Ice breakers and energisers are useful tools to have at your disposal if you are managing a team meeting because they encourage a positive atmosphere which invites participation and boosts productivity. They are short, light-hearted activities which are meant to be enjoyable and good fun. Ice breakers are used to help people relax and feel more at ease. They are particularly useful if a team is meeting for the first time or if a team meets infrequently, but they are also helpful for loosening up team members who were previously acquainted. Energisers are used to help people perk up at low points during a team meeting by getting them to do something that gets their body or their mind moving again. They are especially useful if a team's energy is flagging during the course of a lengthy meeting or after breaking for lunch.
Prepare for your team meeting by researching energisers and ice breakers online and selecting those most appropriate for the members of your team. If your team meeting will be short (for example, one or two hours in length), choose one ice breaker and one or two energisers. If your team meeting will be long (for example, an off-site meeting lasting several days), choose a different ice breaker with which to start each day and a selection of energisers to use throughout each day.
Assemble any props which may be required for your selected ice breakers and energisers. Run through your chosen activities on your own to ensure that you understand them yourself and to determine if they are appropriate for your team. Try to memorise your ice breakers and energisers, if you can, as this will enable you to present them more confidently to the rest of your team and encourage their participation.
Arrive a few minutes early for your team meeting to enable you to prepare your opening ice breaker. Explain your opening activity to the team when all team members are present. Check that every member of the team understands what you would like them to do. Commence your opening ice breaker. You and your team will slowly notice the atmosphere begin to thaw as everyone grows more at ease and more relaxed. You have just "broken the ice" at your team meeting with your opening ice breaker.
Follow the agenda of your team meeting, keeping an eye out for any signs of flagging energy levels (for example, team members yawning, losing concentration, or nodding off). Stop the meeting when you sense that team members are becoming less alert and less effective. Give them a short break of five minutes whilst you prepare your chosen energiser.
Explain your chosen energiser to the team when all team members are back in the room. Check that everybody understands what you would like them to do. Commence your energiser. You and your team will gradually start to perk up and feel more energetic and alert. You have just "energised" your team with your chosen energiser. Continue with your team meeting, pausing as required for further energisers (and further ice breakers if your team meeting is taking place over several days).
At future team meetings, invite team members to contribute and run their own ice breakers and energisers.
Be sensitive to the diversity of your team when choosing your ice breakers and energisers so that you don't unintentionally offend any team members.
Tips and warnings
- At future team meetings, invite team members to contribute and run their own ice breakers and energisers.
- Be sensitive to the diversity of your team when choosing your ice breakers and energisers so that you don't unintentionally offend any team members.