A very simple energizer to replace the boring round of table of self-introductions at the beginning of an international workshop.
Rather short : experimented once at e-Learning Africa 2008, in Accra, Ghana, in a ICT for Education session titled “Common problems, Solutions in common”
Whenever you start a face-to-face workshop with people that do not know each other and come from different countries. Whether it is applicable of not in your specific context in terms of formality vs informality of the setting is up to the facilitator to judge, obviously.
Dead simple: you buy an inflatable beach ball (the best would be an inflatable world globe) and you start by saying something along the line of:
“Hi, here I have a big ball, and a very hot one!” - while juggling with it mimicking that it's burning your fingertips, “and you use it like this: “I'm Paolo, and I come from Burundi, and you?” and you throw the ball at him/her, who will do the same and pass it on to someone else (see embedded video below).
It is advisable to explain the activitiy to the first 2 people you will throw the ball to, so that you don't risk the game to get stuck at start, in case you stumble on someone a little stiff.
The advantages of this technique are:
Just watch the video:
This is the picture we put up on the sign-up sheet, which proved very effective:
energizer start multiculture interactive
Bear/Ball photo from Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/geekly/150120144/sizes/s/