Role Playing

role playing develops stronger employees and better companies

Role Playing Helps Staff Excel

One of the most effective training methods is role playing. Not just for sales or customer service training, this technique is an excellent way to achieve a number of benefits for employees, management and support people. Role playing is not just "practicing working with an imaginary customer out loud." Role playing allows a group of employees to act out work scenarios. It opens communications, and for the amount of time when it puts a player 'on-the-spot,' it also gives a great deal of confidence and develops camaraderie among those participating in (doing) the role play situations.

For instance, you might train salespeople by having two people act out a 'sales' scenario. One acts as the salesperson, the other acts as the customer. This allows salespeople to practice their sales techniques. A trainer and/or other trainees may watch the role play and critique it afterwards.

Role playing can be used in every department by management and employees to practice business situations. Role playing is the systematic building of correct habits while learning the acceptable system and the best way to communicate your ideas to the customer. Role playing should be done in a low-stress environment, which makes it easier to learn. The trainer can critique the role play situation and corrections can be made immediately by more rehearsal. Assimilation of the training material and implementation of a key element of the system can occur quickly in business. Role playing should be performed where the job will take place. This means at the work desk, on the phone, at the checkout counter, delivery or warehouse area. This setting should provide all necessary notes or equipment the employee may have, and should be performed with the person playing the part of the customer.

Role-Playing is an Excellent Exercise For:

Change Role Playing Partners at Regular Intervals

The trainer should select the partners that will work together. The trainer can match a new employee with a highly skilled co-worker. This will speed up the learning curve of the new person. The trainer can put 'veteran' workers together, but caution must be given as to how they will interact during this training. Sometimes they take it too lightheartedly and therefore do not gain the benefits of the exercise. The trainer must set up the scenario and must also set up a variety of customer 'personality types' to be used. Based on your business and circumstances you will have to insert the, "I am just shopping," the, "I'm an impatient customer," or the, 'unfriendly,' or a 'non-talker,' types or scenarios. They must be something that will prompt your partner to take on different roles to reflect the different personalities encountered.

Straightforward Tactics and 'Just the Basics' Get Results

The first few times a person 'role plays,' they will be nervous and unsure of this training method. You will hear the statement, "This is harder than working with a real customer." This is true, because the real customer does not know how the system should work, or how the message should be given. Each section of role playing should be simple and not introduce difficult role-playing situations with lots of strong objections or difficulties. The right way to learn material rapidly is to repeat it, then practice it in the role play format, and then gradually add more difficult situations. With more and more diverse objections this will quickly enhance skills without putting excess pressure on the employee.

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