How to Get Unstuck
What's your team ready for?

Keyboard team building game

Here's a team building game that puts your old keyboard to use.  You know that keyboard, it's the one you were thinking about throwing away.

Keyboard_keys_1First, you'll have to pull all the keys off the keyboard.  It's usually very easy.  Before you start pulling keys, make sure you don't need that keyboard anymore because there's no going back.  A warning note:  don't let your small children see you dismantle this keyboard or they might try it on one you need! You'll end up with around 60 keys (60 pieces).

At the beginning of your next workshop, when you need an "icebreaker", have everyone select a key while they are entering the room.  When the time is right, share what they are to do with this key (this is what you say)...

"I pulled all of these keys off of one keyboard.  If one of the keys was malfunctioning or missing (before I dismantled the keyboard) then it would not be possible to operate the computer at its full potential.  Each key brings a unique attribute to the keyboard (the team/community).  What does the key you've selected say about an attribute  you bring to a team (you bring to this/our team)?  Get in groups of three and share your thoughts and insights."

Give the groups of three enough time to talk and then ask everyone to re-focus their energy on the large group.  Ask if there are any insights or new understandings that people would like to share with the large group.

Another way to use this activity…

My wife attends a local Toastmasters group once a week and she recently led this keyboard activity but in a slightly different way than described above.  Each person was given a key and then certain people were asked to stand up and (using impromptu speaking skills) answer a question such as:

  1. The key you're holding represents an important speaking skill.  Identify the skill and describe why it's important.
  2. The key you're holding represents something you're thankful for.  What is it and why are you thankful for it?
  3. The key you're holding is actually a vitamin.  What does this vitamin do?

This keyboard activity reminds me of the following Universal Truth:  what you sow so shall you reap.  My wife and I describe it to my six-year-old son as “what you put out is what you get back”.  Cause and effect.

When typing on a keyboard (when it’s hooked up to a computer) you expect to see the letter “e” appear on the screen when you press the letter “e” on the keyboard. The letter “e” shows up after you take action.  You wouldn’t sit in front of your computer and say “I’ll press the “e” only after it shows up” or “I’m going to hope for the letter “e” to show up on the screen”.  In a similar way, if my son wants to experience more kindness in his life then he must first express kindness to others. 

How does this work?  Read on… 

We are magnets.  We attract things, situations and people into our lives by what we think, say and (most powerfully) by what we strongly FEEL on a regular basis. The strong feelings act like a giant magnet and begin to draw MORE things, situations and people that are in harmony with what we are feeling.

This Universal Truth is called the Law of Attraction and is in effect all the time, which means it’s working as powerfully for the things you have intense emotions for that you do want (joy, creativity, love, health, abundance, etc.) as those you don’t want. For example, if you have strong feelings of anger towards someone on a regular basis then you are attracting more anger into your life.  This anger may show up in many different ways – it could be an angry motorist cuts you off or you might receive an angry phone call from a customer or you may intensify your own feelings of anger thus making you sick.  On the other hand, when you feel joyful then you are attracting more joy into your life and this joy will manifest in many different ways. 

The Law of Attraction is like the Law of Gravity.  Gravity is neither good nor bad.  Gravity just is.  You can use gravity to have fun, like skiing down a hill.  Attraction is the same way.  You can choose how  you’ll interact with it.  When you become conscious of what you are feeling you can begin to consciously attract more of what you desire.

For instance, if you’re on a dysfunctional team and you’re angry and upset about it then you are going to attract more dysfunction.  The path out of this cycle is to imagine, with as much clarity and emotion as possible, that the team is running perfectly.  Imagine what it feels like when all of the team members are caring, respectful, creative, courageous and wise.  Imagine this situation frequently and enjoy the feeling.  When you do this you will attract the people, situations and resources necessary to create a high functioning team.

Are you new to the Law of Attraction?  Listen to this free audio interview with Law of Attraction expert Michael Losier HERE.

Looking for more innovative teambuilding games?  Members of the International Association of Teamwork Facilitators have access to a growing online archive of teambuilding games (complete with video clips and downloadable directions).  Read all the member benefits CLICK HERE.

Learn how to teach Law of Attraction principles through experiential teambuilding games HERE.


noel simone

great info...all the time. I need to find more time to be able to apply the things you have sent....thanks!

Fernanda Ibarra

Tom: I read,feel and live into the Law of Attraction. I also try to recognize what attraction means in different moments in my life. Perhaps some people are so attractive because of the wealth that they hold that it creates and immediate response in the mental level. Can you say more on the law of attraction and on how do you separate what comes to the mind as is not necesarily good for the Self?

Judy Tedford

Hey Tom,
We met at BRCC while I was there, and I was impressed then. Even more so now.
Way to go! I love your team stuff.

Paul Turner

Great idea. I have used Scrabble pieces in the past for a game like this but I think it's cheaper to buy the keyboard at a thrift store for a buck or two. Keep it up.


Prachi Kelkar-Bhide

Dea Tom,

Nice game. And yes, I know and believe in Law of Attraction. It works! I have read the book and seen the movie "The Secret" which tells us about Law of Attraction. Thank you so much for sharing this :)


zenobia s rustomfram

Dear Tom ,
Every day that I open my mail box I look forward to a mail from you as it gives me one new idea to implement.
I liked the key board activity and I feel it is a graet way of getting people to think positive and about their committment to the team.


hi Tom, Your ideas are quite interesting...simple yet meaningful.

You know i played that focussed ring activity that you do...was just wondering...if you have 10 people with one ring... the strings must be really long for it to be done well? isn't it? i had 2 meter long strings..though it worked, however people were too close.


Great new inspiring icebreaker to get persons to share experiences, feelings, thoughts, and to raise their own awareness of themselves at the beginning of the workshop! Must dig out your tele seminar on the Law of Attraction!


Thank You.
for giving me a new tool, to think and teach

Denise O'Berry

This activity is an innovative use of an old useless keyboard. Thanks for making the points about the law of attraction. That's why so many teams get stuck in a vicious circle of dysfunction.

Sallie Phillips

Looking for a team building activity that can be run with 8 teams at one time at a counselor conference. Last year we did one that you have sent that used only small cups and building individual pyramids. It was great fun and the debriefing was excellent for each individual team. Got any more like that using minimal props?

Hi Sallie -- Tom Heck here and yes, I do have an idea for you. It's called the "Elastic Bulls eye" and you can see it here:

Jody Burch

I used this as an icebreaker for our staff retreat. We then rotated through some teamwork/problem solving activities. One of those activities was to work together to put the keyboard back together with all the keys in the right places. Each group had 10-15 minutes to work on it. They barely finished in time. Some of those side keys are tricky (TIP- take a picture of the keyboard before you take it apart if you plan on using this activity)

Harpreet Walia

Dear Tom
Great STUFF. I am getting wiser and wiser by sharing your thoughts and positive approach towards the subject. Just keep it up!

Alice West

Would be nice if you had that large of a group...for them to stand in 3 lines representing the keyboard....and give them spell for each person to say their letter in sequence to the word...

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