I Am: An Activity to Learn About Your Team
One way to build trust and strong work relationships is to learn more about each other. People have different degrees of comfort in what they are willing to share, so exercises that encourage teams to talk about themselves need to be safe and flexible.
This exercise, "I Am...", was inspired by something shared with me last year by another facilitator. It is a poem where each person fills in the blanks and chooses what they want to share. These poems can be read out loud and even posted, with permission, to gain insights about people on your team. You will likely learn some things you didn’t know about your team members.
Consider the psychological safety on your team and the personalities before doing this team exercise. While some teams or team members may not respond well to something this personal, others will thoroughly enjoy this team activity.
- Give everyone the template below and ask them to fill in the blanks to create their own poem. Give them at least 5 minutes to do this. If time is tight, this can be a pre-work assignment.
- Share your own to set the stage and give them an example. Or you can share mine.
- Invite, but do not force, each team member to read their poem.
- Celebrate each person after they share.
I AM POEM Template
I am (name), sometimes called (nickname) or (nickname).
I am from (name of parents) of (where I grew up) with (describe your hometown visually).
I love (favorite food) and (favorite activity).
I want to (goal/dream) and (another future dream).
I want to travel to (place) to see/do (noun or activity).
I am a (characteristic), (another characteristic), and (another characteristic) (identity),
Who values (value) and (value).
Those who know me well know that I (something funny/silly about you).
Examples of a completed poem:
I am Leigh Ann, sometimes called Lulu or Honey.
I am from Ann and Sam of Stone Mountain with the largest piece of exposed granite in the world.
I love dark chocolate covered almonds and volunteering at The Farm.
I want to host a women’s retreat and practice Tai Chi.
I want to sail the BVIs and take a river cruise in Europe.
I am an empathetic, driven, and creative woman,
Who values relationships and service to others.
Those who know me well know that I can never find my glasses.
I am Jill, sometimes called Jillery or Jilly Bean.
I am from Richard & Sharon of Michigan, the hand-shaped state.
I love Dove chocolates and hosting parties.
I want to help people make their food work for them and travel every 3 months.
I want to travel to Hawaii to see the volcanos.
I am a positive, loyal, and goal-oriented woman,
Who values connections and integrity.
Those who know me well know that I love live local music.
The "I Am..." Poem team exercise is a creative and interesting way to get to know your team.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, Team Consultant Academy, and FORWARD, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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