How to Make Energizer Activities for Adult Training Effective

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By Bob Lucas

Like any other successful portion of a training or educational event, you must design energizer activities effectively if they are going to effectively and accomplish your intended purpose when working with adult learners.

Here’s how to make energizer activities for adult training more effective:

1.  Provide adequate room.

Often trainers and adult educators fail to think through the activities that they will use with their learners. As part of the session planning, think about how many people you will have, how many groups will participate and how much space you will need to conduct each learning activity. Obviously, if the activity is an individual effort where learners work on  own and then report to the rest of the group, you will need  less floor space. However, if you plan to get training participants up and moving to stimulate their brain neurons through active learner engagement, you will need to plan additional space.  Always factor in time and extra space when having them move chairs, tables or other items.

2.  Allow plenty of time.

When planning energizers and other types of activities, a big mistake that some trainers and educators make  is to underestimate the amount of time for set up, participation and debriefing of an activity. This is often very frustrating for adult learners, shows a lack of experience or professionalism on the part of the trainer or educator, and contributes to an ineffective learning experience. Once you explain an activity, provide materials and have learners start to accomplish the assigned task(s), step back, observe, offer appropriate guidance throughout, and let the activity run its course.

When you are creating a training agenda, it is better to plan too much time, than not enough. Learners should have time to experience the full impact of the learning objectives for the activity so that they can maximize learning outcomes.

3. Encourage risk taking.

The final tip for making sure that your energizer activities are effective is to encourage adult learners to think outside the box and take risks in activities where problem solving, decision-making and other situations where they individually or jointly look for solutions related to the session learning objectives are involved.

For example, having frontline employees self-disclose an aspect of their jobs would likely be a low-risk activity for them. However, you can bump up the level of risk and engagement by asking them to share something they like and dislike about their jobs and how they would fix the latter if they were in a leadership position. Just be careful to set up a scenario appropriately so that the activity does not turn into a gripe session or become derogatory towards their supervisor or organization. Always focus on positives.

You might use a risk-taking energizer for a variety to workplace-related topics or other pertinent situations on a session topic.

Energizer Activities Book

The icebreakers in the Energizers Activity Book are beneficial at any point during your next training session, workshop, or conference. Each included activity has a brief description, outline of procedures, a list of variations, and a space for recording your ideas. Participants will enjoy these short, quick, sometimes physical, often competitive but always fun activities.

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This article was written originally posted elsewhere. It was reprinted with permission from the author.

About The Author

9cc0a9c732f349752456c775e8973354_headshot-blucas_100-200-cListed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the South & Southeast, Bob Lucas is an internationally-known author and learning and performance expert who specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. He has four decades of experience in customer service, human resources development, and management in a variety of organizational environments. Bob was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Bob has lived, traveled and worked in 28 different countries and geographic areas. During the past 40 years, Bob has shared his knowledge with workplace professionals from hundreds of organizations, such as, Webster University, AAA, Orange County Clerk of Courts, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Martin Marietta, all U.S. military branches, and Wachovia Bank. In addition, Bob has provided consulting and training services to numerous major organizations on a variety of workplace learning topics. To contact Bob visit his website at or his blog

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