Wednesday, 5 November 2014

First impressions

As a role play actor, I sometimes convey my first impression of participants only minutes after the training workshop started.  

Often they are very surprised and slightly shocked when I give them a spot on description of their personality. "Wow. Are you a little psychic?" they ask me. 

However, there is nothing especially magical or mystical involved here . 

I merely look at their tonal (voice) and non-verbal (body language) communication. 

After having done that I ask myself a simple question: 

What FEELING is someone giving me purely by intuition? 

Since just in seconds we have already decided whether we find someone accessible, dominant, shy, observing, etc. but we often repress these initial impressions as we do not find them logical and do not wish to be too quick to judge. After all we have not spoken to that person as yet... 

For example, let us look at a job interview. The first minutes before the questions are asked: the door opens, the applicant comes in, shakes hands and sits down. If you, the employer,  intuitively perceive how capable, intelligent, expressive, confident, warm, polite or stable the candidate is, then you have sub-consciously already determined a candidates suitability before the interview formally begins.   

However we rarely say it out loud as we do not wish to offend. 

As a training actor I do say it out loud. And therefor I often get asked how someone can change the first impression they are creating. Well. I'm inclined to say... You cannot.  

Why not? 

Well, because the first impression is formed in the initial 0.03 seconds (!). 

Unfortunately, despite the fact that these initial seconds give the most information you also have the least influence on them. It is too complex and subtle.

Look at other social animals. 

They also instinctively use body language signals with each other, so they already know within seconds who is dominant, who will fall for each other, who have a conflict and who together form a bond. In other words, a pecking order is established. Thereafter the social traffic will move quickly and smoothly. 

Luckily you do have a lot of influence on your second impression. Just being aware of the first impression you make on people is half the battle. 

The moral of the story: 

If we would trust our instincts a bit more, it would save us a lot of blah-blah! 

What do you think?


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Return on investment

When I was young and still in elementary school, my friends and I always used to sing a silly Dutch song. 

The lyrics went:

"The more I learn, the more I know.
The more I know, the more I forget.
The more I forget, the less I know.
So I won't learn and won't regret it."

Now, years and years later there might be a bit more truth to that song than you initially think. Ever heard of the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve?

This curve shows how information is lost over time when there is no attempt to retain it. 
And that is pretty damn quick...

A typical graph of the forgetting curve shows that within days or weeks of completion of a training workshop, participants tend to have only retained half of the newly learned knowledge.

So how do you make sure participants learn as much as possible in a training workshop? 

There has been a lot of research on this subject. One of the outcomes is that people learn both passive and active:

As you can see the most effective learning takes place in the active part. It turns out that we tend to remember 90% of all things we do. In training programs that means simulating the real experience or doing the real thing. So when people ask me why they should hire an actor for their training or should do a theater based training workshop my answer is simple:

You will get a higher return on investment!

Because a professional role play actor knows like no other how to create a learning experience that is as close to the real thing as possible.  

Do you want to know more about using an actor in your training program? 
Feel free to visit my website for more information or call 0487693349. 

PS. And thank god the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve only works on humans and not on blue, little fishes...