Facilitating an Energizer virtually can be a challenge. Technology can be disembodying. Phone calls don’t transmit body language. Even with cameras on, video calls or webconferences don’t convey all the nuances of facial expression. In a virtual facilitation, it can be hard to keep participants connected to their somatic selves: the side of people that is related to movement and body, as opposed to the mind or mental processes.
Mirror the Mime is a kinetic Energizer that connects participants to their somatic selves. It was specifically designed for virtual facilitation by Lisa Jervis (www.iecology.org), Susan Jouard, and Mary Morand during a Facilitating Virtual Collaboration workshop.
Begin by turning on your cameras and verifying that participants can see one another. Provide the following instructions. “We’re going to do an Energizer to focus attention on each other, create alignment, and have a little fun. Make sure your cameras are on and you can see each other. I’d like to invite one person to start making hand gestures that are visible in their camera frame. Others, please mirror what you see. Anyone can begin a new gesture whenever they want to. When you see the new gesture, mirror the new gesture. Go!”
Let the group Mirror the Mime for a minute or so.
Close the Energizer by making a static “stop” gesture or removing their hands from the frame, which signals all participants that the exercise is over. If participants don’t notice your gesture, you may need to end verbally: “Aaaaand stop.”
Debrief Mirror the Mime by asking questions: who was leading? Who was following? Who did you watch? Why did you watch them? Did you shift to watching someone else? Why did you shift to watching someone else? How might this relate to the dynamics at work? What might this say about influence and authority?
Mirror the Mime is a great Energizer to introduce at openings, when returning from breaks, and to bring focus and attention back to the group.