I read Paul Z Jackson's book travelling north on a train between Birmingham New Street and Lancaster. I make that point because it is very easy to read in a short space of time and is far from many of the academic tomes that frequently cross my desk. This is a "hands on" book full of ideas to help trainers energise groups large and small. It's a book that will remain on my desk rather than propping it up!
This book contains a range of ideas that vary from the out and out theatrical that that one might imagine may have taken place in an episode of "The Office" to energisers more suited to the normally more reserved nature of the British audience.
Careful selection of the choice of activities that Paul Z Jackson suggests is critical if trainers are to been seen as not engaging in frivolity and achieving a "nul points" response with a cringe factor rating that is off the meter. Training should always be fun but I would need to match an audience with great care if I were to select one of the more outrageous and audacious "warm ups". The "West Coast" flavour of some of the activities will be a little too adventurous for most trainers I suspect.
I did however particularly like about twenty of the suggested "warm ups". His "Fast Lines" activity where people are asked to organise themselves by a series a criteria such as height, birthdays, surnames number of cousins or whatever else comes to mind! "One Word" is another fun activity that I have already used with a group of Local Government Officers on Time Management Course. It helped to energise the students in the "Graveyard" slot after lunch and as a relatively low level activity it actively involved those who were less than forward in coming forward.
Trainers and teachers will find Paul Z Jacksons book of value. It ranks well alongside Scannell and Newstrom's book "The big book of presentation games" and should find a prominent place on the shelves and desks of all those engaged in developing the skills of our workforce.
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Crown House Publishing Ltd
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United Kingdom, SA33 5ND