Teambuilding Group Activities Competition vs Connection

Feb 20, 2024

In our quest for meaningful interactions, it’s essential to strike a balance between competition and connection. One playful approach I’ve found incredibly effective is what I call “Conversation Roulette.” This exercise encourages rapid engagement with a stack of question cards, aiming to foster both connection and a light-hearted competitive spirit.

How to Play Conversation Roulette

Gather your participants and instruct them to place all question cards in a single stack, question side down, at the center of the table. The objective is simple: go through the entire pile as quickly as possible. Each person draws a card, answers the question (real or imagined answers are both acceptable), and passes to the next player. The first group to finish their stack stands up and celebrates their victory, embracing the playful competitive aspect of the exercise.

This approach isn’t just about the rush to finish first; it’s a unique way to navigate through both competitive urges and the desire for connection. Even in a competitive setting, there’s room for laughter, shared stories, and moments of genuine connection.

An Alternative Approach for Smaller Groups

For more intimate settings or smaller groups, I recommend focusing on lighter, more fun questions (identified by green cards in some decks). This variation maintains the exercise’s fast pace but shifts the focus towards building rapport and enjoying shared laughter, without losing the essence of connection.

The Power of Connection Before Content

One concept I’ve emphasized in various workshops and talks is “connection before content.” This principle is based on the idea that inviting participants to engage early on—whether through speaking, sharing, or even playful competition—significantly increases their likelihood of active participation throughout the event.

Implementing this can be as simple as encouraging a unified action (like a collective greeting in various languages) at the start. This breaks the ice and demonstrates that everyone’s voice is valued, setting a tone of inclusivity and openness.

Enhancing Connection Through Questions

A key aspect of fostering connection is the art of asking questions. Through my journey of refining the Conversation Roulette cards, I learned the importance of avoiding superlatives in questions. Instead of asking for “the best” or “the favorite,” prompting for “one of” allows for a more inclusive and less daunting way for participants to share. This slight nuance can make a significant difference in how comfortably individuals contribute to the conversation.

Beyond the Game: Embracing a Competitive Spirit with Connection

While playful competition can be exhilarating, it’s crucial to navigate it with a sense of connection at the forefront. In my experiences, I’ve observed that even in the heat of competition, there’s a profound opportunity for learning and connection. Whether through banter, shared challenges, or simply acknowledging each other’s efforts, these moments remind us that at the heart of every interaction is the potential for deeper understanding and mutual respect.

In essence, Conversation Roulette and the principles surrounding it serve as a reminder that deep, meaningful conversations don’t have to be solemn or serious. By embracing playfulness and incorporating elements of competition, we can create engaging, memorable experiences that not only entertain but also connect us on a more profound level. Through this balance, we discover that the most impactful interactions often arise from the most unexpected moments of play.