Communication Exercises – Role Play Game #25On August 11, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
In this exercise the team will form an audience on one side of the room. In this exercise scenes will be played out by the participants. The scenes will be about topics that are important in the group or topics in the group that could use some improvement. The team decides what scenes will be played out. Some examples are: giving feedback communication styles or showing genuine interest in each other. The trainer selects someone that may suggest the first topic to be played out. This person chooses a topic, in this case giving feedback on social behavior. Now he explains why he chose this topic. Too often, feedback is exchanged in a very direct and insulting way. This makes exchanging feedback quite a hassle and it negatively affects the workplace atmosphere. I would love to see this go differently. The situation will be played out as the participant had just described it. In this case: giving feedback in an insulting and direct manner. The trainer asks the people that would like to act out the scene to raise their hand. From everyone that has raised their hand the trainer picks in this case, two people to play out the scene. The trainer proceeds to assign the roles to the participants. In this scene person A will be giving the feedback and person B will be receiving the feedback. The participants will play out the scene in a way it was described by the participant that chose the topic. Instruct the audience to make a mental note when the participants playing the scene are being too direct or insulting. The scene will be played. Person A starts with giving his feedback. “Good day William, I’d like to briefly discuss your attitude within the team.” Person B responds. “That’s okay. What would you like to discuss?” “Well…” says person A. We all agree that you always have too much to say about the most irrelevant topics. Besides that you rarely listen to others when they have something to say that actually is important.“ Person B responds to the feedback. “Yes, that’s right. I’m someone that likes to speak his mind. So when others talk I see that as a disturbance of my thoughts. That’s why I act like I do.” “Ok”, says person A. “But I just want you to listen to other people as well.” “Well”, says person B, “I don’t feel like that’s necessary.” In this case the scene has been played out the way it was described. Feedback has been exchanged in a direct and insulting way causing person B to be unwilling to change his behavior. Let the audience objectively name what they’ve seen and how they think that has affected the scene. In this case someone says: “Adrian gave feedback on the fact that William talked too much. He also insulted William by saying that his comments were irrelevant. He also said it in a very strict tone.” Now the audience comes up with alternatives for the scene that will change the outcome for the better. One participants says: I think it would be better if Adrian first mentions what he likes about William’s stories before giving his feedback. I think it would also be better if he spoke with a more friendly tone of voice.” The trainer now asks the actors if they would like to play the scene again. But this time with the alternative suggestions that came from the audience. Person A starts the scene. “Good day, William. How are you doing?” “I’m doing great. Can I help you with something?” “Yes, if you don’t mind. I would like to briefly discuss something with you.” Everyone in the team really appreciates you and we all agree you can tell very inspiring stories that we all greatly enjoy.” “Wow”, says person B, “That’s nice to hear.” “Yes. And we would love that in addition to telling your own stories you would also leave some room for other people to share their stories.” “Thanks for letting me know, Adrian. I do have some difficulties with this. I will try to improve this. Thank you for giving me this feedback!” After having played the scene for the second time the audience makes their comments again about what they have seen go differently and how this affected the situation. One participant comments: It was very pleasant to hear person A give the same feedback to person B in a non confrontational way without the judgement in it. The content of the message remained the same but it wasn’t anywhere near as offensive.” Now the actors also speak out about how they experienced the two different ways of interacting with each other. The participant playing peron B comments: The first time I felt quite attacked. Saying to me that what I tell is uninteresting and irrelevant made me feel very reluctant to change. The second time I felt way better knowing I was actually appreciated. This made me much more willing to change my behavior.” After having discussed the scene a next scene will be played out. Continue playing out scenes based on the given topics until everyone has played a role in a scene. The trainer guides the team and applies variation. Which variations you can read below this video on Youtube. And please subscribe to our channel to see a new team exercise each sunday on youtube.com/teamexercise to improve cooperation and communication.