can have more meaningful and productive communications around feedback. You’ll also have a readily usable resource for the future! 

Principles of Effective Feedback   #hyperisland   #skills   #feedback   The purpose of this exercise is for a group to discuss, define, and come to agreement around key principles of effective feedback. Participants discuss examples of effective and ineffective feedback in pairs, then work together to define “effective feedback.” Then, as a group, they create a list of principles that they will aim to work by.

One Breath Feedback

Unfocused communication can be frustrating and unproductive for all involved, especially when it comes to giving and receiving feedback. Some people might feel intimidated when giving feedback at the end of a session or alternatively, someone might continue speaking long after their point has been made. 

Avoid these situations and create a more productive, concise feedback culture with this communication exercise. Simply ask your group to give feedback using just a single breath – often just 20-30 seconds per person. By clearly outlining this rule in advance, your team will also have to carefully consider what they might say too – a great result for any workplace communication! 

One breath feedback   #closing   #feedback   #action   This is a feedback round in just one breath that excels in maintaining attention: each participants is able to speak during just one breath … for most people that’s around 20 to 25 seconds … unless of course you’ve been a deep sea diver in which case you’ll be able to do it for longer.

In conclusion 

Strong, effective communication in the workplace is crucial for effective teams, though, without considered effort, it can become problematic. 

We know that when group communication breaks down or is in need of improvement, it can be difficult to know where to begin. By using communication games, team members can find a framework for moving forward, improve their listening skills and develop their emotional intelligence too!

Ready to go further? Explore this guide on how to plan an effective workshop for the next time you’re leading a session of communication skills.

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15 Communication Exercises and Games for the Workplace

Communication exercises for work

Cooperation and collaboration underpin how we work together, and done brilliantly, can determine our competitive advantage.

At the human level, our social resources play a massive part in our happiness and well-being in the workplace.

We can brush it all off as too soft and fuzzy, or we can embrace communication as one of the keys to an emotionally intelligent workplace. But because the way we get along is so fundamental to organizational success and human flourishing, many more companies are focusing on the latter.

In this article, you will find 15 communication exercises, games, and tips to help you improve teamwork and collaboration in your workplace. If you have any great activities that we haven’t covered, do let us know!

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Communication Exercises (PDF) for free . These science-based tools will help you and those you work with build better social skills and better connect with others.

This Article Contains:

What are communication exercises and games, the importance of communication in the workplace, 7 tips on improving communication skills at work, 3 games and exercises to improve workplace communication skills, 3 activities to improve communication between employees, 3 active listening games and exercises for the workplace, 3 team building communication games and exercises, 3 communication exercises and activities for groups, a take-home message.

Typically, communication is seen as a ‘soft’ skill—because it’s not easily quantifiable. Compared to profits, losses, and even risk, it is intangible. Unless it’s either terrible or completely absent. Communication exercises and games are interactional activities that aim to develop how we relate to one another, including how we share information and get along.

They can be one-on-one or team exercises, but the goal is the same: they help us develop our interpersonal skills and improve our capacity to relate.

Communication is a whole lot more than just talking—although, that is a fundamental part of relationship-building and knowledge-transfer. To really grasp how big of an impact it has, we can touch on some of the theory. Surprisingly, taking a step back to look at some theory can sometimes be just as helpful, if not more so, than ‘getting on with it’.

What are Workplace Communication Skills?

Communication Skills

Succinctly, they help us convey information to others in an effective way. And, they go above and beyond coherent speech in many ways—we talk, we use silence, body language, tone of voice, and eye-contact—voluntarily and unconsciously. With a broad and beautiful rainbow of ways to communicate, then, how do we know what’s considered a skill? What’s noise and what’s a message? What matters?

Drawing on empirical literature on communication skills in the workplace, we can look at Maguire and Pitcheathly’s (2002) study of doctors for a good example. In medical professions, it’s particularly critical not just to extract and interpret information—often, from conversation partners who lack crucial information themselves—but to convey it empathetically and with clarity.

The authors described several key communication skills as follows:

– The ability to elicit patients’ problems and concerns.

Swap ‘patients’ with clients, co-workers, managers, and so forth, and we can see that this is readily applicable in many other work situations. That is, the ability to understand, explore and clarify what others are talking about, and to solicit more details if and when the situation requires it.

Doctors also described effective communication as being able to summarize what the patient/other had related to correct information and display understanding.

Benefits: In an objective sense, we need to extract information so we can channel our efforts accordingly. Deadlines, role boundaries, budgets, and the ‘why, how, what’ of tasks. But active listening encourages pleasant social interactions, which in turn, these boost our well-being and life satisfaction (Baumeister & Leary, 1995).

– The ability to deliver information effectively.

The doctors studied also checked with their patients what their beliefs were about what was wrong. In other workplaces, team situations call for clarity—a shared goal is the ideal, but very often we come at situations with at least a few different beliefs. Alternatively, we may be quick to assume that others understand what we are saying when situations actually require further explanation.

To deal with this, the doctors:

  • Reorganized information where required (e.g. into categories);
  • Checked that patients understood them before moving on; and
  • Checked whether they wanted further information.

Benefits: Our messages need to make sense if we want to convey information in a meaningful way. That applies both to our language and the extent to which we empathize. Effective information delivery helps us define goals , transfer knowledge, and successfully accomplish shared tasks.

– Discussing treatment options.

Communication, in its most basic form at least, is dyadic—a two-way, and (one would hope) mutually beneficial flow of information. In this study, giving a diagnosis and treatment options was only one part of the job. Doctors described how important it was to see whether patients wanted to participate in choosing their treatment.

They determined their perspectives before decision-making; in other settings, this is inviting participation and engagement.

Benefits: As discussed, information delivery is crucial, but our focus here is opening up discussions. Giving others a chance to contribute allows us to factor in more perspectives and diverse opinions. We can encourage more engagement, commitment, and complement one another’s different skills for better results.

– Being supportive.

Doctors described empathy in terms of feedback and validation. They showed that they understood how their patients were feeling to relate at an interpersonal level; where they didn’t know, they at least made a stab at empathizing through educated guesses.

Benefits: We don’t need to look too far to find sources of workplace stress that might be impacting our colleagues. By empathizing, we not only build better relationships, but we show that we are available as key ‘job resources’ – social support for those around us to reduce the negative impacts of our job demands (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007).

Put even more simply, we make work a nicer place to be while avoiding unnecessary conflict.

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Maguire and Pitcheathly’s (2002) clinical review offered several learning tips, the first of which was an emphasis on proper communication skills training. As well as identifying key communication deficits and their root causes, these included several that relate to our knowledge of positive psychology and communication.

3 Tips for Creating a Supportive Learning Environment

First, we need to create an optimal learning environment if we want to maximize our improvement; in this sense:

  • Communication skills need to be modeled and practiced, not simply taught – a nod to experiential learning, which is frequently emphasized in emotional intelligence learning (SEL) (Haertel et al., 2005; Kolb, 2014);
  • They are best learned and practiced in safe, supportive environments, which studies show are central to learning behavior (Edmonson et al., 2004); and
  • Constructive performance feedback is helpful, but “only once all positive comments have been exhausted” (Maguire & Pitcheathly, 2002: 699). Peer feedback is also a useful job resource when it comes to work engagement; as a form of social support, it can help stimulate our learning and development—that includes communication skills (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; Bakker et al., 2008).

4 Tips for Enhancing Communication Skills

We can also look at the business literature for some more support of what we identified earlier as key communication skills. Breaking these down into tips, here are 4 fairly broad ways we can enhance our communication skills to increase our effectiveness and well-being.

4 Ways to Enhance Communication Skills

– Work on your emotional perception

Perception of emotions is a key component of Mayer and Salovey’s emotional intelligence framework and covers the ability to read others’ non-verbal cues as well as their potential moods (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

At the individual level, we can make conscious use of this EQ skill to gauge how others are feeling. Is your colleague overwhelmed, perhaps? Is now the best possible time to ask them for help on a task? Or, have you noticed someone in the corner of the room who has been dying to contribute to the meeting?

– Practice self-awareness

Our non-verbal behavior and the way we speak is critical. Different studies vary on exactly how much of our intended message (and credibility) is non-verbal, but it’s undoubtedly important (DePaulo & Friedman, 1998; Knapp et al., 2013).

When the words we speak convey one message and our body another, we risk confusion and potentially, we jeopardize our intended impact. To enhance our influencing skills and the quality of our working relationships with others, it helps to practice being aware of your own non-verbal behaviors.

– Give others a chance to engage

Communication is a two-way street, at the very least. And as more than one collective intelligence researcher has pointed out, teams are more than the sum of their parts (Woolley et al., 2010).

When we get together as humans, we need a chance to communicate just as much as we need our individual ‘smarts’, and essentially, it comes down to social sensitivity—emotional perception once again. We can look at Leary’s Rose for more insights on how and why, but this time, the tip is to understand when to communicate or step back (Leary, 2004).

– Practice listening

Talking is essentially a form of content delivery, and it’s not really communication unless we listen. Active listening involves engaging with our co-workers and bringing empathy to the table to enhance the quality of our dialogue.

Sometimes mentioned along with ‘reflective questioning’, it involves, “restating a paraphrased version of the speaker’s message, asking questions when appropriate, and maintaining moderate to high nonverbal conversational involvement” (Weger Jr et al., 2014: 13). It helps us create more clarity, take in information more effectively, and develop our workplace relationships through empathetic engagement (Nikolova et al., 2013).

Some of these activities will require a facilitator, and some just a group of colleagues. None of them require professional facilitation per se, and any participant can easily volunteer to keep the process on track.

1. Back-to-Back Drawing

This exercise is about listening, clarity and developing potential strategies when we communicate. In communicating expectations, needs, and more, it helps to clarify and create common ground. This can show what happens when we don’t…

For this activity, you’ll need an even number of participants so everybody can have a partner. Once people have paired off, they sit back-to-back with a paper and pencil each. One member takes on the role of a speaker, and the other plays the part of the listener.

Over five to ten minutes, the speaker describes a geometric image from a prepared set, and the listener tries to turn this description into a drawing without looking at the image.

Then, they talk about the experience, using several of the following example questions:

Speaker Questions

  • What steps did you take to ensure your instructions were clear? How could these be applied in real-life interactions?
  • Our intended messages aren’t always interpreted as we mean them to be. While speaking, what could you do to decrease the chance of miscommunication in real-life dialogue?

Listener Questions

  • What was constructive about your partner’s instructions?
  • In what ways might your drawing have turned out differently if you could have communicated with your partner?

2. Effective Feedback in “I” Mode

Defensiveness is a root cause of miscommunication and even conflict in the workplace. We’re not always ready to receive and learn from criticism, especially when it’s delivered insensitively. This exercise introduces “I” statements, which describe others’ behavior objectively while allowing the speaker to express the impact on their feelings.

Employees can pair off or work alone, in either case, they will need a worksheet of imaginary scenarios like this one . Together or solo, they can create “I” statements about how the imaginary scenario makes them feel. When done in pairs, they can practice giving each other feedback on ‘meaning what you say’ without triggering defensiveness in the other.

3. Storytelling with CCSG

Storytelling is an engaging way to convey information; when it’s positive information, narratives are also highly effective means of motivating and inspiring others (Tomasulo & Pawelski, 2012). Appreciative Inquiry, for example, is one type of positive psychology intervention that uses storytelling in a compelling way, as a means to share hopes and build on our shared strengths.

Through this exercise, we can practice structuring our narratives—essentially we’ll have one ‘information delivery’ tool to draw on when we feel it might help (like the doctors we looked at earlier). CCSG is a structure, and it involves:

C : Characters C : Conflict S : Struggle G : Goal

To use the structure as an exercise, participants simply relate a narrative using CCSG. For example, one team member might describe a past success of the group or team, where their collective strengths helped them succeed. The Characters would then be whoever was involved, the Conflict may be a challenge the team faced (a new growth opportunity, perhaps).

The Struggle might be something like geographical distance between team members, and the Goal would be just that: their objective or success.

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Because communication is so multi-faceted, we’ve included a selection of different activity types. These interpersonal and team communication games cover topics such as misinterpreting information, awareness of our assumptions and engaging others.

1. Direction Direction

This activity is a slight twist on Chinese Whispers in that it uses a complex set of instructions rather than just a sentence. And here, we have only one link rather than an entire chain of people. Otherwise, the idea is identical—information gets misinterpreted thanks to noise, but we can improve our verbal communication and listening skills to minimize this risk.

First, pick a game with enough instructions that the information is a challenge to memorize. With 2+ co-workers, pick one person (a speaker) to whom you’ll explain the instructions. They are responsible for passing the information on to the rest of their team. The group then needs to play the game with only the instructions from the speaker.

Once they’ve finished the game, start some dialogue about what happened:

  • Was there any lack of clarity around the instructions?
  • What might have contributed to this confusion?
  • What are some key things to be aware of when we give or listen to instructions?

This activity comes from The Wrecking Yard of Games and Activities ( Amazon ).

Here’s an exercise on the pivotal role of clarification. When it comes to tasks and expectations, it goes without saying that clarity helps us avoid lots of unwanted things. And clarity plays a role on a larger scale when it comes to our roles more broadly, in fact, it’s a psychological resource under the Job Demands-Resources model (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007).

Succinctly, ambiguity contributes to stress, and clarity is empowering—something that is easy to overlook and which this game reminds us of.

Any number of co-workers can participate in this very simple mime game. You’ll need a list of topics for people to act out, then invite players to break off into groups of two. In these pairs, they will take turns being a mime and being an asker. The mime reads the card, then attempts to act out what’s on it (you’ll first need to decide on a theme, like weather, activities, or what have you).

While the asker can pose questions, the mime can only act out their answers.

It might unearth an awareness of implicit assumptions, bringing our conscious attention to the role these play in our judgments. Potential discussion questions will help you unpack this further:

  • How did your questioning skills help you comprehend what was going on?
  • What value do questioning skills have when we’re trying to understand others?
  • What factors sometimes prevent us from asking questions when they might actually be useful?

3. Let’s Face It

This exercise from The Big Book of Conflict-Resolution Games is about self-awareness . How large of a role does it really play, and how does it influence our communication?

There is no limit to the group size for this game, which requires only enough pens and paper for everybody. It doesn’t take very long, either, and can be played in as little as ten to twenty minutes—perfect for breaking up the day.

Start with groups (or sub-groups) of between four and ten players; in each of these, someone will need to volunteer as a facilitator. This facilitator simply keeps the game on track and gets the discussion going afterward.

Each player writes down a feeling on a small piece of paper, folds it, then passes it to the volunteer facilitator. From him or her, they take another piece that someone else has written, and tries to act out that feeling to the rest of their group—using only their facial expressions. The other participants try to guess that emotion and this should lead to a talk about the role of expressions. Useful discussion points include:

  • What feelings do we understand the easiest, when only facial expressions are used? Why might that be?
  • Describe some contexts where facial expressions play a particularly important role in communication?
  • In what ways can facial expressions influence our ability to deal with misunderstandings?

How to improve communication skills at work – Adriana Girdler

Through active listening, we can enhance our understanding of other people’s perspectives (Drollinger et al., 2006). Practicing it during our interactions with others enables us to validate their feelings and potentially avoid the stress of misunderstandings.

Exercises that boost our active listening skills help us engage better, through empathy, body language, and non-judgment where required (Rogers & Farson, 1957).

At the end of the day, active listening games can impact positively on our relationships by encouraging us to practice specific techniques, and these, in turn, find support in the empirical literature (Weger et al., 2014).

1. Concentric Circles

This large group exercise works best when you already have a topic for discussion. It is used a lot during inclusive strategy sessions, where diverse opinions are valuable but team size can hamper rather than facilitate good communication. For this exercise, everybody has a handout that summarizes the goals of the discussion.

Two circles of chairs are set up, one inside the other. Participants who sit in the middle are ‘talkers’ while those in the outer ring are ‘watchers’, and these roles should be allocated prior to the exercise. Armed with their handouts, talkers begin to engage with the topic. They use the goals as a guide for the conversation, while the watchers listen carefully and make notes.

After fifteen minutes of discussion, the watchers and talkers switch circles—those who were listening before now sit on the inner circle for a fifteen-minute conversation. It can be on the pre-chosen topic or on a different one, but the activity must conclude with a debrief.

During this debrief, they reflect collectively on the experience itself:

  • How was being a watcher, compared to being a listener?
  • What did you feel when you were observing from the outer circle, listening but not contributing? How did this influence your learnings, rather than providing your own input?
  • In what ways did being a watcher impact your perspectives of the talkers? What about their dynamics?

This gamestorming communications exercise is based on a team coaching technique by Time To Grow Global .

2. 3-minute Vacation

Here is another talker and listener exercise that can be done in pairs. In a larger group of participants, this can be done multiple times as players pair up with different conversation partners. And in each pair, of course, team members will take turns being listener and talker.

The talker discusses their dream vacation for three minutes, describing what they would like best about it but without specifying where it should be. While they talk, the listener pays close attention to the explicit and underlying details, using only non-verbal cues to show that they are listening.

After the 3-minute vacation, the listener summarizes the key points of their conversation partner’s dream vacation—as a holiday sales pitch. After they’ve ‘pitched’ the ideal vacation spot in the space of a few minutes, the pair discuss how accurately the listener understood the talker.

They outline how they could improve their dialogue with regard to active listening, then swap roles. A twist on this team coaching exercise might involve allowing the listener to make notes during the talker’s description, revealing them as a point of discussion only after they deliver the ‘sales pitch’.

Used with permission from Time To Grow Global .

3. Pet Peeve

How about a chance to blow off some steam and get that empathetic listening ear at the same time? And at the same time, helping your co-worker practice active listening?

In this game, one colleague has a full 60 seconds to rant about something which irks them. It’s best if this isn’t inappropriate for the workplace, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be work-related. If you hate pop-up ads, for instance, you’ve already got great material for your rant.

The first colleague (Player A) simply lets loose while the second person (Player B) listens carefully, trying to cut through the noise by singling out:

  • What Player A really cares about – for instance, smooth user experience on the internet;
  • What they value – e.g. clarity and transparent advertisements;
  • What matters to them – e.g. getting work done, doing their online shopping in peace, or a more intuitive, user-friendly adblocker.

Player B then ‘decodes’ the rant by repeating it back to Player A, isolating the key positive points without the fluff or negativity. They can use some variant on the following sentence stems to guide their decoding:

  • “You value…”
  • “You care about…”
  • “You believe that…matters a lot”

Then, they can switch over and repeat the game again. As you can probably see, the activity is aimed at helping teammates appreciate that feedback has positive goals.

When we give attention to our relationships as well as the task(s) at hand, we create trust and collaborate more effectively. The games and exercises in this section are about connecting on a human level so that we can communicate with more emotional intelligence in the workplace.

1. Personal Storytelling

In large organizations especially, we may only bring a part of ourselves to the workplace. If we want to communicate empathetically and build relationships with co-workers—important social resources—personal storytelling is one way we can build our teams while developing communication skills.

There is no set time or place for storytelling, but it works best when a story is followed by an invitation to the group to give input. Feel free to use the CCSG technique described earlier in this article, and that the speaker uses a reflective tone, rather than purely informative, when addressing the group.

To try out personal storytelling, set aside a team-building afternoon, meeting, or workshop. Ask the group to each prepare a reading that they will share. Here are some ideas that nicely blend the emotional with the professional:

  • Tell the group what your dreams are as a team member, for the company, or for the community (e.g. Whitney & Cooperrider, 2011);
  • Tell them about your first job, or your very first working experience;
  • If you’ve got a budget, give team members a small amount of money each to do something good with. Then, let them share the story of what they did with it;
  • When onboarding new people, invite the group to bring in an object which symbolizes their wishes for the new team member. Then, let them share the story behind the object.

2. I’m Listening

We learn from our peers’ feedback, and that learning is most productive in a supportive work environment (Odom et al., 1990; Goh, 1998). Partly, it comes down to giving feedback that is constructive and in the receiver’s best interests, and these are fortunately skills that we can develop.

I’m Listening can be played with an even number of participants, as they will need to find a partner for this one-on-one game. In the book mentioned below, there are also hand-outs, but you can prepare your own for this activity. Ideally, more than one ‘Talker Scenario’ and more than one ‘Listener Scenario’:

  • A ‘Talker Scenario’ will describe something like a bad day at work, or a problem with a client. In a small paragraph, it should outline what’s gone wrong (maybe it’s everything from a cracked smartphone screen to a delay during your commute). This scenario is followed by an instruction for the Talker to play a role: “ You call up your colleague for some support ” or “ You decide to let off some steam by talking to your co-worker ”.
  • A ‘Listener Scenario’ is a bit different. In several sentences, the scenario outlines a situation where they are approached by a colleague with problems but might have other things on their plate. They might be up to their ears in work, or their colleague’s complaints might seem trivial. After reading the scenario of their context (e.g. it’s a hectic day, your computer’s just crashed), the Listener’s role is to act it out while they respond, for example: “ Show with your body language that you’re far too busy ”.

The exercise is a good starting point for a conversation about constructive listening strategies. Together, the pairs can come up with more productive, empathetic, and appropriate responses, with the acting experience fresh in mind. Some discussion points include:

  • As Talker, what feedback did your Listener appear to give?
  • How did you feel about the feedback you received?
  • How might you create some listening and feedback approaches based on this?

This game comes from The Big Book of Conflict-Resolution Games ( Amazon ).

3. “A What?”

Inspired by the kid’s game Telephone, this exercise draws on different elements of effective communication between team members, while highlighting where things often go wrong. It works with any sized team and requires only a facilitator and some novel objects that can be passed between participants. So, plush toys, tennis balls, or similar—but the more imaginative they are, the better.

Players stand in a circle and pass two of the objects along to each other. One object should be passed clockwise, and the other counter-clockwise. Prior to passing on the toy, ball, or what have you, players ask something about the object and answer a question about it.

Essentially, the message will change as the object gets passed along, and players will need to stay sharp to remember who they are passing and talking to.

For instance:

  • The facilitator starts out by handing one of the items to the person on their right, saying “Ellen, this is a tattered elephant with pink ears.”
  • Ellen then needs to ask “A What?”, prompting you to repeat the item’s name.
  • Taking the item, Ellen turns to her right and repeats the same with Pedro: “Pedro, this is a tattered elephant with pink ears.” Pedro asks, “A What?”
  • Before she passes the item to Pedro, however, Ellen’s answer to his question must come back to the facilitator, who says it aloud. This way, it’s possible to see if and how the message changes as it goes around the group. By the time it reaches Hassan, who is Person 5, for instance, it might be “A grey elephant with tattered ears.”
  • Once people get the gist of how to play with one item, the facilitator adds in the second by passing it to the left.

Debrief with a chat about the communication that went on. Did anybody end up with both items at once? How did they cope? Did others help them?

Other questions include:

  • How did communication look with a longer or shorter chain? Where was the weakest link, and why?
  • In what ways did players support each other?
  • How did you feel during the game? What was the impact of that emotion on you and on others?

This exercise comes from a Teambuilding Facilitation Manual: A Guide to Leading and Facilitating Teambuilding Activities , by Penn State University.

A lot of team situations are about creativity. We each have unique experiences, competencies, and viewpoints, the way we collaborate inevitably decides whether we synergize or fall flat. Here are two activities that will help your team work together creatively to solve a problem, as well as one about the role of silence.

1. Crazy Comic

This is a fun game in communication skills that will also give team members some creative freedom. They will need to communicate those creative ideas to one another, but also engage in joint decision-making for the activity to be a success. And that activity is to create a comic together, using their complementary skills and communication to realize a shared vision.

You’ll need more than 9 participants for this activity, as well as paper, drawing, and coloring materials for each colleague. From your larger group of co-workers, let them form smaller groups of about 3-6 participants and tell them their task is to produce a unique comic strip, with one frame from each person. So, a 6-person group will make a 6-frame strip, and so forth.

Between them, they need to decide the plot of the comic, who will be carrying out which tasks, and what the frames will contain. The catch is that they all need to draw at the same time, so they will not be seeing the preceding frame in the strip. Make it extra-hard if you like, by instructing them not to look at one another’s creative progress as they draw, either.

Afterward, trigger some discussion about the way they communicated; some example questions include:

  • How critical was communication throughout this exercise?
  • What did you find the toughest about this activity?
  • Why was it important to make the decisions together?

This exercise was adapted from 104 Activities that build ( Amazon ).

2. Blindfold Rope Square

This is similar in some ways to the Back-to-Back Drawing exercise above. That is, the Blindfold Rope Square exercise challenges us to look at how we communicate verbally, then think about ways to develop our effectiveness. In a large group of participants or employees, particularly, we often need to cut through the noise with a clear and coherent message—and this game can be played with even a large group of people.

You will need about ten meters of rope and a safe place for employees to walk around blindfolded in. So, flat and ideally with no walls or tripping hazards.

  • Explain first up that the goal of the task is effective verbal communication, and give each participant a blindfold.
  • Once they have gathered in your chosen ‘safe space’, invite them to put on their blindfolds and turn around a few times so they are (reasonably) disoriented in the space.
  • Coil the rope and put it where at least one participant can reach it, then explain that you’ve put the rope ‘somewhere on the floor’.
  • Tell them their shared aim is to collaborate: first to find the rope, then to lay it out into a perfect square together on the floor.
  • Let the participants go about it, taking care not to let any accidents occur. Tell them to let you know once they’ve agreed that the job is done.
  • Finally, everybody removes their blindfolds, and it’s time for feedback. This is the perfect opportunity to congratulate them or start a discussion about what they might do differently the next time around.

Find more information on the exercise here .

3. Zen Counting

Silence is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it gives us a chance to reflect, in others it creates a space for others to take the floor. Nonetheless, we’re often inclined to view it as awkward—a gap to be filled or avoided—rather than a chance to listen. According to Shannon and Weaver’s Theory of Communication (1998), this simply creates more ‘noise’ and negatively impacts our ability to reach resolutions at work (Smith, 2018).

Zen counting is incredibly straightforward: team members simply sit in a circle but face outward. With nobody in particular starting first, they are asked to count from one to ten as a group, but each member can only say one number. Nothing else is said. When someone repeats or interrupts another group member, they start again from one.

The idea is to facilitate a sense of ‘okayness’ with being uncomfortable and silent, while team members practice letting others speak.

Imagine attending a communication workshop, in purely lecture format. Or, reading about how to communicate without actually trying what you learn. Communication exercises may not feel 100% natural at first, but they let us work with—rather than live in fear of—that discomfort. Whether it’s Chinese Whispers or making a rope square blindfolded, we can shake up old habits and create new ones by stepping into our ‘stretch zones’.

Try out activities that are best suited to your organizational goals so they have the most relevance. If you’re focused on innovation, try a creative communication exercise like Mime. If you’re a cross-functional team, why not try out an activity that challenges assumptions?

Tell us if any of these are particularly useful, and let us know if you’ve got tweaks for this current set of activities. What has worked in the past for your team?

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Communication Exercises (PDF) for free .

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  • Drollinger, T., Comer, L. B., & Warrington, P. T. (2006). Development and validation of the active empathetic listening scale. Psychology & Marketing, 23 (2), 161-180.
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  • Kolb, D. A. (2014). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development . FT Press.
  • Leary, T. (2004). Interpersonal diagnosis of personality: A functional theory and methodology for personality evaluation . Wipf and Stock Publishers.
  • Maguire, P., & Pitceathly, C. (2002). Key communication skills and how to acquire them. British Medical Journal, 325 (7366), 697-700.
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  • Rogers, C. R., & Farson, R. E. (1957). Active listening. Industrial Relations Center of the University of Chicago .
  • Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, cognition and personality, 9 (3), 185-211.
  • Shannon, C. E. (1998). Communication in the presence of noise. Proceedings of the IEEE, 86 (2), 447-457.
  • Smith, K. (2018). Silence: The Secret Communication Tool. Retrieved from
  • Tomasulo, D. J., & Pawelski, J. O. (2012). Happily ever after: The use of stories to promote positive interventions. Psychology, 3 (12), 1189.
  • Weger Jr, H., Castle Bell, G., Minei, E. M., & Robinson, M. C. (2014). The relative effectiveness of active listening in initial interactions. International Journal of Listening, 28 (1), 13-31.
  • Whitney, D., & Cooperrider, D. (2011). Appreciative inquiry: A positive revolution in change . ReadHowYouWant. com.
  • Woolley, A. W., Chabris, C. F., Pentland, A., Hashmi, N., & Malone, T. W. (2010). Evidence for a collective intelligence factor in the performance of human groups. Science, 330 (6004), 686-688.

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Very useful, insightful, and helpful. Great simple and applicable source on communication topic. Many thanks for share, and nice to looks for how far you go with other valuable topics

Shaikh Muhammad Ali - Islamabad, Pakistan

Thanks Cathy for putting up this article. It is simply amazing. I intend to use three of your exercises in my upcoming workshop on communication in the 2nd week of June, 2022 🙂


I think this is an excellent resource with a great outcome. Thanks for putting this together. Very useful for my Communicare sessions.


Such an informative article

Diana Barnett

Excellent content and I can’t wait to use some of this content as well. Crediting the source(s) of course


Thank you so much for creating and sharing these tools. I too would like to be able to utilize them as a resource for my workshop. Sources credited/included. I am a firm believer in the power of soft skills, especially listening and communication. The world will be a better place once we’ve mastered them.

Dr.Mani Arul Nandhi

Very insightful and interesting ways of training people for better workplace communication skills. Enjoyed it.

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21 Fun Communication Games for Teams in 2024

You found our list of the best communication games for teams.

Communication games are activities and exercises that improve teammates’ ability to exchange information. For instance, Can You Hear Me Now, Telephone, and Mad Gab. The purpose of these games is to show the importance of clear communication to strengthen employees’ verbal and nonverbal conversation skills.

These exercises are a type of team building game and are similar to connection games and relationship building games .


This list includes:

  • examples of communication activities for teams
  • communication team building activities
  • communication exercises for teams
  • oral communication activities for adults
  • activities to improve communication skills in the workplace

Here we go!

List of communication games

Here is a list of fun games to improve communication skills at work.

1. Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now? is one of the easiest virtual communication games. To play the game, participants need paper and pens. Each round, one player takes a turn describing an item for other participants to draw one shape or line at a time. For instance, the sun, a tree, a stoplight, or a cat. The object of the game is for players to try to guess the object before the drawing is complete.

The game emphasizes the importance of giving clear instructions, and reveals how seemingly simple statements can have unexpected interpretations. Also, it is fun to see how the drawings turn out.

See our guide to Can you hear me now? and check out more online games for virtual teams .

2. Back-to-back Drawing

Back-to-back Drawing is a drawing activity that centers around description and active listening. Participants pair up and sit back to back. Player one holds a completed picture or drawing, and player two has a blank piece of paper and a writing instrument. Player one must tell a story or describe the picture to player two, and player two must try to draw the described scene. At the end of the activity, the two players put the pictures side by side and compare the images.

This exercise tests participants’ listening and instruction-giving abilities. Typically, player two is not allowed to ask questions while drawing. However, you can change this rule and allow players to have a dialogue during the game instead of a one-sided conversation. You may even want to play the game both ways, using two different pictures, and judge whether the end images are more alike when players are allowed to talk back and forth during the exercise.

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Taboo is a word-based party game that requires creative thinking and communicating. At the start of each round, a player draws a card from the deck. Each card has a taboo word alongside a list of other banned words. The cardholder must help other players guess the phrase without using any of the words on the card. For example, if the word was coffee, other banned words might include brew, beans, cafe, caffeine, and java.

This exercise challenges players to think of alternate ways to explain concepts, which can be useful when teammates do not understand an idea the first time around.

You can play an unofficial version of Taboo online .

Check out more team building card and board games .

Mirror is one of the most straightforward nonverbal communication games. Players partner up and face each other. One player is the leader, and the other the follower. The leader begins to move without speaking, and the follower matches each movement. Participants must rely entirely on body language. After a few minutes, the players switch roles and repeat the exercise.

5. Birthday Lineup

The Birthday Lineup is one of the easiest nonverbal communication games for big groups. Without speaking, participants must line up in chronological order by birth month and day. For example, participants could write down birthdays, or gesture by holding up fingers for the month and day. Once all players are in place, participants say their birthdays one by one, and reveal whether or not the line moves in perfect order.

Check out more large group icebreaker games .

Yes? Is one of the most high-energy communication games. Eye contact is the most important form of communication in the activity. Players stand in a circle. The participant whose turn it is locks eyes with a teammate across the circle and asks, “yes?” to which the teammate responds, “yes.” The players then proceed to switch places. As the game goes on, players can start new chains so that more than one person moves or speaks at once. The more chains that are active, the harder time players have concentrating and responding. This game teaches players to remain alert and multitask in busy environments.

7. Blindfold Stroll

Blindfold Stroll is one of the best team building communication games. To do this activity:

  • Set up an obstacle course
  • Blindfold one player
  • Ask other players to guide the player through the course by shouting directions.

To make the game more fun and exciting, you can time course completion or introduce traps and penalties. Whatever way you play, this activity emphasizes the need to give precise instructions, and gives teammates practice giving each other directions.

8. Lip Reading Liars

Lip Reading Liars is one of the most fun team communication games. You can play this game in-person, online, or in hybrid work settings. The premise of the game is that selected players must interpret the meaning of a scene without sound.

Each round, one or two players either wear noise-blocking earphones or turn the sound off on their computer. Then, two to four other players act out a scene for three minutes or less. The interpreters must try to read lips and body language to figure out the details of the scene. When the sketch is complete, then listeners take off the headphones or turn the audio back on and summarize the scene.

Sketches can either be improv or scripted. Check out more group improv games , and these improv games to play on Zoom .

Mad Gab is one of the most fun verbal communication games. In this game, players read out a set of random words that initially seem like nonsense, yet sound like a common saying when read in the right way. Players must guess the phrase before time runs out.

For example, Woe Ark Fro Ma Ho Ma would be “work from home.”

Here is a list of Mad Gab Flashcards to use as starter prompts.

10. Another Way to Say

Another Way to Say is a game that challenges players to think of synonyms and alternate ways to say common phrases. A single player starts the round by saying a phrase. The other players volunteer similar sayings until out of options.

For example, if the starting sentence is “the end of the work day,” suggestions might include “quitting time,” “time to punch the clock,” “happy hour,” “overtime,” after-hours,” “rush hour,” “commute home,” and so on.

The exercise can either be a last-man standing competition where the player who continues to contribute longest wins the round, or players can work together to think up phrases. The point of the game is to show how many different ways there can be to express a thought.

Players are welcome to try to coin new phrases and use descriptive language, however the group can also challenge creative answers.

11. Questions, Statements, Exclamations

Questions, Statements, Exclamations is a communication activity that restricts participants to speaking in certain types of phrases. Three players act out a scene, with one for each of the word types. You do not have to use the statements in order, but must use all phrases equally. The game makes players think before speaking and give each other nonverbal cues.

Pro tip: Play Questions, Statements, Exclamations, Alliterations by adding a fourth player that can only speak in alliterative phrases.

12. In So Many Words

In So Many Words is one of the best communication skills games. This activity teaches participants to be more brief and express points concisely. To start the game, the leader says, “in # many words, tell me…..” Players then either write or speak their answers. The leader repeats the request, lowering the word count. Players must revise their answers to fit within the new word count, without losing the meaning of the original message.

For example, “In so many words, tell me how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

25 or less: Get peanut butter, jelly, bread, and a knife. Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread, jelly on the other. Combine slices, wet ingredients inside.

10 or less: Spread the ingredients on bread, then put the bread together.

5 or less: Peanut butter, jelly, bread, together.

You can also create a form or worksheet for teams to fill out with the short answers.

This game shows how the meaning of messages can change or stay the same depending on the number of words used, and can help teammates decide how lengthy or brief to be when sending emails, delivering updates, or giving presentations.

13. Shuffled Storyboards

Shuffled Storyboards is a storytelling game that encourages players to talk through a chain of events. To play the game, first split the group into teams. Give each team a randomly shuffled series of related illustrations. In five minutes or less, the team must put the cards in the sequence they think is correct, and come up with an accompanying story. Teammates will have to communicate why they believe an image comes before or after another picture, and work together on a coherent story. At the end of the activity, teams present their stories to the rest of the group.

Pro tip: After each team presents, the gamemaster can reveal the intended story, and if the two tales are radically different, then the audience can vote on which version is best.

14. Say It With Feeling

Say It With Feeling is a communication game that stresses emotional intelligence. Each round, a player receives a random phrase and a random emotion. The player must read the sentence in that specific style, and teammates must guess the feeling. The game gets really fun when the emotions are complex and specific, for instance, “the jittery feeling you get after being stuck in a meeting for two hours,” or “disoriented, like when you are unsure of which subway exit to take.”

The speaker can ask guessers to be more specific and award points accordingly.

15. Telephone

Telephone is one of the most popular communication games for team building. To start the game, one player whispers a phrase to the next closest player. This process repeats until every player has heard the message. The last player in line says the sentence out loud, and the first player reveals how close the end phrase was to the beginning phrase. The game emphasizes clear communication and careful listening.

Another fun version of the game involves players taking turns alternately writing or drawing a phrase, and seeing how close the end result comes to the original meaning of the message.

16. Charades

Charades is one of the most classic nonverbal communication games for work. In this game, players take turns acting out words while the rest of the team guesses the phrase. Players can use a charades generator to come up with terms, and leaders can time rounds or allow participants to guess until correct. You can also play themed games, for instance, classic literature, movies about work, or moments from history.

Charades can improve communication skills because the game encourages participants to communicate in unconventional ways and to pay attention to body language.

17. Frostbite

Frostbite is a problem-solving game that requires good communication. The premise for this exercise is that players are arctic explorers who must build a shelter to withstand the harsh winter weather. However, due to a sudden blizzard, the group leader has frostbitten hands and the rest of the group is snowblind. The follower teammates wear blindfolds, and the leader must talk the group through building a shelter. Players can erect full tents, or build replicas of a shelter out of cards and tape. At the end of the activity, the gamemaster turns a fan on in front of the shelter to determine whether the hut can withstand the arctic winds.

18. Tree or Bob Ross?

Tree or Bob Ross? is a game where players figure out objects by asking a series of questions. Each round, a thinker decides on a random object, and guessers try to figure out the object by asking this or that style questions . The first question in every game is always, “is it more like a tree or Bob Ross?” The thinker must decide which category is closest and answer accordingly. For example, if the object was a pumpkin, then the answer would be tree. If the object was a wood nutcracker, then the thinker would use their best judgment when responding.

The game continues until players guess the answer or are too stumped to continue.

Check out more question games .

19. Guess the Emoji

Guess the Emoji is one of the easiest virtual communication games. Players send messages to each other using strings of emojis, and other players must decode those messages. The first player or team to figure out the phrase wins a point.

For example:

👃👍 👩‍🎤👻 = Smells Like Teen Spirit

You can give the game a theme, such as songs, movie titles, or famous phrases, or leave prompts open-ended.

Check out more games to play on Slack .

20. Twenty Questions

Twenty Questions is one of the best communication activities for work. In this version of the exercise, a teammate chooses a phrase or concept. Then, other players must guess that thought by asking no more than twenty questions. Since there is a limit to the number of questions, players must come up with smart and thoughtful questions that quickly narrow down the options. Leaders can award each question a point value, and players who figure out the object quickly can earn more points. This activity teaches teammates how to effectively gather information, which can come in handy when collaborating and working on projects with busy colleagues.

21. Fill-in-the-blanks Comics

This exercise is a group storytelling activity that focuses on communication. First split the group into teams of three to five, then give each team a comic panel to complete. You can quickly gather materials by searching “comic strip with blank speech bubbles” in an image search. Or, you can use Canva to add speech bubbles to existing pictures. Give groups five or ten minutes to complete the comics, and then ask each team to share their creation with the rest of the group.

This activity encourages participants to pay attention to the environment, action, and characters in the strip to come up with convincing dialogue, as well as talking to each other to agree on the narrative.

Final Thoughts

Communication is one of the hardest soft skills to master. People have different styles and methods of communicating, and the possibility for misinterpretation and misunderstanding is high. It can also be hard to express ideas in a clear and understandable manner.

Communication games and exercises help teammates practice interacting and exchanging ideas in a fun and challenging yet low-pressure environment. These activities can improve teammates’ conversation and writing abilities, sharpen listening skills, and make participants more perceptive and mindful of messages. Not to mention, many of these exercises encourage players to communicate in new and unexpected ways, which can help them express themselves in different ways on the job.

Next, check out this list of trust building activities for work and this list of ways to improve team cooperation .

We also have a list of the top communication books , one with virtual team communication tips , and these  conversation starter ideas

FAQ: Communication games

Here are answers to common questions about communication games. 

What are communication games? 

Communication games are activities that strengthen communication skills such as listening, interpreting body language, and giving directions. The purpose of these games is to prevent miscommunications and help teammates interact more clearly and concisely. These games are also known as “communication exercises for teams.”

What are good communication games for work?

Good communication games for work include Blindfold Stroll, Tree or Bob Ross?, In So Many Words, and Taboo.

What are the best communication games you can play on Zoom?

The best communication games you can play on Zoom include Can You Hear Me Now?, Guess the Emoji, Lip Reading Liars, and Mad Gab.

How do you play communication games?

To play communication games, first choose a challenge. Next, gather your materials. Then split the group into teams or pairs, explain the rules, and start the clock. Most communication games require nothing more than paper and pencil to play, or no materials at all. When doing these activities, it is important to play in a quiet environment where participants can hear each other and focus.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Marketing Coordinator at Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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communication activities present simple

33 Fun communication games and activities for teams

communication activities present simple

Communication within teams has been a hot topic recently, especially with an increasing number of companies going fully remote. Whether you communicate over Slack, Zoom , or in the office, nurturing communication, primarily offline, takes practice and dedication. 

These 33 team-building games are designed for in-person team-building, incorporating fun and communication skills to help you and your team spark spontaneous conversation and improve company culture .

Activities that strengthen leadership skills

Even if your company has a hierarchical structure, helping your team strengthen its leadership skills is a great way to encourage confidence in the workplace. Employees capable of stepping up to the plate to lead projects or meetings are likely to feel more invested in the company and can also offer the higher-ups a chance to focus on other tasks knowing that their team is in good hands. ‍

1. Leadership pizza

This game allows players to explore their potential leadership strengths by creating their pizza with “skill” toppings. 

How to play: Participants draw out a pizza with six slices. They are then asked to put toppings on their pizza, but instead of mushrooms, it’s a skill that they believe they would excel at. Once the pizzas are complete, people present their pizza, explaining why they chose their skills and engaging in a group discussion. 

After talking amongst one another, receiving feedback, and discussing their strengths and weaknesses, if you’re willing to take the conversation a step further, everyone revisits their pizza and updates their skills according to feedback. 

Materials you’ll need: Paper and general arts and crafts materials. Tables and chairs for drawing surfaces 

How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8-16 people) ‍

2. Blindfold trust game

This trust-building game is simple and requires only a blindfold and players willing to work together. While you don’t necessarily need a big field to play this in, it would be better to have an open area to avoid too many hazards getting in the way. 

‍ How to play: Break groups into small teams of two. One player is the leader, and the other wears the blindfold. The leader has to guide the blindfolded player to the endpoint while making sure they avoid bumping into objects. 

For example, pick a start and end location; players start in the office and end at an outdoor seating area.

Materials you’ll need: Blindfold(s)

3. Building blocks

This simple card game is designed to get people talking. Building Blocks is a perfect icebreaker tool or exercise for growing teams. 

How to play: The card game has six categories with questions aimed at “removing personal barriers and creating space for teamwork.” An example of a question in the deck is: What do you wish to spend more time on both in and outside the office”. If your team is remote, this can be played in person or over Zoom. The game is marketed for workshops, meetings, and workshops. 

Materials you’ll need: Building Blocks card deck. 

‍ Games that encourage teamwork

Teamwork is essential to most industries. Even team members with highly specified roles that don’t require working with others should be included in company developments, even if that's their opinion on an upcoming change or project. 

These games focus on bringing teams together so individuals can get to know each other and learn how to work together harmoniously. ‍

4. The four quadrants

This team-building activity allows individuals to express themselves playfully and creatively. It’s an excellent game for helping team members get to know one another more intimately. It would be well suited for an onboarding exercise or bringing together teams that typically work remotely. 

How to play: Split up into small teams and give each participant a piece of paper and drawing materials. Have them fold their paper into four sections and spend five to ten minutes drawing their responses to four questions. Questions can be personal or related to a workplace topic, such as “What do I expect from my team” or “What do I see in my professional future.” 

After players finish drawing their responses, have them regroup with their team and discuss their visual answers.

Materials you’ll need: Paper and makers, general art supplies. Tables and chairs for drawing surfaces 

How many people: Small to large teams (8-16 people)  ‍

5. Perfect square

The perfect game for future leaders, Perfect Square pushes teams to communicate clearly and establish a leader who will help them complete the game. Another blindfold game that involves teams working together to, you guessed it, form a perfect square.  

How to play: Break up into small teams, around four to six people, and give each group a rope. Team members pick up their rope, which is still a circle, and work together to create a perfect square, which isn’t easy to achieve when you can’t see anything! Teams form a circle with their rope on the floor, and everyone gets blindfolded. 

This game encourages teams to establish a leader who can help focus and guide the other players to move in the right direction to achieve some four-sided perfection, 

Materials you’ll need: Rope, material/ cloth for blindfolds.

How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8-16 people)  ‍

6. Back-to-back drawing

The perfect game for the artists on the team, Back-to-Back drawing encourages play and communication and would be an excellent activity for a company retreat.  This team-building exercise is less about problem-solving and relaxing and getting the chance to get to know one another. 

How to play:  Have players split into two teams and face away from one another. One player gets a picture, and the other receives paper and drawing materials. The person with the image describes what and how to draw the image without identifying it. After ten minutes, players swap roles.

After each team member has described the object and produced an image, they can compare their work and see who made the most accurate drawing. 

Materials you’ll need: Art supplies and simple images (think flowers, cars, etc.)  taken from a magazine or printed online.

7. Bull ring

Bull Ring is a popular game that demands teams work together on a shared goal. You will need to purchase some materials, but this is considered one of the best games to encourage cooperation and teamwork, so it’s likely worth it! Bull Ring is more involved than some previous games, which require little more than a blindfold or some markers.

How to play:  Teams must transport a small ball from one post to another using a string system with a circle in the center. The ball rests in the center, and teams must ensure it doesn’t roll off during transport from one area. 

Team members must communicate consistently throughout the process, as each body movement significantly impacts the ball moving, so each individual must listen carefully and be aware at all times.  

Materials you’ll need: Strings, a small ball, and two stands to mark the start and finish. 

How many people: Small to large teams (5-25 people) ‍

8. Build a bridge

We all loved arts and crafts when we were kids, and this game brings out our inner child while encouraging problem-solving and creative thinking . 

How to play:  Split the group into two teams. Make sure you have enough space to place people to be apart or use a sheet to divide the space. Teams work together to construct one-half of a bridge, which will eventually be together. It’s essential for each group not to be able to see the other’s progress. The two groups can communicate verbally to ensure the design will result in a stable, “functioning” bridge. 

Materials you’ll need: Construction materials, like newspaper, tape, legos, cardboard, etc. Make sure you have a device for measuring, like tape or a long rule—enough space for teams to work privately. 

Games for teams that spark conversation on company retreats

Teambuilding games prioritize getting together and strengthening bonds that promote healthy company culture. By encouraging group work, individual members get to know each other deeper. These types of activities are an ideal way to bring coworkers together on company retreats . ‍

9. Shrinking vessel

Remember that game from childhood, “the floor is lava”? The one where you had to make it around the room without touching the floor. Good times. Shrinking vessel is somewhat similar, except you are working with a team. Strategy and Tetris skills will help me excel at this exercise. 

How to play: Mark the boundaries of the areas where team members will be placed. Slowly, the edges of the borders are moved and made smaller, and team members must work together to ensure they don’t fall outside the lines. They cannot step out of the line. 

Materials you’ll need: Anything temporarily marks the floor, like a string or tape, even a blanket, will do. Enough space to fit a small team of 4-5 people at a time is also needed. 

How many people: Mid-size to large teams ‍

10. Make the team with…

This simple game needs little material and is a perfect icebreaker—a perfect in-person game for company retreats and onboarding events.

How to play:  One person from the group, ideally a team leader, calls out the facts or questions that team members just asked one another. Individuals have to make teams as quickly as possible based on the call-outs, like” people with one cat” or “people who play video games.” 

Individuals must quickly figure out who meets the criteria and form a team. This exercise can be repeated with as many questions as you like. 

Materials you’ll need Just yourselves and some places to sit. If you have a large team, ensure enough space to play. 

How many people: Small to large teams (8 to 25 people)  ‍

11. Minefield

How to play: Gather the whole team in a vast open space and split the group. Set up an obstacle course. Each sub-group will then pick a team leader, and the rest of the team will be blindfolded. Spin blindfolded members in a few circles to disorient them and then direct them through the obstacle course, leading them with five commands: left, right, forward, back, and stop”. 

This game can be played multiple times, switching leaders to encourage leadership roles between different players.

Materials you’ll need: A wide open space, like a parking area—blindfolds and obstacles, such as traffic cones and various objects.  

How many people: Mid-sized to Large teams (15-25 people) ‍

12. Charades

This classic game is derived from holiday parties and family get-togethers, making it an ideal match to play with employees on a company retreat. The competition promotes play and humor , making space for trust and helping team members get to know one another outside the professional landscape. 

How to play:  Split the group into two teams, teams 1 and 2. The game starts with team 1 taking a category slip from the opposite team's basket. The timekeeper starts the stopwatch and gives the player on team 1 three to five minutes to act out what is on the piece of paper, while other team members on team 1 have to guess what it is. The one thing you absolutely cannot do is speak!

The timekeeper keeps track of how quickly they can guess the answer correctly, and the team with the smallest score (least minutes) is the winner.  Team 2 proceeds to play the same way. 

One thing to note is that Charades has general rules and guidelines for acting out the category. 

For a complete list of gestures and categories, see here . 

Materials you’ll need: Paper and writing material for keeping score, a stopwatch or phone, and blank paper. Two baskets to keep various categories. 

How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8-15 people)  ‍

What to play to create understanding and empathy 

We are with our coworkers a lot, sometimes more than our own families. For this reason alone, and many others, we need to understand that we all have our struggles and successes in and out of the workplace to maintain understanding and empathy. 

These games help lay the groundwork for more empathy in the workplace, so you can deal with frustrations and misunderstandings before they create deeper issues.  ‍

13. Zen counting

This easy game is perfect for breaking up an in-person meeting with a quick exercise that encourages listening and concentration, depending on the size of your team, which can be done in a meeting or break room.

How to play:  Set up chairs in a circle facing one another so your team members do not face to face. This game is about listening, so get ready to use your ears and not your eyes. Have your employees start counting from one to ten or higher if you’re a big group. Each person goes around in a circle saying a number, but since you are not looking at one another, you have to be patient and listen carefully for your neighbor to speak theirs. If you interrupt them, you start back at zero and start the whole game again. 

Materials you’ll need: Just your team and enough chairs and space to have your whole team sit in a circle. 

How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8 to 15 people)  ‍

14. Phrase ball

This game is a fun and energetic game that gets the blood pumping, and its team members get to know each other in an informal way, which is essential to boosting workplace morale. 

How to play: Stand in a group, and the first player answers one of the written prompts on the ball after reading it aloud, so the group knows what they’re answering. After they finish, they call out the next person's name to that they will be throwing the ball (they wouldn’t want to hit an unsuspecting player in the face), and they do the same as the first player.

The game continues until everyone has a chance to answer a question. 

Materials you’ll need Enough space for people to gather comfortably and throw a ball.

How many people: An icebreaker thumbnail or a DIY version can be a soccer ball with phrases written on it. ‍

15. Looks count

This card game challenges the psyche and asks employees to get outside their comfort zones. A fun game for a team that is making a company retreat and one that brings out the inner actor in everyone. 

How to play: Split your team into large groups , around ten people, is ideal. Make a small deck of cards that includes an even amount of each suit (diamonds, clubs, etc.) which will then be evenly distributed. Team members draw a card, but without seeing it, the team-building organizer tapes it to their backs. Everyone is then instructed to go around talking to others based on the card on their back. The suit dictates the behavior:

  • Spades are ignored
  • Diamonds are treated well
  • Act indifferent toward Hearts 

After completing the game, sit down as a group and discuss how you were treated and how that made you feel. Group members will get the chance to acknowledge how they treat people as a marker of how others will perform and feel in the workplace. 

Materials you’ll need: Desk of cards and ample space

How many people: Large teams (20+ people) ‍

16. Elephant list

This game is about open and honest communication; even when it’s not an easy topic, teams that work remotely, or have been together for a long time, can take advantage of this game to avoid stagnant communication and encourage growth.

How to play:  Leaders hand out a sheet of paper or sticky note for participants to write down one issue, or “elephants in the room.” Those leading the game then ask participants to address their elephants by applying “control, influence and accept” (C, I, A), asking them to decide which method would best approach the problem.

After everyone writes down their elephant and decides how they would address it, the notes are collected and then separated.

  • Elephants that are “accepted” are put into one pile and accepted
  • The remaining elephants are then discussed in a moderate group discussion to address how they should be dealt with as a team

Team leaders should encourage players to answer questions about the elephants in the room, such as, “why is this an issue, and how can we solve it as a team.”

Materials you’ll need: Sticky notes.

How many people: Small to large teams (8-15 people) ‍

17. Just listen

Listening is a huge part of communicating, and it’s hard to step back and hear what others say when we get stressed at work. This group exercise encourages teams to practice their listening skills, allowing others to speak and respecting their voice. 

How to play:  Team leaders will choose a topic that will be discussed in subgroups, ideally of two, with an assigned speaker and listener. After the speaker is done, the listener will summarize what they said and subsequently switch roles.

Afterward, the group gets back together to review the process and talk about what it felt like to speak without interruption and what positives came out of that experience. Listeners are also encouraged to give feedback on how it affected them. 

Materials you’ll need: Just your team and various seating areas to break them up into groups and a stopwatch/timer.

How many people: Small to large teams (8 to 25 people) ‍

18. Guess the emotion

You've probably guessed what this game is about based on its name, but guessing an emotion can be trickier than you think. Practicing your ability to read people’s feelings can pay off in the long run, especially when it comes to reading the room at company meetings and asking the right questions if something feels off regarding an employee's emotional state.

How to play:  Your team is split into two groups and draws a card from a deck with emotions written on each card. One team chooses someone to have the lead role and act out an emotion while the whole group tries to guess whether or not they're angry, sad, happy, etc. 

If a team correctly guesses the emotion, they win ten points. The groups can rotate like this through as many emotions as possible, or at least until each team member gets the chance to act.

Materials you’ll need: A deck of cards with emotions written on them. 

How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8-15 people) ‍

19. Stinky fish

Like the Elephant list, Stinky Fish is a game that helps teams bring up complex topics before they sit too long and start to stink up the place, like an old fish forgotten in the fridge. This is an excellent game for encouraging sharing and developing a culture of trust in the workplace.

How to play:  Give each player a piece of paper with a fish picture on it. Make sure there is enough space inside the fish to write their concerns and issues, as that’s why the fish stinks, after all! Give each participant five to ten minutes to write their problems down. 

After everyone has written their answer, bring the group back together and allow them a minute or two to discuss what they wrote down and why. 

Materials you’ll need Paper/ a template with a picture of a fish that can be written inside and writing materials.

How many people: Small to mid-sized groups (8-15 people) ‍

20. Pay it forward

This game is an interactive outdoor activity perfect for a company retreat. If you’re taking the whole team to Paris for a city getaway to boost morale, Pay it Forward is the perfect game that helps you get to know your surroundings and encourages team members to collaborate.

How to play:  Split your workers into small teams, not more than ten a group. Each group will be given a small recording device or asked to designate one player as the videographer. Teams will be given an envelope that contains tasks. Each task is worth a certain number of points. 

Each team is sent out into its surroundings, ideally a place where there are plenty of people to perform random acts of kindness for strangers. These random acts are found in the envelope given to your team at the beginning of the game. The person recording is documenting each task completed. 

Examples of tasks could include:

  • Paying for a strangers coffee at a cafe
  • Telling someone they look great today 
  • Offering a small shopkeeper to help take out the trash 

Once teams return to the home base, they tally up their points based on the number of tasks they completed. 

Materials you’ll need: You’ll need plenty of space for your team to roam around, like a village or city center. A small recording divide like a GoPro or personal cellphone. 

How many people: Small to large groups (8 to 20+ people) ‍

Creative games for strengthening communication  

Of course, it’s essential to be professional in the workplace, but there is a line where a work environment can feel too stiff, leading to burnout . These games prioritize listening, creativity, and play to help teams loosen up and get out of their heads. ‍

21. Direction direction

Think you’re good at following directions? This game will test how good you are, testing your communication skills, so you follow the right directions. 

How to play:  Pick one person from your team who will pick a game or activity that is complex or hard to follow. After reading the directions out loud to the rest of the group,  everyone else will attempt to play the game only based on what the speaker has told them.  They will have to work together and communicate to figure out how to play correctly. 

Afterward, the leader and team can briefly discuss where there were any communication breakdowns and what could have been improved. 

Materials you’ll need: A game with complex directions

How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8-5 people) ‍

22. Communication origami

A relaxing game that helps you boost communication amongst team members. This exercise shows how well team members can listen and follow directions. You only need some paper and tables for people to make their shapes. 

How to play:  Hand out a sheet of A4 paper to each group member and then instruct them to close their eyes. Everyone must keep their eyes closed while one person reads the instructions to fold and create their piece of origami. 

After you’re done instructing them, the whole group opens their eyes and compares their shapes. 

Materials you’ll need: A4 Paper, seating areas with tables 

23. Best and worst

This game relies on solid opinions, sure to get people talking. As the game's name implies, your team will get to know each other quickly, discussing the things they love and hate the most. 

How to play:  Team members go around and ask a question about the best thing they can learn from the group. After each participant's answer, they go to the next person who asks about the worst thing their team can talk about. That can be like, “what is the best meal you ever had.” 

This continues until everyone has the chance to ask a question, and receive answer.

Materials you’ll need Just your team and a large seating area. 

How many people : Small to large teams (8-25+ people) ‍

24. Compliment circle

There’s something to be said about being kind and spreading positive vibes. While it may seem like “good vibes” is just tossed around flippantly, there is compelling evidence that being excellent and complementary is good for your health. 

How to play:  One person, likely the team leader, gets the ball rolling and asks team members to go around the circle and give a compliment to someone on their team. It can be as simple as thanking someone for being so knowledgeable and helping you figure out a computer malfunction, or more specifically, to a project the whole team is working on together. 

Materials you’ll need: Just your team and, ideally, outdoor space

Icebreaker games for onboarding

Starting a new job or meeting the team in person for the first time can be intimidating for some.

These icebreakers aim to put everyone on an equal playing field, creating space to play and laugh, which is a great way to make new employees feel comfortable. ‍

25. Twenty questions

A classic getting-to-know-you game, Twenty Questions is fun and easy to play, taking up minimal space and great for after-work activities or as a bar game on a company retreat. 

How to play:  Split into a team of two or small groups and assign one person who will think of an object, animal, etc. The other team members can ask twenty questions to determine the person's feelings.

Another way to keep score is to time how long it takes for those asking the questions to figure it out. If you ask 20 questions and still don’t know the answer, you lose, and the other person wins. Those who find the solution in less time are the winners and get a higher score. 

Materials you’ll need: A list of topics and a timer

How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8-15) ‍

26. One word

A simple and low-stress icebreaker game that gets the ball rolling can be done on large and small company retreats. 

How to play:  Break your team into small groups with no more than five people. Give them the prompt, a simple question, like, “how would you describe your work day?” Each team has five or ten minutes to develop a one-word answer that sums up their response. After the exercise is finished, each team goes around and reads their answer out loud, facilitating discussion amongst the group. 

You can play this game as many times with as many questions as you can come up with! 

Materials you’ll need: Just your team!

How many people: Small to mid-sized groups ‍

27. Jenga thoughts

This is a guaranteed good-time game that can be played after work on a retreat or at a weekend getaway with your team. It only requires the game Jenga and adequate seating and surface area for playing.

How to play:  The same rules apply to Jenga Thoughts to the original Jenga. There is a tower made out of rectangular wooden blocks that players have to remove, so the whole tower doesn’t fall strategically.  

With this team-building-friendly version, each block has a question the player has to answer. The objective is to keep the tower intact, but questions facilitate discussion and break down walls, bringing teams together while playing. 

Materials you’ll need: A Jenga set, multiple, and seating areas with tables where people can play. 

How many people: Small to mid-sized teams and a large one for setting up the game so everyone can play. If you have multiple Jenga sets, ensure you have several tables to seat and several small groups.  ‍

28. Two truths, one lie

Easy to play in areas with limited space and perfect for getting to know each other better. This game also helps more introverted team members have the opportunity to share something about themselves. 

How to play: Each person gets a chance to tell three “facts” about themselves, two are true, and one is a lie. The rest of the players have to guess, ideally communicating with one another about which one they think is the lie. 

Materials you’ll need: Your team and a comfortable place to sit.

How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8-15 people) 

Materials you’ll need: Just your team and a comfortable place to sit with tables.  ‍

29. Penny, for your thoughts

This simple game tests your historical knowledge and is a great way to spark conversation outside the office. While organizing a company retreat that emphasizes relaxation, this game is a great way to get people talking. 

How to play:  Hand out several coins, around five max, to each person. Go around in the group and have them start with one currency and tell a personal story that was meaningful for them. 

If they are the only person with that experience, they can place the coin in the center of the table. If another team member shares a similar experience, they must put theirs. 

The game is played until someone gets rid of all their coins. 

Materials you’ll need A handful of pennies or equivalent coins in whatever currency you use. Just make sure the currency is recent (not older than 20 years old) 

‍ How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8 to 15 people) 

Listening games for better communication 

There are a lot of teams that are immensely talented but need help communicating. Teams will only work together with solid communication, potentially stifling creativity and growth.   

30. Freeze walk

Going back to the schoolyard days. This exercise is playful and gets people moving and communicating non-verbally.

How to play:  People start walking slowly around the yard or where the game takes place. A person in the crowd is designated to start moving, and the rest must follow suit. They let people meander for a while and then shout “freeze” randomly. A designated person in the group starts walking again, and other players follow suit; players that are last to move to leave the game.

The last person standing is the winner.

‍ Materials you’ll need: Just your team and enough space

‍ How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8-15 people) 

31. Background noise

Background noise can be a common challenge if you work in an office or go to your desk in the living room daily. This game relies on an everyday challenge, asking players to listen with intention and remain calm, even if the environment is overwhelming.

‍ How to play:  Pick two people from your team to be the “speaker” and the “noise maker.” The person in charge of making noise is as loud as possible while others usually talk. 

Team members listen carefully to try and retain as much information as possible. Many suggest that other team members close their eyes to try to hear as much as possible without visual distractions or prompts.

Materials you’ll need: No materials needed , just your team!

‍ How many people: Small to mid-sized teams (8-15 people)  

32. Telephone

Many people might remember this game from their childhood. Commonly used as an exercise to get kids to enhance their listening skills, this simple yet effective game still works just as well in adulthood!

‍ How to play:  Gather everyone on your team and have them line up or sit in a big circle. There is a group leader who whispers a sentence into the first person’s ear. That next person whispers that same (hopefully) sentence into their neighbor's ear, and the game continues as such. 

This is a perfect game for large teams, as not much is needed, and it’s more challenging to get the message across perfectly the more people it goes through. 

Materials you’ll need: Just your team and space to the lineup, or sit in a circle. 

How many people: Small to large teams (8-25+ people) ‍

33. Sandwiches and hamburgers

This game isn’t just a different name for “lunch,” It could be the perfect one to play just before you and your team sit down for a meal.

How to play:  One leader will gather everyone in a circle and give them two cues; one is “sandwiches” and the other “hamburgers.” Depending on their title, each person is also given a corresponding movement to go with their category. 

For example, Sandwiches raise their left hand, and Hamburgers do a little jump. 

For the first round, every time the leader says the word, they will do their assigned action as well, but after a few plays, they will start switching the steps up to create confusion. See how many team members can catch on to changing commands and keep up! 

Materials you’ll need: Just your team and space to the lineup, or sit in a circle.

Add communication games to your next company retreat!

When planning your next team-building retreat, consider adding one or two, or all 33, communication games to your daily activities. Many of these can be used to break up the day and get the productive juices flowing.

Implementing activities encouraging coworkers and team leaders to bond is integral to creating a dynamic and trust-based work environment. All these games and exercises can be done with limited materials if any, so pick the ones that work best for your team and bring them along with you to your next company retreat.

If you’re still unsure what type of team-building retreat will be appropriate for you and your team, the Surf Office can help you decide what works best for you based on the needs and goals of your company.

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communication activities present simple

Ten simple games to improve your communication skills

communication activities present simple

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This guest blog was written by Kelly Miller and was originally published by .

Our world is in a communication crisis. Kids spend astounding amounts of time on their electronic devices and with this shift, they are losing their skills in how to communicate their needs—with their own voices.

Picture the kids you know having no access to Wi-Fi. There might be a revolt when you start to ask them to communicate with you without a phone or device.

With the availability of alternative sources of social support (Leung, 2007), reaching kids in a one-to-one setting is difficult. The skill of self-expression in real life and face-to-face interaction has far-reaching implications.

Improving communication skills in children of all ages today could benefit generations to come, salvaging the power of verbal communication in a world buzzing with technological alternatives.

What are communication activities, exercises, and games?

Certain activities, exercises, and games can teach children to communicate better. In most settings, adults decide the communication style and social norms. The rules of etiquette are also decided by adults.

These days, it is revolutionary to teach communication skills in “kid terms” with room to advance the skills as children develop. Imagine a world where every adult practised their face-to-face communication.

The following are effective communication fundamentals (Stanfield, 2017):

  • Conversation skills;
  • Established listening and speaking procedures;
  • Respectful vocabulary;
  • The power of the pause;
  • Practice speaking and listening in natural settings;
  • Introspection;
  • Turn-taking.

Any activities, exercises, and games that include these fundamentals can improve skills in communication. Interactive games encourage kids to express their needs. Plus, when kids see these activities as fun and engaging, the more likely they are to participate.

Five activities for middle and high school students

1. famous pairs.

Create a list of well-known famous pairs. For instance, peanut butter and jelly, Romeo and Juliet, Superman and Lois Lane, etc. Each participant should receive a post-it-note with one half of a famous pair on their back.

Moving throughout the room, with only three questions per person, the participants try to figure out who the person is on their back.

Once the person has discovered who they are, they need to find their partner. If the other partner has not figured out his/her identity, they must not reveal themselves until they know

2. The Enigmatic Self

We are often mysterious to others. This game promotes self-awareness about what you find mysterious about yourself. In this activity, students write down three things about themselves that no one else knows. In groups of three or four students, each read the mysterious aspects to each other.

Each group collects the mysteries. At a later time, each group reads the fact list and the remainder of the class tries to guess who the facts are from on the list. Encourage deep respect for these mysteries. Encourage students to celebrate the uniqueness of each other.

Classrooms with solid trust are often built on awareness and appreciation of each other.

3. Stand Up for Fillers

How many people use “like” or “um,” or “uh” or “so,” or “right” to fill a silent space? It is a nervous habit that is often rooted in the perceived discomfort of silence. This activity helps eliminate these fillers in conversation or in public speaking.

Each student is given a topic that they will speak about for 1-3 minutes (topic is not important; it should be simple). During their speaking time, the remainder of the class will stand when they hear any of these fillers occur in the speech.

The class is listening and the speaker is hyper-aware of the words that they use. It is a deliberate shock to the speaker to see the entire class stand when they hear these fillers and helps to be mindful about using precise vocabulary.

4. Blindfold Game

Create an obstacle course with everyday items in the classroom. Sort students into two groups. One person is blindfolded while the rest of the group decides how to communicate (from their seats) instructions on how to navigate through the course wearing a blindfold. Time each group and discuss which communication style was the most effective.

This activity builds trust and requires accurate communication to successfully navigate through the course. *Be sure to have at least one person to stand near the blindfolded student to help them stay safe during the course.

5. Drawn Understanding

Have two students sit back-to-back. One student has an object and the other has coloured pencils and paper. The student with the object must describe it in as much detail as possible, without directly saying what it is.

The second student must draw the object as best they can, based on the communication of the student with the object.

Five assertive communication activities for teens

Assertive communication is a healthy way to express one’s needs. Being respectful and honest may still cause discomfort, and negotiating that discomfort is a critical skill. The following are activities that can help teens to develop these vital communication skills.

1. Emotion Awareness

Being attuned to our own emotional needs is the foundation of understanding why we are happy or frustrated with others. Many teens have trouble putting words to how they are feeling, and that is often a matter of knowing how to identify complex emotions.

In this activity, provide each participant with a sheet of various emojis. Take the group through various emotion-invoking scenarios. Have them keep track and label the emotions that popped up for them. Being able to name emotions as they are cued is a first step in improving emotional intelligence, and also relaxes the amygdala from over-firing.

Divide the group into pairs. The pair will get two different sets of instructions.

Person 1 instructions will read: Person 2 will make a fist. You MUST get that fist open. Person 2 instructions will read: Person 1 is going to attempt to get you to open your fist. You must NOT open your fist unless he/she asks you politely and assertively.

Most people will try to pry the fist open. It is an opportunity to efficiently explain assertive communication. Knowing the power of good communication skills is important in building them properly.

Discuss with the students how the directions influenced their actions. Did they consider a peaceful way of asking? Why or why not? What communication role-models do movies and media offer?

3. Situations Samples

Have a list of scenarios where assertive communication would be the most effective. Offer the teens an opportunity to practice responses to the situations. Have them demonstrate aggressive, passive, and then assertive styles.

When they know the difference, the better they may practice it in real life scenarios.

Some sample scenarios could be:

  • You are standing in line at the check-out and two salespeople are engrossed in a deep conversation ignoring you.
  • Your teacher graded a paper that you feel should have received a higher mark.
  • Someone calls you a name that is hurtful.

Go through various options for responses and get the teens brainstorming.

4. Eye Contact Circle

This nonverbal skill is essential in assertive communication. A creative way to build this skill is with this circle. Create a circle with group participants. Each participant will answer the same question (ie: what is your favourite ice cream flavour) and after answering must find mutual eye contact with someone across the circle.

Once this eye contact is made, the participant must call out their partner’s name and slowly switch places with them, while maintaining that eye contact. Eye contact is one of the basic principles of communication and trusting others.

5. Role-playing

Put the group into pairs and have them play different roles. Have the teens brainstorm scenarios from the past where they wish they had been more assertive. This also can be used in the workplace with employees, where people brainstorm in pairs.

This gives people the chance to learn from mistakes, and the empowerment to express their needs during the next uncomfortable situation. Have a list of possible scenarios ready, just in case the brainstorming doesn’t produce enough opportunities to explore.

 A take-home message

Good communication is a skill that serves people in every area of life. Even the best communicators make mistakes, let alone those of us still learning how to improve. Imagine a world where everyone knew the emotion behind their message and tried to communicate with assertive kindness.

Equipping children with effective communication skills results in higher levels of emotional intelligence, higher test scores, lowering incidents of bullying, and improvements in overall mental well-being. There is so much to gain from practicing these skills.

With the omnipresence of technological advances, kids need to practise these face-to-face skills more than ever. 

Building these skills in all age groups builds a society for empathy and emotional resilience. The more practise kids get in school and at home, the better these skills will become. Adults and kids alike have endless opportunities to change how they speak and address their shared needs.

The article has been shortened to only include games and activities for middle and high school students. To read the full version, see below.

Read more about this:

Positive Psychology: 39 communication games and activities for kids, teens and students

communication activities present simple


Beauty kaluba

I found this content very helpful and useful in a more fun kind of way.

Kalu Grace

This was very informative and helpful. The games are very promising.

Chandrika S.Bhandary

Very useful activity

Swapna Meena.R

Thank you Mam for your sharing information & skill to us It very use full in our life time


very helpful and useful


Excelente contenido muy útil y de una manera divertida, me han encantado. Buen

Chloe belle Burke

I found it very useful ty

Ngozi Osuagwu

I am a doctoral student, presently carrying out a study on assertiveness. I need your permission to use these skills for my participants for research purposes. Thank you in anticipation.


Thanks for your comment. Feel free to use the materials, they are published on a public forum under CC-BY licence. Please ensure you credit the original source.

Futurum Webmaster.


It was too helpfull

Ranjith kumar.G

It was very useful for my education and knowledge

Sachin Ram

This content was very useful

Aishwarya G

Its very helpfull to us ..

Galib md Shahrukh Alam

It’s so beautiful.and useful

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