The IDEAL Virtual Team Building Activity: Personality Poker

Posted by Kristin Arnold on June 17, 2020

I was recently reminded of a fabulous team activity I recommended back in 2015 – Personality Poker – and it’s IDEAL for virtual team building!

So here’s the backstory:

My good friend and National Speaker Association (NSA) colleague Stephen Shapiro invented this team activity to demonstrate different approaches to innovation (his strong suit!). It works just as well with teams – workplace teams, civic/community teams, sports teams, church groups – basically any time you bring a group of people together to achieve a common outcome.

Personality Poker is a game that uses specially created playing cards. Each card has a suit, color, number, and a word that describes particular behaviors such as “creative,” “analytical,” “organized,” and “empathetic.” There are 52 cards with 52 different words. The goal is to trade cards with others so that you end up with five cards where the words best describe how you see yourself. You can also have others “gift” you cards so you can see how others perceive you. (Clever!) Based on the suits, colors, and numbers in your hand, you discover:

  • Your preferred style and your blind spots
  • The people you need to complement your hand…yet most likely avoid
  • What is missing from your team that is limiting innovation and success

And it’s a whole lot of fun! But I didn’t think you could do this in the virtual world – until I talked with Steve.

He’s got a FREE online version that feels like a slot machine.  Go ahead, spin the wheel that has the different personality traits and “hold” the ones that are most like you.  (I suggest “spin” a few times to get a sense for what the options are before you start “holding.”)

As a virtual icebreaker, have everyone do this before the meeting and share their results.  The team can comment on how they agree with your hand (or not!)

OR you can do this LIVE where everyone takes their turn at the slot machine in real-time during the meeting. The team contributes to the decision to keep or hold a specific card.  Where there is disagreement, a short conversation about why the team member should keep or discard the card is in order!  (I suggest you do one or two at a time/between breaks or this could take FOREVER!).

If you like this team activity, check out my book, Team Energizers, for 50 team activities!

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.

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