Simbols is an excellent experiential learning activity for improving communication skills within a team using problem solving techniques and strategic thinking to improve their performance to meet tight deadlines.
Simbols is initially, a seemingly simple task, but quickly becomes challenging as there is only one answer to the problem, and only one chance to solve it! Each individual has a number of patterned magnetic cards, which they need to describe the pattern of, in order to fit it into the correct place on a magnetic board. Participants can only communicate verbally and cannot show each other their cards, meaning each individual must contribute to solve the problem. Participants have only one chance to provide the correct answer, therefore process planning and improvement is vital.
Using verbal communication only, participants need to refine and improve their language and communication skills for mutual understanding between team members, mimicking everyday communication when a shared visual reference is not available.
As well as improving communication, problem solving skills and team building, Simbols activity also tackles project planning, strategic thinking, improving performance, and time management as participants are given a strict time frame to assemble their grid.
It is also an excellent exercise to use on an international or cross-cultural awareness programme as it rapidly highlights different cultural references and language styles.
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