Team Building Activity: Make a Mnemonic Device

Posted by Kristin Arnold on November 1, 2023

Make a mnemonic Device (1)

Use this activity to help develop quicker recall of specific, job-related information. It works best with groups of 5 to 6 people and requires 15 to 20 minutes.  You will need to have 3″x5″ cards and pens.

Ideally, the room is set up with table groupings for five or six team members. Whether the team is dealing with information overload, productivity issues, stress, presentations, or the need to develop greater memory power, this activity illustrates how the development of a personalized mnemonic device can lead to greater self-confidence and efficiency.

Begin with the illustration of the word “H-O-M-E-S,” which provides an excellent trigger for remembering the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. Ask team members to list at least one thing that, when quickly recalled, could make their job easier. Each entry should be detailed on a separate 3″x 5″ card. The item could be as simple as a phone number or as complicated as names of tenants in a building.

Collect the cards, shuffle them, and distribute two or three to each team with this charge: “You are to come up with a mnemonic device that will help the person who wrote this remember it more rapidly.” Encourage alliterative, rhyming, melodic and graphic representations.

Call on a spokesperson from each team to describe the device they came up with. Ask for feedback from the person who submitted the original list on the 3″x5″ card.

Debrief and Summarize
After all have had a chance to participate, debrief the activity:

  • What are the advantages of having an excellent memory?
  • What things do you do to develop your memory?
  • What memory aids does your team currently employ?
  • How might we apply these lessons to our team’s work?

Contributed by Dr. Marlene Caroselli

If you like this activity, check out my book, Team Energizers, for 49 other team activities!


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Team Building Activity: The Deck of Cards

It’s Crucial to Create and Keep a Team Memory

Ensure Teamwork Among Multinational Teams

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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