16 energizers for more active online events
Anyone who has ever worked with energizers at face-to-face events such as workshops, seminars or long meetings knows: energizers have an enormous effect on motivation, team building and help to break the ice. They create an atmosphere in which one feels comfortable and ready to actively participate. Team members get to know each other better, they can build trust and overcome their shyness. Overall, they feel more comfortable in the team because communication is improved and the participants are also connected on an emotional level due to an increase in empathy and team dynamics.
These are all things that we often find difficult in digital collaboration, so it is high time that the Energizers can take their well-deserved place in digital events. Sitting in front of the screen for a long time, which we all know only too well, is exhausting for our eyes and our body and not only makes you tired quickly but is also often the cause of headaches and neck pain. Not only does this reduce productivity in the long run, it also makes us more prone to errors, which in turn creates frustration. Short, regular and, above all, active breaks, which have been proven to improve well-being, can help. So why not integrate Energizer into digital collaboration as well? There are more than enough possibilities to implement well-known energizers digitally and to discover new formats, which also creates the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the digital tools in a playful way.
But what are these energizers actually?
Energizers are relaxation exercises that resemble small, active games. They can be used for movement or simply add variety to working together. Energizer strengthens the sense of unity in a group, because you do something together that others are not doing, which allows you to set yourself apart from others. Energizers encourage us to be silly and take ourselves less seriously, which also helps break down inhibitions. The short, fun, joint exercises leave a positive mood in the group and are motivating.
What should I pay attention to when implementing?
With digital energizers, the camera and sound should be switched on by all participants so that a sense of togetherness can develop. However, no one should be forced into a position that makes them uncomfortable, otherwise energizers can also become uncomfortable and demotivating. The participants often find it difficult at first to get involved in the unfamiliar and sometimes strange-looking exercises. It is therefore important that the game leader participates 100% and fully engages in the exercise so that the participants can orientate themselves on it. Make really exaggerated movements. But you shouldn’t do any exercises that you don’t feel comfortable with as a leader either, after all, energizers should be fun for everyone.
How can I use Energizer sensibly?
Basically, energizers are great for improving team culture, actively engaging attendees at events, and providing a fun experience. They can also help establish informal conversations. Due to the wide range of energizers, there is a suitable energizer for almost every occasion or every problem. Classically, they can be used to activate participants when energy is lacking and to create a transition between exercises. They are particularly suitable as a start or as a break activity. Especially when talking about personal topics, energizers help the participants to open up by increasing commitment and empathy. But they can also help focus and creativity, and are therefore also useful before a brainstorming process. Often they simply represent an invigorating action that helps against a drowsy mood or when you’re stuck somewhere.
How do I find the right energizer?
In order to find the right energizer for your group and your event, there are a few things to consider. Basically, you can always orientate yourself on what would have been possible at an event on site with the group. Nevertheless, you should not ignore the technical conditions when making your decision. Can everyone hear and see each other well? In which setting are the participants physically located? If someone is attending from an office, that person must be careful not to disturb their colleagues. If the participants are at home, they are likely to be more open to more active exercises.
Also pay attention to the group size. For exercises where everyone should have a turn, the larger the group, the more time is needed, since everyone should always have a turn. You should also ask yourself how well the group knows each other and how much trust they already have, and if they have any Energizer experience. The setting of the event is also relevant. Is it a formal event or an informal get-together? The exercises should definitely be adapted to this. And of course you should also think about what you want to achieve with the energizer, do you want to get the group to concentrate or do you want them to move? Basically, energizers can be used to build trust, get to know each other, activate or focus.
You can see which energizers we would recommend to you here:
Our 16 favorite energizers
We have tested some energizers for you and would like to present our 16 favorites to you here
1. The Gif Party
The Gif Party is a super low-threshold entry into digital energizers. This exercise is suitable for small and medium-sized groups. A gif party loosens up the group and can bring new impetus to your work. All you need is a chat, in which gifs can also be posted.
One person then names an umbrella term and everyone thinks about what associations they have with it. They then choose a suitable gif for this association. For example, if the assault is summer, you’re bound to find some funny gifs about outdoor pools, eating ice cream, and summer vacation. Then look at the gifs together and talk about which one is the funniest? Which one is most appropriate? Then a new umbrella term can be chosen, maybe there are even ideas from the group.
2. The Crazy Alphabet
With the crazy alphabet, movement comes into play without having to get up from your desk. This exercise is suitable for groups of all sizes and can really lighten the mood.
All you have to do is share your screen and show a picture of an alphabet with each letter assigned either R, L or K. You then say the alphabet together. Raise your right arm for an R, raise your left for an L, and cross your arms for a K. For the more advanced among you, the pace can be increased or you can invent additional movements.
3. Twist your thumb
Thumb twiddling is more about creating a focused mood. You can use them well if you want to create a focused work atmosphere. This exercise is also suitable for groups of all sizes.
You put your hands in front of the camera and start twiddling your thumbs. You then do this in turn with all your fingers. Then you can change direction. If you then want a little challenge, you can place your hands so that your thumb and pinky are facing each other, and your index and ring fingers are facing each other. This exercise is very fast and still has a very big effect.
4. The big toss
Big throwing makes it pretty fun for small and medium sized groups. This exercise provides movement and can loosen up your group a bit.
You take any item and pretend you just caught it, then say what item you caught and who you want to “throw” it to. Then you pretend to throw the item to someone. For example: “I throw a pen at Steffi”, Steffi then “catches” another object and says, for example: “I catch a key fob” and throws it at another person. Make sure that everyone can get a turn. This exercise is also good for getting to know each other.
5. All the…
A good way to get to know each other, which is also suitable for larger groups, is the game All the… All participants need a camera.
At the beginning, everyone covers their camera or turns it off. You then name various characteristics or statements in turn, such as: I have siblings, I wear glasses, I am a morning person, etc. The participants to whom these statements apply then switch on their cameras or remove the cover.
6. Speed Scribble
Scribble should now be known to many from private digital meetings, the digital Monday painting is fast, funny and fun.
Just go to https://skribbl.io/ and create a room. You can set how much time a person has to draw and how many rounds you want to play. You can adjust this to your group size. As an alternative, you can also use the whiteboard in your video conferencing software and send the terms to the person via (private) chat.
7. Get a quick…
With Holt mal Schnell… real movement comes into play, because it’s all about speed.
You name an item or a type of item that the participants then have to get as quickly as possible. The first person to hold the object they are looking for in the camera wins and may announce the next object. This exercise can be done with small to medium-sized groups and brings energy and movement to the group.
8. Build towers
This energizer can be implemented very quickly, brings fun and action and is suitable for all group sizes.
Everyone has 30 seconds to build as high a tower as possible with the objects around them. After that, the time is stopped and the towers can be compared. Which one is the most beautiful, the tallest, the most stable?
9. Find the mistake
Find the mistake provides puzzle fun and variety. If everyone is to have a turn, the group should not be too large. This game is also good for learning.
For this exercise, everyone needs to memorize the image of a person, including the background, well. That person then turns off their camera and changes something about themselves or their background. Then, when the camera is turned on again, the others have to find the difference.
10. Telling a story together
Shared storytelling can encourage creativity and is usually quite fun. This works in small and medium-sized groups.
You should set this in an order and write it down for everyone to see (the easiest way to do this is in the video conference chat). Then everyone takes turns saying a word until a little story emerges.
11. The shaking game
This energizer is just what you need after sitting for a long time because it will activate your group and provide movement. This can be done with any group size.
You also just put yourself in front of the camera so that your whole body can be seen and then start shaking all parts of your body in turn. So first the left hand, the right hand, the left leg, the right leg, the head, the shoulders, and eventually everything. How long and how fast you want to do the exercise is up to you.
12. Guess noises
The Energizer Guess noises will definitely add variety to your event. The exercise works for small and medium-sized groups.
The principle is very simple: one person makes a noise and the others guess it. The respective person can think up a sound themselves or you can specify one. You can also either make the sounds yourself or search for specific sounds on YouTube and share your audio.
13. My dachshund Waldemar and I
A classic that some may still know from the camp or the youth group: My dachshund Waldemar and I. Since it requires movement and singing, this energizer is more for groups that know each other well and are Energizer-tested. But this is where the energizer feeling really comes home.
In short: You sing: My dachshund Waldemar and I, we two, we live at Regenbogenstraße 3 and when we do our rounds in the evening, you can see dachshund legs shaking. You then move accordingly.
You can see what that looks like in presence in this video .
This energizer is also more suitable for groups that already know each other and should not be too large. This energizer will provide laughter and relaxation
It is best to position yourself in front of the camera so that you can see you completely. Then one person mimes a term and the others guess. To get started, you can choose the terms you want to present yourself. But it gets funnier when you get assigned terms.
15. Guess Emoji
Again, this energizer works better with groups that already know each other. This exercise provides relaxation, fun and a bit of exercise.
You send an emoji to a person in a private chat, that person imitates that emoji with their face, and the others try to guess the emoji. Whoever guessed it writes it in the group chat and can represent the next emoji.
16. Mirror Image
Reflection promotes calm and concentration. Basically, the exercise works with all group sizes.
Everyone should have their cameras on for this. Position yourself so that you and your movements can be seen clearly. Then you demonstrate clear and slow movements that the others imitate. If you want, you can also switch over so that everyone can demonstrate a movement.
Energizers belong in every event
Energizers are a great way to bring new momentum, energy and, above all, variety to your digital events. The digital space in particular offers many possibilities for this and you can find the right energizer for every group, every format and every goal. It’s a lot of fun trying out different things and always discovering new things. Just start with a few introductory exercises in your next event.
If you are currently planning an event, have a look at our article Planning Online Events in a Team – What Your Team Needs . Your next event is sure to be a success!