Super-Fun, Non-Traditional Energisers & Ice-Breakers

Members often ask me to list or describe my favourite Go-To activities for various program settings and objectives. And of these, one of the most popular scenarios is large group energisers for people sitting in an auditorium.

First, check out the activity ideas I shared in this blog post What To Do With Large Groups in Tight Spaces from this time last year.


Large Group Energisers & Ice-Breakers


Honestly, there are just too many favourites to list. So, to save you time and hassle, let me share some of my all-time faves and why I use them so often.

Copy Claps – it’s super-simple, non-verbal, and I’ve never come across a group yet that hasn’t worked out what to do within 5 seconds of starting.

The Clapping Game – there is a moment in this quick energiser that is guaranteed to make your group laugh. No props are required, just a little energy and clear instructions to engage the dormant hands of your group.

One Two Three – another fail-proof activity. I learned this exercise from a Chinese educator I was working with in Beijing in 2015, and I think it’s been featured in almost every program I have delivered ever since. It’s that good. Again, no props are required. My strongest recommendation is to select a willing volunteer to get up on stage and help you demonstrate how to play. If you choose this person well, this activity will raise the roof with energy and laughter.

Story of Your Name – try this wonderfully fun and insightful sharing activity with partners or small groups of no more than four people. Partners are ideal. I have a humourous story behind my name, which works very well to invite my group to lean in and share with others. You don’t need a funny story to make this exercise work, but

PDQ Test – I have Karl Rohnke to thank for this gem, he passed this on to me and now I’m passing it on to you. I think it works so well because people are just fascinated by the odd things other people can do, eg wiggle their ear lobes, or raise one eyebrow at a time, etc. Take a couple of minutes to watch the video of me introducing a series of tests to a group of young people. Hilarious. You can expect these results too. Now, while invariably successful, the very nature of these tests means that you must consider the right moment to introduce them to your group.

Icebreaker Question Exchange – unlike the original format of this awesome interactive icebreaker, simply invite members of the audience to pair off and then invite everyone to share their responses to the same question. Pick your questions well and be very sure not to ask the bleeding obvious and dull questions such as “Where are you from?” “What do you do?” or “What do you want to get out of today?…’ There is no shortage of engaging and interesting questions to ask, all of which you can download from the activity detail page.

I’m not suggesting you present all of these non-traditional energisers or any of them in any particular order. These are all top-of-mind ideas.

Rather, click their links above, browse their details, and design a thoroughly entertaining and engaging session. Your group will thank you for it.


Need Help Planning?


And if you need some help building a program for your specific group or needs, reach out to, and I’d be happy to help.

Ask Mark



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