Although regarded as one of the most powerful tools for learning and exploring human communications, roleplay is still regarded by most as something to be avoided. But why? Here are some reasons:
5 reasons why roleplay is so despised:
1. People fear getting up in front of their peers to do something they could fail at.
2. People don’t want to be singled out in front of a group.
3. People tend to regard roleplay as “play acting” which is generally seen as being childish.
4. People are rarely prepared for roleplays and don’t feel they have the skills.
5. Roleplays are regarded as an old-fashioned and irrelevant exercise.
So, if this is a general feeling, why bother with roleplays? Roleplay is a very current and powerful learning tool, more than ever in this age of digital communication. Unfortunately, roleplay training gets a bad rap because it is often not run by trainers and facilitators who are expert at getting the best from the process. Here are some reasons why roleplays can be so powerful for your on-site-training needs:
5 reasons why roleplays can be so important:
- Talking about learning is one thing, doing it is another.
- Any new skill takes practice to achieve mastery.
- Competencies like negotiation and interpersonal skills don’t stick by theory alone.
- If done right, roleplay can be an incredibly transformative tool, giving instant growth.
- Roleplays with constructive feedback can be a bonding experience for team members
5 things to keep in mind when introducing group roleplays at your workplace:
- Take your time! Don’t rush people into things, start with discussions then small groups to give people a bit of practice.
- Use real case studies for your scenarios, typical workplace interactions. Discuss the right and wrong ways to approach the process with the whole group. This will give the roleplayers a loose “script” to work with and take the pressure off of them having to create content from scratch.
- Get participants to “do it the wrong way” to start. This will take the pressure off having to perform it right straight up and allow a bit of humor and release before trying to attempt the agreed “effective way” of approaching a situation.
- Give participants the power to call “time” during a roleplay. If they are feeling uncomfortable, going round in circles or trying to change by doing what they have done in the past, allow them to stop whenever they like to get suggestions from the group. The facilitator should also stop a roleplay if participants are struggling and discuss with the group how things could be different. This will make any stumbles or missteps an important part of the learning experience for all, instead of a source of embarrassment for the roleplayers.
- Make sure the roleplays are a part of the training session, not all of it! This is probably the most important point. Roleplays should be used when participants have learned new communication or interpersonal skill. The skill should be tangible and proven as effective. Roleplays by themselves can be fun, but not useful as a learning tool unless they are linked to specific skills and insights.
Practice soon, and please reach out to us at Peers and Players if you need further direction or tips.
At Peers and Players, we offer staff and management training in your location. Contact us for a free consultation. www.peersandplayers.com