By Cynthia Cristilli
Want to capture your employee's attention and provide a training session with real impact? To make a lasting impression, an increasing number of corporations are turning to staged reality-based theatrical dramatizations when training management and staff.
Human resources professionals who seek unique, engaging, and effective tools to address some of the workplace's thorniest issues are finding that using theater in training fulfills all of these requirements and more. From law firms to financial institutions to the bio-tech industry, employees are thrilled to find that training sessions can be educational AND entertaining.
Whether the topic is sexual harassment, diversity, ethics, communication, conflict resolution or customer service, drama-based programs generate excitement rather than dread among employees. Once introduced to the theatrical techniques of these sessions, participants begin to anticipate their next mandatory training. When the session is completed, they continue to discuss and reflect on the points presented, mulling over the actions and reactions of the characters they witnessed in the dramatizations.
How to Stage a Workplace Reality Show and Leave a Lasting Impression
- Choose the topic.
- Compile a list of your organization's most prominent issues on the topic.
- Find the right company that specializes in drama-based training techniques.
- Ensure the company uses professional actors and all receive coaching on your organization's training needs.
- Request letters of recommendation and client testimonials.
- Create a course outline (or didactic) that clearly states your organization's policies, and directives on the topic.
- Determine who will facilitate the training -- you, someone else in your company, or a facilitator from the drama-based training company.
- Allow audience members to participate in the interactive portion of the training session.
- Generate some excitement in advance. Promote the program in your company as a reality-based theatrical event.
- Relax and Enjoy! Using professionals skilled in drama-based techniques is a safe, efficient and effective training method. Sit back and watch the magic of theater transform your organization into thoughtful action about difficult everyday issues.
Trainers and human performance experts are discovering that an hour's worth of "telling" cannot achieve what 10 minutes of "showing" burns into memory. Including an interactive discussion with trainees about the on-stage dynamics further engages and involves employees. This group forum brings audience members into the action and healthy resolution of the problem depicted. In this atmosphere, participants' ideas are valued, their voices heard, and their opinions acknowledged.
Besides the sheer novelty and entertainment value of watching a live performance at work, a well-written and performed dramatization stimulates participants to look beyond the rules and policies of any one topic to the personal aspects involved. Watching and identifying with the characters, audience members are able to directly experience how certain types of behaviors can affect people on both a personal and professional level.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, staged performances by the right specialty training organization can be worth millions to your company's bottom line.
Cynthia Cristilli is founder and director of Life Theatre Services, a San Francisco, California private company founded in 1992. The company provides customized real-life training solutions about complex social issues to corporations, educational institutions, and non-profits. For more information, call 415-433-3755, or go to www.lifetheatre.com.