Role-play – I’d rather drink rancid milk

Learning is not always comfortable. In fact rarely.  One way of improving and learning new skills for new business people is role play.

Gulp! Role play is there anything more uncomfortable?  It must be up there with drinking rancid milk or getting after-shave in a razor cut.

Once you have done with the wincing, it really is a very effective method of improving face to face skills.  It’s one thing reading or being told what you should do or say but to actually practice it is another, entirely.

You don’t read a book or listen to a speaker about how to bend a football, play a piano, draw a picture, you have to do it, and why not practice before you go live.

I must confess I used to despise it so much. I would actually feel my legs shake, throat tighten and tongue dry and swell. Once I got used to it became the one practice that have improved my face to face skills the most by far.

Whenever my business partner and I would talk about an up and coming meeting we’d talk about it in theory, then Adam would clap he hands and say “right let’s role play, go!” or “How will that sound?” And we jump straight into role play.  You’d be surprised how much that came up in that role play will come up later that day with the prospect.

It’s one thing being told you need to ask for referrals but to actually role play it and hear the words that should be said and handle the fears that have been built up in you head make it so much easier when you do it for real.  And doing it for real will teach you more and more that can then inform later role plays.

Once an agency gets used to role-playing they become way more comfortable with asking for referrals, asking for pitch fees or being able to win business without a pitch at all.  The skill to learning is asking better question whilst keeping the prospect comfortable. But until you know how to have the actual conversation to know the actual words that keeps you in control the practice will remain as theory.

Role play is cheap too, agencies like cheap stuff right.  All you need is a trainer and victims role players a relaxed atmosphere with permission to fail, a sense of humour and a few relevant scenarios then crack on. The hardest thing about role play is actually for the trainer because all the participants want to play is beat the trainer.

Practice, practice, practice. Learn, learn, learn. Do, do, do.



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