One of the most eye-opening, inspiring, and valuable projects we ever worked on was called “Critical Conversations”. It was a custom role-playing excised we created for a construction company who had huge issues around communication.
The full day workshop included facilitation and 8 scenarios with actors to role-play some of the biggest communication breakdowns and most stressful situations for employees:
The actors represented different demographics and roles within the company, from the most senior level management to brand new hires.
They first presented scenarios to gauge how the participants would respond naturally, then with guidance from a peer they edited their conversation to be more positive and productive.
The peer and the actor then demonstrated together the ideal interaction for the situation, and the participant got to role-play one more time using their own language.
The group rotated through these 8 scenarios to understand the full scope of how negative and positive methods of communication and appropriate levels of assertiveness can weaken and strengthen their work as a team.
The result was amazing. Loud rooms - lots of emotion, some frustration, but ultimately important breakthroughs. It was integral for the participants to step into the shoes of one another and see how their words and actions affect each other - and the projects at hand.
The truth is all companies can benefit from workshops like this. Effective communication within teams, across departments, and company-wide is one of the biggest issues affecting employee engagement and bottom line results.
The statistics around engagement are staggering. A meager 1% increase in employee engagement can generate a 9% bump in Sales (http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/resource/people-profits)
Despite this - 75% of leaders have no engagement plan or strategy even though 90% say engagement impacts on business success. (ACCOR).
Critical conversations and role playing can have huge impact on both your employee engagement and bottom line - if they are done correctly. Engaging professional facilitators and using actors instead of actual peers for the most difficult parts of the workshop are essential for it’s success.
Don’t underestimate the power of your voice.