7 steps to bring the pop back to veterinary team meetings


Try these boredom busters to bring the fun back to your team training meetings.

Let's face it: Team meetings can get pretty dull sometimes. Although regularly scheduled team meetings are vital to keep your practice productive, it may help to switch up your approach. Making meetings something team members won't dread will boost responsiveness and collaboration. Here are a few team building exercises to try out with your team. Feel free to tweak as needed, and get creative!


Materials: Balloons, sharpie

Prep time: 10 minutes

Activity time: 15 minutes

Write essential abilities of a hospital team member (such as “compassion,” “communication” or “respectful of client's time”) on balloons.

Steps for larger teams: 

1. Hand out the balloons to the team: one balloon per team member. Be sure to have a duplicate of each asset.

2. Have team members find their “asset twin” and

meet up to discuss ways to provide this positive quality to their clients. Their goal is to come up with tips, discuss weaknesses and strengths and the importance of exhibiting this quality, then discuss with the group. 

Steps for smaller teams: 

Eliminate the duplicate balloons, and bunch the asset balloons together. Divide into teams of two. One team member randomly grabs a string and brings it back to their teammate for them to discuss. This adds a fun element of surprise for team members and eliminates the awkwardness of handing out duplicates in smaller groups.



This activity helps stimulate team members to enact the old adage “treat others as you wish to be treated.” Each member of the team takes a few minutes to list possible ways they would finish the sentence, “I like it when people are …” 

Materials: Attribution Appreciation form 

Download the free team training form at dvm360.com/attributes.

Prep time: None


1. Pass out the Attribution Appreciation form

2. Allow team members three minutes to complete the form. Try to encourage team members to brainstorm their role models and think of reasons they admire them to complete this activity. Then ask team members to brainstorm three ways they can match each attribute they listed. 

3. Share the answers with the group.



Materials: Beach ball, sharpie

Prep time: 5 minutes. Write a question on each section of the beach ball. 

Spice it up! You can make them fun personality questions or have the questions relate more to issues in the workday. 


1. Toss the beach ball around the room, taking turns to catch the ball. 

2. When team members catch the ball, they must answer the question that's closest to their right pinky when they

catch the ball.

3. Play until everyone has caught the ball at least one time.


This exercise can help train team members to maintain positivity and reduce stress when they're in challenging situations. It also serves as a good brainstorming session that can help build the bond between team members.

Materials:  None

Prep time: None


1. Create teams of two. 

2. Each team member takes a turn telling a really frustrating or upsetting work story from the past. 

3. The listening partner must help their coworker come up with positives that likely resulted from the troublesome situation.



As Stuart Smalley would say, “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” Since most of us don't get out of bed each morning repeating this phrase, let your teammates remind you. 

Materials: Pens and paper

Download the free form “10 things I love about you” at dvm360.com/10things.

Prep time: 5 minutes


1. Pair off the team, and pass out pens and the “10 things I love about you” form to everyone. 

2. Ask each team member write down 10 positive traits or things their partner does well in one minute.

3. Then ask team members to share the positive traits they wrote with their team member. Encourage team members to keep this list somewhere they will see it during the workday to help remind them of why they are such an essential component to the team. This also can help reinforce these strong characteristics when teammates are tempted to take the easy way out of a situation.



When you worry the team is halfway to dreamland during the meeting and not retaining information, challenge team members with this exercise. 

Materials: None

Prep time: None 


1. At the end of an educational meeting, break into teams or partners. 

2. Ask each team to come up with as many discussion points from the meeting as they can remember. 

3. Invite the teams present their lists to the group and for each accurate point, the team gets candy.

This exercise serves two purposes: It encourages team members to stay alert and attentive during meetings, and it allows the team leader to assess their presentation skills and revamp if necessary.


Even if you try to regularly thank your team for a job well done, people still enjoy a few minutes of solely hearing praise. In this exercise, you can learn more about how team members view themselves in contrast to how their fellow teammates view them. It's all positivity-no calling out weaknesses-making it fun for all involved.

Materials: Note cards, pens, whiteboard or blank poster paper, markers

Download note cards at dvm360.com/affirmationcards

Prep time: 15 minutes

Write positive qualities on note cards, such as “loves to learn,” “promoter,” “analytical thinker,” “reliable,” “creative,” “active listener,” “great communicator,” “sense of humor” and so on. Copy all of these cards so every team member has a stack of the same attributes. For example, if you have five employees, you'll have five identical stacks. Then make one additional stack for you, the dealer, to distribute. 


1. The dealer hands out note cards in random order to each team member-five in this example, to match the number of players. 

2. Write out each team member's name across a whiteboard.

3. Ask each team member to take their stack and divvy it up among the team, assigning one trait from their stack to each person, including themselves. Make sure the note cards are face-down.

4. Then give each team member their own complete stack of traits. 

5. Ask team members to pick out the traits they feel best describe themselves. They should pick out the same number of traits for themselves as others assigned to them. For example, if the player was given five trait cards by coworkers, she will pick five trait cards for herself. 

6. Reveal all of the note cards. Post the attribute cards picked by their coworkers under each team member's name. Then create a second column that shows the attributes team members picked for themselves. It's fun and rewarding to compare what teammates chose for each other versus what they chose for themselves. 

Not only is this a feel-good activity, it helps gain perspective on how others view you compared to how you view yourself.

Effective team building can strengthen your team by creating goals, resolving conflicts and developing a better understanding of yourself and each other. Your team will enjoy a chance to diverge from the typical hum-drum meeting, and you'll all have a little fun in the workplace. As a manager, you will enjoy the opportunity to learn more about how you can improve how your hospital functions and bring your team closer. 

Oriana Scislowicz, BS, LVT, VDT, is a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a technician in Richmond, Virginia.

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