Now that we’re working through virtual meeting after virtual meeting, so many of us find ourselves fatigued before we even begin our days’ work. We have some suggestions for ways to refocus and reenergize when the group needs a pick-me-up. You can use these energizers to kick off a meeting or mid-meeting to refocus participants’ energy, depending on your goals. On the innovation team, we love to start out high energy and with an element of fun. Below are some exercises that we have enjoyed using. Feel free to adjust so they make the most sense for your team and your particular meeting needs. Try these five energizers for when you have just a few minutes to check in with your colleagues. Check back for additional energizer ideas – we’ll be sharing many more in future posts.
1. Emoji check-in
A simple round table check-in but this time, instead of a one-word answer or short description, share an emoji that best describes how you are feeling at that moment. After all, pictures speak a thousand words!
2. Shoe Cam
Everyone takes a photo of their footwear and posts it. Any special stories about your shoes – or socks! – to share? Share it! Or, send pics to the meeting organizer in advance, and then everyone must guess whose picture is whose.
3. Nickname Warm-Up
Each participant introduces themselves using a nickname they had as a child, in college or at some other point in their life. Choose names that lend themselves to humor and emotion, and then tell a short story about how this nickname was acquired. Here’s the kicker – the rule for the rest of the meeting – strictly enforced – is that everyone must use only these nicknames when referring to themselves or others. P.S. Please make sure to only share nicknames that are work appropriate ?
4. Count Up
This is a great energizer in itself but can also serve to highlight the importance of structured and thoughtful conversation in an online environment.
In this short energizer, a group must count up to a number (usually twenty), taking turns at random, with no two people speaking at the same time. If two people speak at the same time, even for a second, the group must start over at number 1. The group has succeeded when they have counted up to the set number.
The key with this energizer is that people cannot communicate beyond saying the numbers, and so they must work together non-verbally. It’s a great exercise for helping people work together in a calm, focused manner and gently teaching the importance of speaking purposefully when collaborating online.
Depending on the group, this exercise may fail and that’s okay. The failure itself can be instructional! You can debrief after completing this exercise to highlight some examples of good meeting etiquette, and to emphasize the importance of good communication.
5. Live Polls
Live Polls are one of the easiest ways to break the ice and capture your audience’s attention. They can loosen up the atmosphere and set the tone for your event. They work particularly well if you want to engage larger crowds at meetings (50+). You can use a site like PollEverywhere to run these. Here are a few examples that we love:
How energized are you feeling right now?
(Rating 1-10, 1 = no energy, 10 = super energized)
As a child, what did you want to be when you grow up?
If age is only a state of mind, what is your state of mind right now?
(Options: Cheeky child, Tormented teenager, Mad mid-lifer, Groovy grandparent)