Do you want to bring some joy to your team meetings? In the past year, many of us have spent more time on Zoom than ever before. I’m sure you have also experienced how depleted you feel after spending several hours on a video conference, no matter how interesting the content might be. This is when energizers can be a huge help.
Energizers are activities aimed to boost the mood and vitality of your group. Activities like these can help you create a positive environment, facilitate connection, and raise the energy of your online meeting. They help regain people’s attention, and also make transitions more engaging and dynamic.
In this post, we share five fun and easy energizers you can use to enliven your virtual gatherings.
- Magic Ball
Do you want to boost people’s creativity? For this activity, turn on your camera then ask your team to do the same and change to gallery view. Raise your hands as if you were holding an imaginary ball. Tell your teammates that you have a magic ball with a unique superpower that can only be experienced by the person holding it. You can pick whichever superpower you like. For example, if you choose teleportation, those who hold the magic ball will be able to teleport in an instant to a destination of their choosing (like the mountains of Costa Rica, an Australian beach, or the moon). After explaining the superpower and sharing your example, use your hands to mime throwing the magic ball to one of your colleagues by name. To receive the magic ball, they need to mime catching it and then act as though they’re holding it. After sharing with the rest of the team where they would teleport, they then throw the magic ball to the next team member by name. Keep the magic ball rolling until everybody has shared. There are so many superpowers you can use for this energizer — like truth-telling, time travel, or invisibility — pick whichever you think will be the most hilarious!
- The Virtual Gym
Would you like to get people’s blood flowing? During a pause in your meeting, choose a part of your body you’d like to relax or activate. Perhaps it’s rolling your head to release tension in your neck and shoulders, rotating your wrists to give them a break from typing, or even standing up to do some jumping jacks. Ask your group to join you in the movement, making whatever modifications they prefer for their comfort or health, and then repeat your movement a few times. After you’re done, ask a colleague to choose a different body part and suggest another simple movement the whole group can imitate. If there’s enough time, give everybody in the group a chance to choose. Encourage simple movements accessible to all of your participants. Physical breaks like this energizer are almost always welcomed!
- Tension & Release
Could your team use a break from audio and video, or some help with stress management? Ask your teammates to find a comfortable position, sitting or standing, however they prefer. Once they’re in a comfortable position, ask them to close their eyes and start scanning their bodies from their feet to their head. Ask them to identify places where they’re feeling tension and storing stress. Maybe it’s their lower back, shoulders, and/or jaw. After the scan, encourage everybody to tense their limbs and as many of the other muscles in their body that they can for a count of 10. Then, all at once and with a full exhale, tell them to release all that tension and relax their whole bodies into their chair or the floor. Repeat this process a few times. After this energizer, your colleagues will feel a lot more relaxed!
- 3 Drawings
Does your meeting need a fun break? For this activity, each participant will need a writing utensil (like a pen or pencil) and some sort of writing canvas (like paper or a napkin). People could also do this activity virtually, using the drawing program of their choice on their computer or mobile. Start by choosing an object that is well known by everyone in your group and requires intermediate-level skill to draw (like a sailboat or a horse). Give folks a minute to draw it. Then, after everybody has finished, ask them to try drawing the same image with their non-dominant hand. Give everyone a minute to complete this second drawing. Finally, ask people to take a minute to draw the object again with their eyes closed. Take some time for your group to share their three drawings with each other. This energizer exercises different parts of the brain and often makes people laugh!
- Camera On - Camera Off
Do you need a way to transition between sections of your meeting? Prepare a few questions ahead of time that are relevant to each topic. For example... If you’re about to do an icebreaker, you can ask who started their day with coffee/tea or a full breakfast or who uses headphones or listens to the sounds of nature while walking. If your team is about to plan an upcoming virtual event, you can ask who prefers morning or afternoon events or who would rather host a virtual panel or a participatory webinar. Tell people to turn on their camera if they prefer the first option and turn off their camera if they prefer the second option. Encourage your teammates to watch what happens in gallery view. As each question is answered by cameras flicking on and off, the gallery view will resort itself. Observe and comment on the patterns of responses. If you have time, you can ask folks to share with the rest of the team why they responded the way they did to a particular question. This type of energizer is a great way to promote participation and change the dynamics of your meeting!
If you try one of these out, let us know how it went by tagging #SmithAssembly on social media or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!