Cross-Cultural Communication Icebreaker Warm-Up Activities
Icebreakers are a good idea even when individuals come from similar cultures, but when a group of people come from vastly different backgrounds, icebreakers are even more pivotal to success.
If you are starting to work with a group of culturally-diverse individuals, begin your efforts by selecting and implementing an icebreaker. By taking time for a simple activity of this type, you can allow participants to warm up to each other before they get down to business.
Compare and contrast the likes of those in your multicultural group by completing a "my favorite..." icebreaker. To prepare for this activity, type out some sentence parts that begin "My favourite," placing a blank line at the end into which participants can write their response. For example, one of your sentences could be "My favourite TV show is...." Give these sheets to participants and have them fill them out, then compare the results, seeing which things prove popular across all cultures and which differ.
Draw a Celebration
Different cultures have different methods of celebration. Start your gathering artistically by asking participants to begin by drawing a picture that represents their favourite holiday. After participants have created their works of art, ask them to share them with others, and have the other participants guess which holiday a picture represents. If you encounter any holidays that are specific to one culture and unfamiliar to some participants, ask the individual who drew the picture to describe the holiday to the rest of the participants.
- Different cultures have different methods of celebration.
- Start your gathering artistically by asking participants to begin by drawing a picture that represents their favourite holiday.
If your group consists of people who speak a diverse array of languages, take advantage of this multilingualism with translation bingo. Create a bingo card that contains phrases from the different languages that individuals in your group speak, placing one phrase in each box. Distribute the cards to participants and ask them to go around the room, finding people to translate the phrases. Give a prize to the first individual who successfully translates a row of five in any direction.
- If your group consists of people who speak a diverse array of languages, take advantage of this multilingualism with translation bingo.
- Create a bingo card that contains phrases from the different languages that individuals in your group speak, placing one phrase in each box.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.