Part I—Icebreakers
Icebreakers are generally short activities whose purpose is to introduce people to one another and
involve the participants in the topic or theme of the training meeting or seminar. Psychologically,
they turn the participants’ attention away from the flow of other activities in which they have
been engaged and “bring them into the room” where the new focus will be on intercultural inter-
actions and learning.
For this reason, they are valuable even for groups where the participants know each other well
and work together on a regular basis. Often the icebreaker activity will give them permission to
begin talking about cultural factors that they had not previously been aware of but that have been
or are present in the workplace.
A good icebreaker activity will make the trainer’s subsequent work easier by opening the partici-
pants’ minds to other perspectives on their intercultural interactions and set the mood for sharing
and participation.
These activities are designed to be simple and nonthreatening in order to reach these objectives.
As with all activities, the trainer must be sensitive to the culture of the participants when choos-
ing and administering the opening icebreaker activity.

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