How role play exercises could give you more impact with your team
Have you ever wondered how to gain greater impact when communicating to others?
Try this role play exercise with a friend:
Stand opposite each other, shake hands and say “hello”. Now try it again and this time do something different with your eye contact.
In one instance, maintain eye contact with your partner while you say “hello”, then turn and walk away.
Now try it again, but this time break eye contact and look at the floor while you are saying “hello”, turn away and then glance back at your partner quickly. Make sure it’s a quick glance and not a look (as if you are checking to make sure they aren’t coming at you with a knife).
Do this several times and take your time to experience how either holding eye contact or breaking eye contact and glancing back feels.
The first thing to explore is “did changing what you did with your eye contact feel different?”. If so, how?
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.
– Peter F. Drucker
You Can Express Something in Order to Feel it
Pretty much 100% of people will experience more comfort with maintaining eye contact, while breaking eye contact and glancing back makes people feel less secure, or sneaky, or weak… Some will say they felt more in control or powerful holding eye contact and less so when breaking and glancing.
The first key here, is that by simply changing what you do with your body (in this case your eyes), you can experience different feelings. This goes against what most people think about cause and effect in human communication. Most believe they must feel something in order to express it, but the opposite is also true. You can also express something in order to feel it.
This is an incredible handy skill to have if, for instance, you are about to give an important presentation and you are beset by feelings of insecurity and fear. You can adjust your body to convey confidence and sure enough you’ll start feeling confident. It’s the old fake it until you make it adage and not only is it key for actors on stage or set, it also is an amazingly handy skill to have in the workplace and life.
The second key is the dynamic you are playing with when holding or breaking eye contact. In actor’s terms, it is called “status” and is one of the handiest tools in an actor’s toolkit. It is a simple body language tool and can be utilised by anyone to improve how they communicate in any situation.
“Deafness has left me acutely aware of both the duplicity that language is capable of and the many expressions the body cannot hide.”
– Terry Galloway
About the Authors
Lisa Peers is the Founder and CEO of Peers and Players. Matt Stewart is a professional actor and project manager at Peers and Players. If you’d like to know more about how corporate actors can enhance your workplace with role play exercises check out our Presentation Skills training.