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Using energisers to enhance your workshops

                                                    • Meditation. A number of...
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How can you energise a group when training or facilitating. Do you use the right energisers? In this article we explain how you can maintain energy in a group so that everyone is happy.

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  1. 1. Delivery Refresh your toolkit Using energisers to You might also like to develop your own energisers. Use the matrix on Page 2 as a basis to prompt ideas; As a professional trainer and facilitator, you should be or consider these points (with thanks to Kimberley spending a good deal of time seeking out interesting Hare for sourcing them) that Professor Mihaly new energisers, trying to build up an equal range enhance your across the quadrants. By tuning your antennae to this task, you will discover new ones in unlikely places. Csikszentmihalyi has found, through his research, to be the most rewarding aspects of the challenges people set themselves: Useful sources q designing something new workshops Some sources I have used are these: q Fun e-mails with a novel twist, sent by friends. A q q discovering something new exploring new places particularly successful one was a series of lateral q solving problems John Brooker thinking arithmetic questions, which I adapted to ask a group. q learning something new. q Improvisation comedy books with some fun How might you use these ideas to develop new rooted in facilitator and trainer appealing to different learning exercises, such as Playing Along by Issy Gesell.1 energisers? Key learning points jargon, so we’ll use it here. styles and different senses. Make sure that you can relate the exercises to your q Energisers help change the A well-timed, appropriate Alastair Olby (in Issue 15) learning activity. state of our participants. Tip energiser may achieve its outlined how the facilitator’s q Books on team activities and icebreakers. You can q Energisers are no substitute purpose and make learning or state influences the state of find numerous examples at online bookstores by Size of group can influence the energisers you do. for good design. Well- participants. He explained that other group activity easier; typing those terms into the search engine. Most of Some need at least eight people to work. Be on the developed learning exercises but, used inappropriately, it state is created by two factors: these are American; I feel uncomfortable at the constant look out for Active / Change physiology and good pace are a better may annoy and embarrass focus and physiology. thought of doing some of them, but that may be a energisers that just two or three people can do. way to maintain constant participants, and make the personal issue. energy. facilitator look foolish. Energisers help to change q Books on a variety of topics such as Tai Chi or q Match energisers to your the focus and physiology of meditation. topic and audience, and I shall never forget the very participants, and can be viewed Activity introduce them at q Children’s toys – the Early Learning Centre and earnest elderly lawyer who as another way, a technique, When did you last put a new energiser in your appropriate times. John Lewis are good sources. Crazy Kittens is a very collared me, after a (successful) to create a change of state toolkit? Set yourself a task of introducing a new q You should have a variety of successful energiser, although not one I use at the team building energiser, to ask in our participants, from a one for each course or workshop that you run. energiser types in your start of a session. toolkit. why I played ‘children’s games’ non-productive state to a q Websites about the brain or psychology – such as q Seek to refresh your with adults. It was a good productive one. – have a range of energiser toolkit constantly. reminder that not everyone Conclusion useful puzzles. wants to be ‘energised’ by However, energisers are not a others – they can do very well substitute for good exercises. q Participants – set them the challenge of developing In conclusion, energisers are a proven way to change on their own. If you design your workshop energisers for themselves. This has provided some the state of a group, but should be just one technique Games children play? with a variety of exercises that rich material amongst the mundane. to achieve this. They are not a substitute for In this module we shall look at involve and stimulate all styles interesting and productive exercises, or a crutch to use What feedback comment makes some of the good and bad of learners, varying the pace so when your own state is not resourceful. You can “ your day when you run a course or workshop? I’m sure ‘The points about energisers, when that there are times of great As a professional trainer enhance their impact and your credibility if they are they are appropriate and how energy and times of calmer appropriate, well timed and varied. trainer was brilliant/superb/ we can best use them to help us reflection, you may not need and facilitator, you should be spending fantastic’ (complete your own achieve our workshop aims. to use any energiser. superlative) hits the right a good deal of time seeking out buttons. I like those too, but it is ” also a pleasure for me to read on It’s all about state interesting new energisers References the ‘happy sheet’: ‘energisers For Issue 2, Kimberley Hare Tip 1 Issy Gesell, Playing Along, Whole Person Associates (USA), 1997. were well timed’ or ‘energisers wrote a module about creating a Changing state does not were appropriate for learning’. great state for learning, about always mean changing a making people feel good whilst group from bored and listless An energiser is a form of activity they are learning. She listed a to enthusiastic. The group designed to stimulate and number of factors that can may be overexcited, and a Author enliven a group. It may also be positively influence the state of calmer state may be more John Brooker leads Yes! And... , which makes change and innovation easier for organisations, teams and individuals. used to relax a group, so perhaps learners – for example, exciting appropriate for the next They facilitate, advise, train and coach people to find success, in a positive and inspiring way. ‘energiser’ is always not the right pre-workshop notes, a situation. Telephone: 020 8869 9990 or 07866 431046 • E-mail: • Website: word to use. However, it is welcoming environment, and TRAIN the TRAINER • Issue 19 TRAIN the TRAINER • ©Fenman Limited 2004
  2. 2. Using energisers to enhance your workshops • Meditation. A number of rule is to give them the choice of Types of energiser energisers use meditation Cultural factors participating. (My lawyer would Once trust has developed techniques. From my experience of providing leave the room when I did an Another factor is the development The following is a model inspired by training in many different countries energiser.) However, you can of trust. I have found people who a version seen in the Open University By allocating each energiser to a throughout Europe, The Middle encourage them to participate in are nervous about energisers MBA programme on Creativity and quadrant, we can see at a glance if East and Africa, I have found that the various ways: quite happily participate in ones Innovation. Use it to find out if you we have energisers in all quadrants. energisers work with all cultures. like Roller Coaster after the group have the correct range of energisers q Build up trust, ensuring that Do not be constrained by the Some, where close physical contact has been working for a while. Use in a workshop and if you have nobody is made to look stupid position within the quadrant – the is required, may, however, be or feel embarrassed. riskier energisers later in the sufficient types of energisers in your use of the model is not a science. inappropriate. I have been surprised, workshop. toolkit. q By the way you ask them to do though, by the different approach to Activity tackling energisers in some cultures. the energiser; for example: Change physiology ‘This one may be difficult for Experience Take the energisers in your toolkit I witnessed two groups of Russian Roller Coaster Tai Chi Hands some, but previous participants and allocate each to a quadrant. bankers silently take one minute to have told me that (pause) if Otherwise, the timing of Do you have a balanced selection? do an energiser that UK groups you participate, you will enjoy energisers comes down to frequently take ten noisy minutes to it’. That recognises doubts, experience – judging that there is Active Passive do. It might make a good research and embeds the command a desire for movement or change Why is it important to have a project for someone. ‘participate, you will enjoy it’ Between topics of focus. You’ll know when you range of energisers? As mentioned in in a subtle way. You may want to change the focus have it right. the Tip on Page 1, we want to be q Explain that you do this with between one topic and the next. Tantrix Meditation able to move the group from an senior management all the time This is a time when you can make Change focus inappropriate state to an appropriate (if you do). your energisers appropriate. For one (a more resourceful state in example, before conducting a q Make the energiser short. What does the model tell us? Neuro Linguistic Programming small-group exercise involving “ 1 Energisers may be split on two parlance). If participants have just drawing, I like to have people axes: arrived in the workshop, fresh from Timing work in pairs to draw a face, each Energisers help an angry telephone call or a stressful drawing one line at a time • Change physiology / Change focus drive, and full of adrenaline, it is How do you know when to without talking. We then have a to change the focus • Active/Passive. unlikely that a boost of adrenaline provide an energiser? Certainly from an Active / Change physiology there are ‘ritual’ times: at the start discussion about how they felt, and physiology of whether they were frustrated, 2 The two axes form quadrants into ” which we can allocate our energiser will enhance their state. of the workshop, 30 or so minutes whether they worked well participants It’s also important to have a range of after lunch when all the chemicals together. This sets them up for the energisers: energisers because some people get: have kicked in, and just before exercise, in which they may • Active / Change physiology • tired of constant Active / Change they leave. experience similar feelings but • Passive / Change physiology physiology energisers have more understanding to cope • Active / Change focus • bored if you repeat an energiser with their frustrations. Activity Before you start • Passive / Change focus. they have done (although one Try this piece of basic research on the workshop company requests that I do the preferences. Explain the matrix to A further example is to use We allocate them by their primary same one every year at their one of your groups, give them a Tip purpose, for example: If you have a group of people linguistic exercises to prepare planning meeting) sticky dot and have them express who don’t know each other, it people for a fast idea-generation Sometimes a group may appear • Roller Coaster. The team pretends their preference for types of • more energy from some exercises can be helpful to provide them session, helping them to generate to need an Active / Change they are riding a roller coaster in energisers by sticking the dot in than others – using a sweeping with an energiser as they enter ideas and articulate quickly. physiology-type energiser an active exercise that creates the appropriate quadrant. Using generalisation, I find introverts the room. In Britain, people will because they are not active; in tremendous energy; its main aim this method, I have found varying prefer Active / Change focus often sit quietly and ignore each fact they appear to be in a state being to change physiology. splits between Active / Change Tip exercises, certainly before they other. If that happens, I will ask of hypnosis. At this time they • Tai Chi Hands. People follow the fully trust the group. physiology and Active / Change them to pair up, introduce each may be in the appropriate state One argument you may receive movements of each other’s hands focus. other and talk about a favourite to consolidate their knowledge. from experienced trainers is this: just millimetres apart. It is quite film, book or TV programme. if an energiser is appropriate Instead of an Active / Change passive and tends to change On top of the music I play, this and you have designed it in, it is physiology energiser, you could physiology and focus (one could have them conduct an exercise Tip Obstacles discussion sets up a level of really an exercise. Fair cop. almost call it an ‘active noise so that new entrants to the When the lines blur between to reflect on their learning – a meditation’). If you are working with a group Some people don’t enjoy energisers, room are met by an atmosphere energiser and exercise, crossword or quiz – or get them on a regular basis, note the • Tantrix. A commercial puzzle fearing they will be embarrassed akin to walking into a buzzing remember the adage, ‘If it to pair up and go for a walk, to energisers you use, so that you game that really stimulates or look childish – witness the lawyer restaurant, rather than a doctor’s works, do more of it’. discuss what they have learned. don’t repeat them. people. I mentioned earlier. The golden waiting room. TRAIN the TRAINER TRAIN the TRAINER