Custom Built Team Building and Leadership Initiative Training

Zoom – An Awesome Book Initiative

Happy Tuesday!

Since it is such a great Tuesday, I would like to share with you one of my all-time favorite initiatives that is applicable with all age groups, and is great with groups ranging from 20-30 participants.

“Zoom” is my favorite kind of book (a picture book), that challenges the reader through varying perceptions and points of view, and guides the reader along a journey of self-analyzation and discovery. The author, Istvan Banvai, paints a wonderful portrait displaying how we view ourselves, the world, and others around us, making Zoom a fantastic initiative tool, and a “must-have” for every facilitator’s game bag.

I use this activity as a team-building and communication exercise, challenging my participants to expand their horizons both internally and externally. This is an exceptionally powerful tool if you are wanting your group to look beyond their own “world-view” and personal  approach.

The prep work for the activity is extremely easy, all you have to do is carefully cut out every page and laminate each individually.  (I made copies of the pages and stapled them in their original order, just for organizational sake)

This activity needs some accurate sequencing, because this can be a challenging activity, and I generally have led the group to this point by having the participants successfully accomplish easier tasks. This allows them to gain the confidence and group cohesiveness needed to complete the “Zoom” activity.

To start the activity, I mix up the pages of “Zoom” (they have no page numbers), and tell the participants that they are going to each receive a page of the book, and that as a group they must tell the book’s story. I tell them that they must get in order in a line, from page one of the book to page 30. Before I hand them the page, I tell them that they must not show their page to anyone, they must keep it close to their chest and not allow anyone to see it, both intentionally or unintentionally. I allow the group to describe their page in any other manner they choose…they can use any other verbal or non-verbal means of achieving this activity.

This is when the fun of the activity takes place! If you have read the book, it starts out zoomed in very closely on a rooster’s comb (their awesome spiked hair…)

Then the book slowly zooms out a little more each page as the reader gets a larger view of the rooster…to a scene of two kids on a farm looking out of a window at a rooster…to an overhead shot of the farm…to the farm actually being toys that a girl is playing with…on the back of a magazine…that a young man is holding…

That young man is on a cruise ship…which is on an advertisement on the side of a bus in a large city…

That bus and big city is on a television…being watched by a man in the middle of the desert..

That man and TV are actually on a postage stamp…being delivered to a tribe of indigenous people on the beach…

Those people are being watched by a pilot who is flying overhead…way up in the sky…

And, finally, the book zooms out to see the plane in the hemisphere, Earth from space, and then a tiny white dot on an all white page…

I left out a few pages, but I know you get the drift of the book, and hopefully of the activity. As the participants are describing their page to the other group members, there is usually a complete disconnect. Especially when pages are not close together – imagine someone with the rooster comb page describing their page to someone with the view of Earth from space. It takes some time, but usually the group starts to figure out that the book is progressing outwards, and typically a leader within the group will start to organize the book together.

After the group believes they have the book in order, I have them stay in that specific order, but circle up so everyone can see the pages, and then one-by-one we turn the pages around and reveal the story. The participants finally understand what is happening as their “view of the world” becomes a complete group story and occasion.

The group debrief is generally focused on how everyone has their “own story” within the overall story, and how it is always important to step back and see another’s perspective and vantage-point.

“Zoom” has many real-world implications and is an easy initiative to debrief and sequence. Every time I have facilitated this activity it was a huge hit amongst the participants, and is truly in my top 5 activities! Check it out and let me know how it went with your group!

Ryan Eller


One response

  1. Pingback: Forms B & C: Zoom Communication | millerSTEM Blog

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