4 Fun and Easy Icebreakers to Kick Off an Online Session

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4 Fun and Easy Icebreakers to Kick Off an Online Session

Energisers help the participants of a workshop to be more alert and active.

Also they are a great way to get to know each other better.

If you choose the right energizers, you can really boost the energy of a group and become more result-driven as an outcome.

And that's why in today's episode, we're gonna have a look at four energizers you can use to create your own high energy and result driven workshops.

So let's go.

SessionLab

The inspiration for these four energizers come from SessionLab.

SessionLab is a tool to design your workshops and to collaborate with your co-facilitators.

And I have not used this yet as a tool to design my workshops, but there is a great part of it, which is a database of workshop formats, and that's where the four energizers are found in.

I am planning to use SessionLab in the near future and to create a video out of that, so that you can see how you can use SessionLab to create your own workshops.

And I do that, because I think it's a great addition to the workshop creation playbook where we see the eight steps in creating a workshop.

And I think SessionLab can help and speed up a number of those steps.

If we have a look at the dashboard of SessionLab, then you can see that I have two workshops.

And this one is shared with me when I created my account, by SessionLab.

So they give you an example of how a team dynamics workshop can look like.

You can see the time chunks over here, the workshop exercises, and facilitator notes.

And your co-facilitators can also log in over here, so you can co-create and design your workshop over here.

What I like specifically and for now is that you can search for energizers.

For example, you can search for every workshop format.

And then you get a long list of possible workshops formats you can use, and you can browse through them, and you can see which one are popular, and also see if they would fit your specific use case.

And you can find these four energizes in these database, but where I found them was in their email course around remote workshop facilitation called Remote Workshop 101.

And in the email series of five emails, in the first one, it gave an overview what they're gonna talk about, so tips for designing online workshops and meetings, how to choose the right tools for your online meetings, how to run virtual group sessions, and remote friendly facilitation methods and activities.

And that's actually day four.

So, they gave an overview of icebreakers, energizers, and techniques to use.

And, in this case, we're gonna use these four exercises:

  • Three Wishes
  • Story Around the Circle
  • Doodling Together
  • Take a Picture of Your Shoes.

And, of course, they already sound great, but let's deep dive into them, and let's see what they actually mean.

Three Wishes

The first energizer or icebreaker is called Three Wishes, and the goal of this energizer is to encourage personal or professional reflection and to help the team to get to know each other a little bit better.

There are instructions here on the page and also variations, which you could do and some guidance on how you could do the debrief at the end of the exercise and some tips for running this activity online.

And what I did, I used these instructions to create another workshop format, which you can download below.

And with this template it's more easy to do these exercises in Google Slides.

Of course, you can also download these Google Slides as a PowerPoint or PDF.

If you have the PDF, you can also use these slides in MURAL or Miro, but, in this case, we're gonna do it in Google Slides.

So if you were granted three wishes, what would they be?

One of my wishes for next year is to grow the Workshop Wednesday community to 1,000 plus people.

So what I did, I went to my workspace and I wrote it down.

And then when everyone is ready, you can put it over here.

And everyone gets three post-its.

And what's nice to do is to have a little fun, add a GIF, image, or a video.

I've added the links over here.

So, for example, let's go to Giphy.

We open the website and we choose a image over here.

So let's say this one.

You can copy the image address, and then if you go to Google Slides, you go to Insert, Image, By URL.

You paste the image like this, and then you can see the image over here.

And remember the goal of this exercise is to get to know each other better and learn about each other's ideas and different perspectives.

So if you're doing the debrief, then it could be that you see differences within the group.

And that could be a great reason to talk about each other's interests and to see how you can align with each other.

Story Around the Circle

The next energizer is called Story Around the Circle.

And the goal of this energizer is to:

  • Have fun
  • Get to know each other
  • Create a vision for the team
  • Use the team's imagination.

You start with, "Once upon a time in a land far away...

"Five people got together to solve all the world's problems.

"Everything seemed easy until one day one of the people saw on the horizon dot dot dot."

The idea of this energizer is that you co-create a story with each other, that each person of the team adds a line one by one, and this way you build upon each other's imagination and also insight.

So try to do a round or two where everyone adds at least one line, and try to invite the team to use their imagination and use cliffhangers, "And then" or, "Unfortunately for her," because then it's easier for other people to continue on what's written before.

You can duplicate this page if you need more space to write.

And what could be a great idea is to choose a theme for the story.

Because if you ask the team to create a story for five years into the future, how would everything look like, you get a different story, for example, if you reflect on the past year.

Remember that the goal of this exercise is to have fun and to get to know each other better and also to create a vision.

So in the debrief, you want to discuss whether there are ideas or lessons within the discussion the team had, which you can use in the next steps for the team.

Doodling Together

The next energizer is called Doodling Together, and it's created by Anja Ebers.

The goal is to establish creative confidence, collaborate effortlessly, and build capacity for working together as a workshop group.

And this is a great workshop exercise, especially for teams who don't feel comfortable with doodling or drawing with a pen and paper.

And most of the time that's because they don't feel comfortable about their drawing skills.

But the main reason you ask people to doodle and to draw things on paper is because then they make their ideas more concrete, and it becomes more tangible, and it's easier for other people to see what people mean.

And because of that, it's also easier to contribute to each other's ideas.

Out of the four, this energizer is maybe the hardest to do

in Google Slides, but still quite easy.

So normally you would
have a physical place

where you can draw on pen and paper.

And what we wanna do is
we wanna recreate a place

in Google Slides where people can do that.

There are five steps to this energizer.

So the first step, you're
gonna draw a form and a shape.

And then after every step,

you're gonna hand the piece
of paper to your neighbour.

And that's the challenging part,

because then if you have
a new piece of paper,

you have to make something
out of someone else's drawing.

And then you're gonna add context.

You're gonna add the action or drama.

And then only the last
step, the text can be added

to the drawing.

And how you can do that in Google Slides

is by using pictures again.

So you can draw on paper
and just make a picture

and add it to Google Slides.

That's still quite easy,
but then the next step

it becomes a little bit harder,

because if you copy this to the next slide

and then move it to the next box,

because you're gonna go around the circle,

then what you can do here
is either you can print it,

or you can ask people to redraw
it on a new piece of paper.

But if someone has an iPad with a pencil,

then it becomes quite
easy, again, to do this.

They can simply draw on the
iPad, and then also export it

to Google Slides, or you
can just copy and paste

the images that are in
Google Slides to your iPad.

So the first step is
creating the basic shape.

Then in the second step,
you're gonna add to it.

And you're gonna add to do the drawing

from the person to your left.

And then you're gonna switch
again in the third step.

You're gonna add the context.

And in the fourth step, you're
gonna add action or drama.

And you cannot add text yet,
because that's the last step.

And then you're gonna finalize
the drawing over there.

In the description, Anja
also gives some tips

on how you can do riffs or variation

of this exercise, of this energizer.

For example, playing a certain
music during the doodling.

If you play Christmas songs,

then you end up with
interesting holiday postcards.

Take a Picture of Your Shoes

The last energizer is called Take a Picture of Your Shoes. Because you're gonna take a picture of your shoes.

This one is really fun.

At the end of this icebreaker activity, the members of your team should know a little more about the people they work with and feel more connected as a team.

And only thing you need here is a mobile phone or a camera.

So if you go through the slides again, you prepare it here, eight squares where people can post the images of their shoes.

And you do this energizer not to learn about the shoes, well, maybe a little bit, but mostly it's about the discussion around the shoes.

So, for example, if someone has their running shoes on, you can maybe have a discussion about their fitness interests, or someone has fluffy slippers, which were a Christmas present from their children.

This is a great conversation starter as well.

Of course, you can take a picture of any object.

So go wild with that.

I hope these four energizers help your teams to have more fun and to become more effective as a result.

If you want to download the slides, then go over to workshopwednesday.co.

You can find everything you need over there.

You can also join the community over there, and then every week you will receive templates like this in your inbox.

OUR SESSIONLAB AFFILIATE LINK

Sign up for SessionLab via: https://www.sessionlab.com?via=arthur15 *

RESOURCES

Remote Workshop 101 Course - https://www.sessionlab.com/remote-course-signup/
Three Wishes - https://www.sessionlab.com/methods/three-wishes
Story Around the Circle - https://www.sessionlab.com/methods/story-around-the-circle
Doodling Together - https://www.sessionlab.com/methods/doodling-together
Take a Picture of Your Shoes - https://www.sessionlab.com/methods/take-a-picture-of-your-shoes

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