Conference energisers – a virtual no no?

Robert Welling, Communications Trainer at The Method shares his insights on a recent experience delivering a virtual conference energiser.

We can surely all cast our minds back to the not so distant past where company conferences meant a few days away, a break from the norm and even a few drinks with colleagues.

Oh how norms change!

The new normal?

Now with most of us on multiple calls, back to back schedules, and potentially larger meetings than ever with remote access ruling the roost, I imagine that now everyday could be a virtual conference!  However, I’m not so sure that joining a zoom call for an after work drink with colleagues is something that many, if any of us are currently doing.

There have been so many changes and challenges to how we are having to work that the almost romantic ideal of an after-work drink seems an ancient fable that our ancestors once enjoyed. 

Conference energisers – the true value

Although, I make light of this to some degree, the conference away days served some truly important purposes:

  • To learn, in a fresh environment,
  • To re-energise and recapture your own motivations and drivers whilst also having some fun at the same time,
  • A chance for all of the organisation to come together, feel heard, and realign the purpose and direction of the work.

Creativity at its core thrives on restriction. Within it you are pushed to find solutions and overcome the challenges which block you.

Challenge accepted

So when a company in the pharma sector approached us to contribute to their virtual company conference our creativity thrived! The client challenged us to create a session that brought the group together, provided two key skills and was fun, all in 45 minutes.

We began to ask ourselves some questions:

  • Can you engage 200+ people on one call? 
  • Can you replicate the energy of a live speaker in a conference hall? 
  • Most importantly, can the participants leave with tangible skills, feeling energised and united by the experience over a virtual platform?

We set about creating a session that would hit all of these points. but of course nothing would be certain until it was delivered, live, in front of over 200 people. There was the real challenge!

Coming together as a group and feeling unified is an empowering experience. Whether at a concert, a football match or a conference. It was just as exciting as I joined the session. At first as a silent partner, scrolling through the pages and watching all of these people focused on the key speaker. As I took on the knowledge from all of their remote settings, it seemed as though they were truly engaged. Then, a masterstroke!

Cream tea anyone?

The company had posted a bag of goodies to each employee, including a cream tea set with scone, jam and clotted cream for them to enjoy before my session. Jealous as I was it showed creativity again triumphing over the limitations. There was already an atmosphere and a buzz as the client introduced our session, wryly stating that he challenged me to deliver two skills to everyone by the end.

Over in a flash

In a flash it was over. There is some magic to delivering virtually. That suddenly it felt as though I was speaking directly to each one of those 200 people. Not leaving them left in a vast conference hall, but speaking to each of them in person, in their home. 

It was a special session. As it drew to a close the client asked everyone in gallery view to raise their thumbs up or down to indicate whether I had hit the brief. Much like having your fate instantly decided by a king or queen! Fortunately, I was met with a flurry of upward thumbs and a warm response from the stakeholder.

The conference energiser lives on

Conference energisers should be about giving skills but also a lightness. Bringing colleagues together and to genuinely connect. It’s so vital now that we all have the chance to do this, feeling unified as a business, but also as humans.


If you’d like to find out more about our Conference Energisers please get in touch here. We’d love to help.

If you have a specific challenge in mind call one of our Client Services Managers who can discuss which programme would be best suited to you.