We're sure you've all been in online meetings or workshops where the energy seemed to be below zero. It's true that engaging participants in an online workshop can be a challenge for facilitators, even if they are incredibly experienced.
Meeting in an online environment and working behind a screen all day can be draining and have an effect on the energy level of your participants.
But don't worry, while we might need to connect with our teams a little while longer over video chat and collaborate in online tools for workshops, there are some ways that can increase the engagement and fun factor or your online workshops and / or team meetings. Doing small exercises and energizers being one of them. If you want other tips on how to involve everyone during online meetings, check out one of our previous blog posts!
Below you can find three remote-friendly energizers that we often use during our online workshops or team meetings and that are great to spark creativity among the participants. Perfect before brainstormings or complex problem solving sessions!
This exercise takes about 5 minutes and all you need is a piece of paper or Post-It notes, and a pen! It's a great way to release the tension and put everyone in a creative mood.
A few steps to take into account to succesfully facilitate the exercise:
Ask everyone to turn on their camera. Tell them to take a Post-it or piece of paper and a pen.
Ask the participants to choose a partner.
Tell them to draw their partner on the Post-It note or paper. Attention! From the moment they start drawing, they can't look down at their paper and can only look at their partner's face on the screen.
Let them show their self-made portrait to the rest of the group via their camera.
As a facilitator, take a print-screen when all of the portraits are up.
Moral of the story: everyone can draw, even when you're not looking!
For this exercise, you will need the entire team to build something together. You will see that at first, the story will start of rather calm, but the further you take it, the more creative and funny it will get. Don't try drinking at the same time, or you will get showered! You only need yourselves for this exercise.
Follow steps below to do the Storytelling exercise yourself:
Start by setting the context of the exercise, e.g. "You're on a beach, with a tasty cocktail in your hand..."
The participant who's name comes first alphabetically adds a sentence based on what he or she sees (e.g. "I see a bird flying in the air").
The second participant alphabetically adds a sentence from what he or she hears. (e.g. "I listen to the bird singing a song")
The third participant adds from what he or she does. (e.g. "in the meantime, I'm doing push-ups in the sand")
The fourth participant adds from what he or she feels. (e.g. "I feel self-confident despite my not-so-toned belly")
Repeat for a few rounds and discover where the story takes you
I used to play this game a lot as a child, and the way some of my formidable opponents were experst in making untraceable changes about their appearances drove me crazy! It will push the participants to be creative in the way they approach the challenge!
Divide the participants in couples, most preferably putting persons who know each other less together.
Have them assign a partner A and a partner B
Explain that person A will get 15 seconds to observe as many details as possible about person B. After observing, person A will have to close their eyes, while person B changes 5 small things about their appearance. Person A will then be able to open their eyes again and guess which 5 things person B changed
Tell them to inverse the roles for person A and B, and repeat the exercise.
Send them off to breakout rooms in Zoom or have them set up a separate call per duo in Skype or Teams.
When they are done everyone needs to come back to the group chat. Make sure to give them a time limit of 5 minutes.
The people who remembered the most, stay in the game. Play multiple rounds until 1 or a few winners remain. Do the final round in the group conversation, where the people who lost get to cheer on the finalists!
Ps: don't go too easy on your partner!
Don't hesitate to try them out during your own virtual workshop and let us know how it went! If you want to get inspiration on other exercises you can do with your team, have a look at our UNITY card deck. This card deck consists of 52 team exercises, one for each week of the year, that are explained step-by-step, ready to be immediately used during your next workshop or team meeting!