5 Ideas to get people moving in your online workshops
If it wasn't obvious before the pandemic, you may have noticed that spending lots of time sitting down and not moving isn't the best.
I've read several books and articles recently which talk about "Sitting is the new smoking..." and "Sitting is more treacherous than parachuting". They might sound quite dramatic, but for me personally, I've noticed how my mood, my anxieties, and my body is responding to these long periods of sitting.
In Sharon Bowman’s amazing book ‘Using Brain Science to make training Stick’ she is very clear as one of her principles is Movement Trumps Sitting. She goes on to outline these specific benefits of having movement in your sessions:
Movement Enhances cognition
Movement Boosts memory
Movement keeps people awake
Movement increases energy
In-person this is pretty straightforward but online you have to get a lot more creative. Given the current situation, working habits have forced many of us to spend more time in front of a screen. As a facilitator, I've been keen to experiment with different ways to achieve this.
So, if you are a trainer, facilitator, or just want to make your meetings a bit more interesting, have a look below to get my 5 tricks for getting everyone moving.
Go Fetch (+ Tic-Tac-Toe)
The idea of ‘Go Fetch’ is that you put a selection of household items on the screen and tell people to run off and get one of them. The caveat is it can’t be in the room you’re in (or at least suggest it can be within reach).
Make it into a race for more chaos!
Suggest they take the whole 2 minutes to get it and have a little stroll around the house
Show a 3x3 grid and say they must collect 3 things to make a straight line like Tic-Tac-Toe
Select-a-stretch / Select-a-celebration
At various points in your workshop ask for a volunteer and get them to demonstrate the most extravagant stretch they can think of and get them to give it a name. After they’ve done it, get everyone to try it. This can be where there is low energy in your session, or when someone has completed a task (like a share or something).
Ask people to score it based on made-up criteria such as originality, wackiness, how awake it made them feel, etc...
Give stretches a theme, for example, ask people to choose an animal first and then get them to stretch like the animal
If you have done a few different stretches or celebrations, keep the names somewhere and call them out at various points to see if people can remember what they were
Ask for a volunteer to offer to sit at the front of the rollercoaster. Then with videos on, they must simulate the movements as if they were on a rollercoaster. The ups, downs, the frights, arms in the air... whatever they want. Everyone else’s job is to copy their movements until the rollercoaster ride comes to an end.
Engage with the group to see if it is possible to take breakouts whilst walking. You may need to check everyone has the correct technology and attire before doing so, but this is a great way to encourage thinking and allow people to get some air. Even if it is just chatting whilst walking around the house. Option: they can exchange phone numbers etc, so they do not have to use Zoom/Teams if this makes things easier for people.
When you ask a question to the group ask them to stand up/wiggle around/jump/do animal movements if they want to respond. This is a simple way to bring movement into your sessions, and it encourages people to have fun and keep moving. You can also try experimenting with reversing this by asking everyone to stand up, and sit when they have given an answer!
Why not give them a choice...
If you want to be really swish 😎 you can set up a screen or a board with titles or just colours and ask people to choose them. This gives the audience the chance to participate in the choice of movement. I like to give them cryptic names, to add a bit of mystery!
So what happened when I experimented?
I have really enjoyed trying these out with a variety of groups. When Energy levels have dropped (I just felt a bit mischievous) I would ask the group if they'd like to try something? The result... Plenty of engagement, some laughs, and above all a burst of energy!
Want to learn more?
If you like this idea and want to learn more lots more tools, tips, and techniques for building and running your own creative workshops, why not check out my “Training from the BACK of the room (Virtual Edition)” workshop here.