Overcoming Death By PowerPoint

It's 9am Monday morning and you’re just about to walk into an all-day workshop. You’ve prepared yourself for lukewarm coffee, plenty of deep fried snacks and of course death by PowerPoint... sound familiar?

We’ve sat through, and facilitated, countless workshops over the years and have come to realise connecting the group and managing energy levels are two very important aspects to ensuring a successful outcome. But they’re often overlooked.

If the agenda for your next workshop is jam packed with back-to-back PowerPoint presentations then read on. These activities are great for kicking off a workshop or giving your participants a much needed energy boost during the dreaded post-lunch slump. 


This is a fun twist on the usual handshake introduction routine.


Give each person a blank piece of paper and a marker pen and ask them to pair up with someone they don’t know very well. Once they’re seated facing each other, ask them to draw each other without looking down at their paper. Give them 60 seconds to draw and make sure they don’t look! When time is up ask each person to introduce themselves and share the drawing their partner has made of them. Laughter is guaranteed. 


Personal journeys are a great way for each person in the room to share a little about themselves and learn something new about their colleagues. This is one of our favourite ways to build connection with a group of people.


Ask each person to draw a horizontal line through the middle of a blank piece of paper, flipchart paper works well here. Now ask them to think about a period in their life, it could be their whole life, or just the last 10 years, for example. Get them to think about the experiences they’ve had during this time period and draw significant moments and events as positive (above the middle line) or negative (below the line). Each person shares their story with their partner. 


Pecha Kucha is a photo-presentation introduction exercise. It’s a fun way to get to know your participants and can be used at the beginning of a workshop or at random points during the day when you need a change of pace.


Each participant prepares a series of 10 photos on slides to introduce themselves. When presenting, they can only talk for 10 seconds per slide. A short, punchy presentation with not a bullet point or ow diagram in sight. Result! 


This energiser is ideal just before a brainstorming session to get the creative juices owing and inject some energy into the group. It’s also a pretty good pick me up at 2:00 pm after everyone has eaten themselves into a food coma.


Get the group on their feet and assign two people to be the scribes. The challenge is to think of 101 ways to squeeze a lemon. Any idea is a good idea, as long as the outcome is a squeezed lemon. Don’t stop until you have 101! Our all time favourite idea was “put it next to a stereo with Celine Dion playing really loud!” 


A human continuum can be run at any point during a workshop. You can use it to check how the group is feeling after a certain session, assess energy levels throughout the day or simply to understand the different personalities in the room.


Get everyone up on their feet. Use each extreme end of the room you’re in to represent the length of the continuum. Ask the group questions and get them to stand at a spot on the continuum that represents their answer. You might like to ask them “How con dent are you feeling after this session” or “How energetic are you feeling right now”. After each question stop and pick people to explain why they’re standing in that spot.