The intriguing title of this book makes one immediately wonder what exactly the half an activity will be. Resisting temptation to flick to the last activity I discovered that Paul Jackson's book was a well-structured, interesting and amusing insight into the professional world of training activities.
Paul offers his experience of creating great learning activities with a selection of activities that offer ideas to both experienced and novice training presenters. Anyone looking for a swift energising activity to use within his or her training event will find the book invaluable.
The book is presented in a well organised format and delivers exactly what The title promises 581/2 activities for inspirational energisers. Paul's approach to the subject allows even the most inexperienced trainer or facilitator to use the book as a reference for ideas to energise parts of their training event or simply use a suitable activity as an icebreaker.
Paul helps us recognise that the most memorable training events don't just inform, they often inspire, convince and hold the audience interest. The activities within the book help any trainer to achieve just that.
Each activity is plotted between the visual, verbal and physical triangulation points, allowing you to choose an activity with the right content.
The activities themselves are presented in a clear way and particularly helpfully sectioned into categories of Energisers, working together, Influencing relationships, resources, emotions, attitudes, creativity, wisdom, and finally even how to conclude a training event.
Paul has ensured that you want to at least look at each activity with the use of suitably interesting titles such as "Shark Island, Happiness Machines and the Achievement Gallery". Once you have decided that an activity would be a possible activity, the trainer will find each activity laid out in an easy to follow instructional way which ensures the objective is set, how it should be introduced, undertaken and debriefed.
The activities may be used "As is" or Paul offers variations and developments on that theme, which is a particular strength of the book.
The book offers a significant helpful view within the field of training, however it is not the only publication in the subject of training activities available.
Paul is quite successful in accomplishing the aims of the book, as indeed, it offers exactly what it says on the cover 581/2 ways to improvise in training.
Compared with similar subject matter available, this book offers equally good ideas to help the trainer to inject a few of Paul's ideas into his or her training event.
The main weakness, or rather, frustrating area of the book is that some of the activities seem to be described in a rather overcomplicated manor and I found I had to read the purpose of the activity more than once to be clear on what was to be achieved by that session. Paul does say himself "I sometimes find the explanation is more complicated than the activity " and he does offer an e-mail address for any unclear points.
The book is well suited for trainers to add to their resource library of material and will be useful in many occasions.
As a recommendation I would suggest that the book offers a word of advice to the person new to training about the appropriate use of such activities. Whereas energises, fun activities are often well received there will always be the individuals in training events who may consider them as not relevant or even may be embarrassed if asked to do something rather different to what their normal working day entails. An experienced training colleague once told me of an event he ran, where on introducing an activity which involved the delegates singing an introduction about themselves was abruptly brought down to earth when half of them got up and walked out".so use such activities wisely.