The Five Ways Cocktail

The Five Ways Cocktail a simple and fun exercise to kick start conversations in your workplace about the Five Ways to happiness at work.

It’s good for away-days, all-company meetings, or any time you can find 30 minutes together to focus on your team happiness. It’s also a great way to emphasize the social and collective nature of happiness within your organization.

The story

This exercise is inspired by how we behave at networking events. Imagine you have attended a cocktail party with the specific intention to learn about happiness. You hope the other guests have some valuable insights that will be helpful.


  • Minimum of 20 employees in one room
  • Allow for at least 30 minutes
  • Enough cards for everyone in the group - write one of The Five Ways on each card, as evenly split between the five different ways as possible
  • One facilitator with a bell (or loud voice)

Facilitator steps

  1. Explain that there are five cards with five words – Connect, Be Fair, Empower, Challenge and Inspire. Give one to each person.

  2. Tell everyone to find other guests with a card different to theirs - so the Connects have to find Inspires, Empowers, Challenges or Be Fairs, but not other Connects. Be Fairs have to find Connects, Empowers etc.

  3. Explain people can ask as many questions as the time will allow – and the other guest will tolerate. But a good one to get going is:

    What did you do to [CONNECT] in the last week?

    Suggest that guests: "Ask your questions. Answer their questions. And make a mental note of what you learn."

  4. Like any good host, as the facilitator, you should make sure the "guests" at the party get to meet as many different people as they can. Every few minutes ring the bell and encourage everyone to go in search of someone else with a different card to talk to.

  5. 10 to 15 minutes from the end, ask all the people with the card Connect to get together in a group, Be Fair to form a group etc etc. Ask each group to share what they have learned with each other about their particular topic.

  6. Finally, bring everyone together for five minutes to report back to the whole group the most interesting things their group learned about happiness.

Remember to collect up and share the small ways you and your teams can make adjustments to the way you work. This intelligence will be important for your current and long-term happiness.