The Power of Energisers

Let’s talk about the power of energisers! Many a time we could all do with a little energy boost! We at People Business are big fans of using energisers both in our own meetings and in the training we deliver for many reasons.

Energisers help to:

  • reduce fatigue for workshops or meetings whether online or face to face
  • engage the audience
  • aid connection
  • help communicate key workshop or meeting messages.

Energisers are typically used to lift energy levels and engage people but if selected wisely they can also help bring about connection, providing an opportunity for people to get to know each other. They can also be used to communicate important messages which tie in with the session content. It’s important to consider the most appropriate energiser to use for the session you’re delivering so the activity lands with impact.

Example – if you have a cross functional group for a workshop on a Friday morning which lasts 2.5 hours, you may want to use an energiser which not only lifts energy levels but also breaks the ice and brings people together. In which case option 1, ‘Significant item’, from our top 5 energisers list below would be a good choice.

When to use energisers

  • Energisers are most often used at the start of a workshop or meeting and/or after a break. It’s useful to have a few up your sleeve for when you feel the energy or level of engagement in a group slipping.

*Please note: Energisers should not be used as substitutes for breaks!

What to be mindful of when using energisers

  • Be thoughtful about the seniority of the group and their receptiveness to your chosen energiser activity, that said don’t assume those more senior won’t enjoy a fun activity!
  • Read the room. If timing is tight and people are under pressure it might not be appropriate to lead an energiser.
  • Be sure everyone can fully participate in your chosen activity. Ensure the energiser you’ve chosen is inclusive and allows all individuals to benefit from the exercise. Avoid springing activities on people during the session if they require certain tools to take part (pens, paper etc.). Give them advanced warning so they arrive prepared and able to engage.

“I make a point of incorporating energisers and games into the workshops I deliver. It is important that activities are well thought out and have a clear purpose – creating a playful environment can trigger the greatest learning. I often start an event with an exercise where the debrief summarises the focus for the meeting. Right from the outset it presents the opportunity to show people what important topics such as; leadership, collaboration, change etc mean in practice. It lifts the discussion from the academic to reality – that is why I make a point of using new, interesting and relevant energisers in my workshops.”

Graeme Rainbird, Consulting Director, People Business


Which are People Business’s current top 5 energisers?

1. Significant item: Great for breaking the ice and allowing people to get to know each other on a different level

Ask participants to show or bring a significant item; this could be a photo, book, item of clothing and then to describe to the whole group the reason for its significance.

2. Mexican wave: A good option for raising energy – particularly useful when participants have been sitting for a while and need a short burst of movement

Allocate a number to each participant, then ask the group to follow the sequence (For five participants, you’d allocate numbers 1-5 for example) and rise up from their chair at their point in the sequence.

3. The paper challenge: Not only a fun choice, it’s interesting to see the different approaches people take to the same task

Ask each participant to put a piece of paper behind their back and without looking tear the shape of a particular animal (you only need to allow a minute or so!). Ask each person the show their animal to the group. As the facilitator of the energiser ask people about the different approaches they took to the task.

4. Spot the difference: A good choice for a virtual workshop, also highlights the importance of observation

Encourage participants to observe each other’s virtual background. Everyone then turns their camera off, changes 3 things in their background, and each person takes turn guessing what’s changed.

5. Count to 20: This energiser is great for encouraging communication and teamwork

Ask the group to count to 20 but inform them that two people can’t call out the same number at the same time and everyone must call out at least one number – the rest is up to them to figure out! As the facilitator of the energiser ask the group what they noticed about taking part? Did someone naturally take the lead? Was it difficult? How did they work together to complete the task?

*Energiser sources: Session Lab/The Big Bang Partnership.

To find out more about the range of workshops we run please do get in contact.