Using role play in a corporate setting has become increasingly popular – and rightly so. The value that role plays adds to learning, development and assessment activities is considerable.
Role play enables colleagues to learn through doing. Effective role play at work should offer realistic scenarios, worked through in a safe environment. This kind of activity can allow people to put learning and new skills into practice or to rehearse difficult conversations they might face in their daily work.
Role play is also a great tool for assessment, giving managers and recruiters an opportunity to see interpersonal and communication skills in action.
Because role play can be built upon almost any scenario, it is an extremely flexible tool.
With the right scenario, role play can be relevant and realistic for any sector, for any role and for colleagues at every stage in their career development.
As a professional role play actor, I have been involved in role play for a wide range of corporate and public service teams.
My experience includes customer service and sales training, leadership development, medical training and assessment, legal sector skills and communication assessments.
I am passionate about the value of using acting techniques to deliver professional – and personal – development. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and am dedicated to improving my understanding and experience in this area, which is why I’m currently studying for the CIPD’s Level 5 Award in Learning and Development.
Role play works – but only if you do it. How can you help your team through the stage fright and get them to engage and participate?
Getting Role Play to Work
I am a professional actor. I have had a lot of training and experience in standing up in front of people and pretending to be somebody else. I am comfortable doing it and have learnt improvisation skills that allow me to react to an unplanned conversation or a surprising scenario.
Your team probably aren’t professional actors.
Asking colleagues to engage in role play can often be a challenge. Many people are nervous about ‘acting’ in front of others – especially their work peers or managers.
Nobody wants to feel stupid or look silly – so for role play to be an effective tool for your L&D team, you need to be able to create an environment that feels safe and only makes realistic demands on your students, delegates and colleagues.
With a role play actor onboard, your delegates, students or colleagues will only ever have to play themselves. This removes the nervousness that many of us have when we are asked to ‘act’ or ‘pretend’ to be somebody else.
By using a professional actor, you can deliver role play training or assessments that don’t feel like a ‘performance’ to your team. Take away the sense of stage fright by only ever asking people to be themselves and you ensure that every time one of your team works in a role play, they are practicing the side of the scenario that they will face in their working life.
Working with Andy
I am a professional role play actor available to work directly with in-house teams. I also work through larger organisations to support medical and legal assessment through role play.
I work with organisations and L&D teams in one of two ways:
1. Taking Part in Existing Activities:
Where you have already designed and developed training or assessment role plays, I work from your brief to act alongside your colleagues or delegates, creating a realistic role play.
Your input will be invaluable in helping me understand the learning outcomes and challenges you see for each scenario and I am always guided by your views on how I take on a role – the style, level of improvisation and tone.
2. Helping to Develop New Material:
If you are new to using role play, or want to introduce the technique into a new course or assessment format, I can work with you to design scenarios and actor briefing notes that will best deliver the learning or performance outcomes you are focused on.
My experience as a role play actor, combined with the work I have done on developing confidence and presentation skills workshops, gives me a useful perspective on the most effective role play scenarios.
I can make suggestions on incorporating role play into existing courses and advise on practicalities like setting, duration and, crucially, managing feedback.
I am based near Bath and Bristol but regularly work in London and the South East too. I am always happy to discuss traveling to work with a new team wherever you are in the UK – just get in touch and we can chat.
I charge a standard daily rate, am VAT registered and, because you are working with me directly, there are absolutely no agency or admin fees to pay.
Role Play & Training Clients Include:
- King’s College London
- Royal College of GPs
- Royal College of Surgeons
- Kaplan – Solicitors Examinations
- Takeda Pharmaceuticals
- Lloyds Banking Group
- The College of Law
Where Role Play Really Works
There aren’t many learning situations in which role play isn’t helpful!
Any situation that involves people can be used to create a role play scenario.
Because role play is based on interpersonal communication, whatever the learning outcomes, you are always training or refreshing those ‘softer’ skills at the same time.
However, there are some real role play winners – areas where role play has been tried and tested and can undoubtedly deliver a difference.
- Customer Service
Managing negative emotions in others
Understanding and responding to signals
Difficult conversations, adopting appropriate management styles
- Team Development
Working with different communication preferences
Self-belief from successful ‘rehearsals’
Role play experience and constructive feedback to refine styles
- Emotional Intelligence
Empathy, anticipation and forum learning from others
The power of choosing the right words
Behaviour styles and knowledge levels
Contextual application of skills and learning
People managers and leadership potential
- Performance Review
Reviewing behaviours and constructive feedback