Team Building Activity: Facial Message Relay

One of the team building activities that never fail to crack people up is the Facial Message Relay. Traditionally people communicate a specific sentence to one another in a Message Relay activity. In this version though, the participants are only allowed to communicate through their facial movements. This usually makes for an amusing learning experience for everyone.

Here is everything you need to know to conduct this wonderful activity:

Participants:

10-50 participants (5-10 per team)

Materials:

Blackboard or any screen that can display information
Paper and pen

Objective:

Pass on the correct message to the last person in line.

Instructions:

1. Form the participants teams with equal numbers.
2. Explain the value of each facial gesture to the participants. The values are as follows:
a)         Eyebrow flash (raising eyebrows) = 1,000
b)         Nose movement = 100
c)         Kiss motion = 10
d)         Licking motion = 1
3. Instruct the first people in the line to relay a certain numerical value using the designated facial gestures only. For instance, if the value is 1,786, the participants must relay 1 eyebrow flash, 7 nose movements, 8 kissing motions, and 6 licking motions.
4. Each participant must face away from the first person in each line. Once a person has been tapped, he/she must focus on the facial message relayed, and pass it on to the next person.
5. Once the message has been successfully passed to the last person in line, the last person will write the value on a piece of paper.
6. Skipping people in one’s line or talking is not allowed.
7. Any team breaking the rules has to restart the message relay process.
8. The teams to contain the correct message first wins. You may repeat the process as many times as you’d like.  

Possible debriefing questions include the following…
How hard was it to communicate with your team mates?
What were the roadblocks to effective communication?
What were the factors that made communication easier?

You may change the facial gestures to anything else that you see fit or just to make it more hilarious. I hope you enjoy conducting this interesting version of the classic Message Relay activity!

  • The instructions for this activity was recreated by the Learning and Development Division of the Cebu Teambuilding Facilitators Network . Led by Philipp Chen Tan, other members of the division are Kevin Johnrey Sosas, Paulo Frangelyco Magallon, and Marc Julius Rizada.
  • CTFN does not claim ownership of this activity. For a list of references used to recreate activity instructions, please visit our Directory of Activities page.

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