Team Building Activity: “Quit Taking It Personally”

Posted by Kristin Arnold on December 13, 2022

team building activity 2

This team building activity provides a quick reminder to your team that “they” aren’t out to get us. It works well with any team size and only takes five minutes. The only materials you need are a Q-tip® for each team member.

Conduct this exercise in a space large enough for team members to see each other. As your team walks in, hand them a Q-tip® or place one at each seat. You’ll see a few raised eyebrows and hear a few comments about the Q-tip®. Just nod your head knowingly and smile until you are ready for your “icebreaker.”

Pick up your Q-tip® and ask if anyone knows what “this” is and what it does.

You’ll hear the standard responses, e.g., “to clean your ears.” Challenge the team to be more creative…and enjoy the responses!

After everyone has had a turn, suggest their Q-tip® is a reminder to “Quit Taking It Personally.” (Don’t worry, some will “get it” immediately…others will need some prompting!)

Debrief and Summarize
With Q-tip® in hand, ask the team what “Quit Taking It Personally” means to them.

  • How can we use or adapt this concept within our team?
  • How can we identify when we take something personally?
  • How might we, as a team, help each other when we take something personally?


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

Inspired by Linda Thompson who was inspired by Timothy J. O’Brien, Director, Institute for Stress Management

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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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