Today’s Easy Office-Based Team Building Idea takes TV classic Would I Lie To You? and turns it into a simple yet effective icebreaker tool that is both fun and effective. You’ll learn unusual facts about one another, promoting team bonding, but you’ll also be in stitches as usually-reserved colleagues try to convince you that they were once Judo champions!
To prepare for this exercise, ask each person who will be taking part to submit one or two unusual stories or facts about themselves that none of their colleagues are aware of. Tell people in advance what the stories will be used for, so that they only submit stories they are happy sharing and can have a think about personal facts that may surprise – and fool – others.
Meanwhile, it’s your responsibility to come up with the ‘Lies’ that you will give out during the exercise. Be careful not to give anything that may be potentially embarrassing; judge it on how close you are as a team and how forthcoming people normally are. Here are some ideas to get you going:
- For two weeks I drove a car that could only turn left
- I used to speak French fluently, but have forgotten all of it
- I once won first place in my home town’s windsurfing championships
- Until last Christmas I thought reindeer were mythical creatures
- I am a Grade 8 clarinet player
- I once wrote fan mail to Jason Donovan…and got a reply
- My middle name used to be ‘Rainbow’, so I changed it
- I was once interviewed by MI5 to be a spy
- I used to be in a rock band called ‘Skullz’
- For two years my front door didn’t lock properly so I leant an ironing board against it at night
Print each ‘Lie’ onto a separate piece of paper, and remember to write the word ‘Lie’ underneath, or use red ink to show it is false. Do the same with the ‘Truths’, writing ‘True’ or using green ink.
Then decide how many stories each person will tell – if you are short on time or there is a lot of you, just go for one per person. Decide who will tell their ‘Truth’ and who will tell one of your ‘Lies’ and pop the necessary pieces of paper into envelopes with the name of the person who will be reading them on the front. If you have more time, or there’s only a small group taking part, you can give each person a few envelopes, one or two containing their ‘Truths’, the rest with your ‘Lies’ (make sure everyone gets the correct ‘Truth’!) Allocating the ‘Lies’ yourself lends an element of surprise for everyone, but if you’re short on time, you can always simply ask people to arrive with one truth and two lies of their own.
When you’re ready to begin, explain the game and ask the first person to open an envelope. They must then relate what it says to the rest of the group, adding as much detail as they like, to convince them it is true. Other participants can then ask questions and discuss the answers to get more information and try to catch the main player out. Once everyone has asked a question, ask those who think it is a ‘Lie’ to raise their hand. Ask the main player to reveal the truth by turning the paper around for everyone to see, and give a point to those who were correct. If the main player gets a ‘Truth’ in their envelope, they may choose to double-bluff the other players by seeming as though they are lying – again, anyone who guesses correctly gets a point.
Taking it Further
This exercise works wells as a short icebreaker before meetings, but you can also make a whole afternoon or evening of it by splitting people into teams of two or three and adding extra rounds. Classic rounds from the TV show include:
- Ring of Truth: Everyone takes part in guessing during this round. ‘Facts’ are read out about well-known celebrities and players must guess whether they are true or false. For example: ‘David Beckham gave a copy of his autobiography to Nelson Mandela for Christmas.’ (True!)
- This is My…: If your colleagues are up for a bit of pre-game preparation, ask everyone to bring an object to tell a story about. Allocate people ‘True’ or ‘False’ stories beforehand so that you have an even spread. For example: ‘This a lock of Simon Cowell’s hair that I bought on eBay.’
- Quick-Fire Lies: If you’ve been inundated with funny stories people wanted to share, consider ending with a quick-fire round. Go around each person individually, giving them one story, and tell them who the story was from. They must answer within 10 seconds, without asking any questions.