5 Conference Energizers and Icebreakers for a Successful Event

25 Mar

Conference Activity Attendee speaking

5 Conference Energizers and Icebreakers for a Successful Event 


A conference is an exciting place to be: people from various companies and roles all come together to view presentations, learn the latest industry trends and network with one another. However, things don’t always go as smoothly as we imagine. 


Conference attendees can be a bit hesitant to interact with one another. Sometimes, they stand along the edges of the venue or stay in their chairs, their eyes darting around, waiting for someone else to raise their hand or make the first move. It’s a bit like a first high school dance, with shy attendees that aren’t ready to step out there and join the festivities just yet.


More active conference goers, on the other hand, participate during panel discussions and Q&A sessions, introduce themselves to booth presenters, and network with fellow attendees during free time. The goal, however, is to get as many attendees as possible to participate in this manner. 


But a conference or other type of large-scale professional event is no place for hesitation or shy participation. The success of these events depends on the interest and engagement of attendees, and those who are too shy or aren’t yet ready to break the ice themselves may need a bit of help getting going and jumping in.


Conference energizers: what’s the purpose? 


These are where conference energizers, or ice breakers, come into play. They help event hosts to break down barriers and make conference attendees feel more comfortable. And when you plan your corporate event or conference with the help of a local destination management company, they can provide you with knowledge and expertise – and even help recommend some activities that help support the look, feel and experience provided by the event. 


Whether the conference includes a large group or a small group, an energizer activity can: 


    • ♦ Put team members at ease.
      That hesitant feeling that emerges at the start of a conference can quickly be whisked away with the right ice breaker. 


    • ♦ Create a common sense of purpose.
      Whether team members are playing a game or working together during a team-building exercise, they’re all working toward a singular goal. This creates a sense of comradery that makes the conference more interesting and fun for attendees.


    • ♦ Encourage interaction, engagement and networking.
      Sometimes a little energizer is all you need to break down barriers and help attendees engage with one another and network.


Best conference energizers to try at your next event 


Do you like the idea of breaking down barriers, encouraging engagement and getting people up out of their chairs and participating? These conference energizers can do just that – consider giving these activities a try at your next business event: 


  • Fitness and physical activity
    A fitness class or other type of physical activity can get the body – and the brain! – going, and help literally shake up your next event.
       Consider taking cues from your event location – for example, an event in a Latin American region might include a zumba session, which includes elements of Latin dances. A conference in the Asia Pacific region, on the other hand, may be better suited for a yoga class; and an event in Europe could benefit from pilates activity, as Germany is the birthplace for this popular exercise style.  


  • Move with the music
    Encourage your attendees to move with the beat and energize themselves through music! This ice breaker might include live musicians to lead the sessions, or even small percussion instruments for event attendees to create their own beat.


  • Break the ice with “snowballs”
    You can also consider a paper snowball fight! Team members can write statements on pieces of paper according to a certain event-related prompt, crumple them and break the ice by throwing them at one another. Then, when the activity is over, attendees can grab a nearby “snowball” and read the statement therein. This activity is especially insightful, as comments within the paper snowballs are anonymous. This provides a perfect opportunity for attendees who hesitate to speak up to participate. 


  • Speed meetings
    This energizer is ideal for smaller groups, and helps team members better get to know each other in a one-on-one situation. This activity is similar to speed dating, but with a professional twist. Speed meetings are a great way to include everyone, and ensure that no one is left out of the activity. 


  1. Live audience poll
    Especially when you have the right technology on hand (such as apps that allows attendees to cast votes from their phones), a live poll is an ideal conference energizer.
    There are a few different ways that you can leverage polls or quizzes. For instance, using an open-ended question can help break the ice. You can also use a poll early on to get a sense of what attendees want to take away from the experience. A question like “What would you like to learn today?” is perfect for this purpose. Or, something like “What does [conference topic] mean to you?” to get some details about attendees’ opinions. Overall, polls are a low-friction way to encourage team members to participate, and to help them feel heard. 


A lot of planning and forethought goes into hosting a conference. However, the biggest measure of an event’s success is the experience you’re able to offer attendees, and how much they engage and participate. 


Kicking off an event with physical activity can help get your participants moving. And using activities like live polls can keep them engaged throughout the event. 


To find out more about hosting a successful conference and how expertise from a leading destination management company can help, connect with Kuoni Destination Management or one of our Meetings & Events DMCs worldwide.


Are you in charge of a large-scale congress and looking for help with logistics, ground services, or a dedicated PCO? Kuoni Congress has years of experience in providing the local knowledge and guidance for an engaging and smooth event.