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Showing posts from 2016

Learn in weeks, what usually takes years.

A little fun fact: 

Whenever a Mormon missionary chooses to serve in a foreign country, he or she has to learn a completely different language to be able communicate in the assigned area. Therefor they enter a Missionary Training Center (MTC) where they can learn the new language from Mormon teachers. Usually they attend the MTC for 2 to 10 weeks, right before they go out on their mission.   Now just let that sink in...
Between 2 and 10 weeks to master a different language?!?!

Quite impressive isn't it?  How does the Mormon church train their young missionaries to speak a foreign language so efficiently? These students learn in a few weeks what takes most college students three or four years. And being a non native English speaker myself, I would happily add a few more years to that to even become fluent.

But these students are mostly fluent within a year.    The technique used to train these missionaries is called "Context-Based Learning.(CBL)" The CBL method uses real life an…

3 Skills for Better Communication from Professional Actors.

You are about to have an important conversation. You want it to be effective - really effective. So where do you start? 
As an actor, my choice is biased, but I truly believe the world of acting has everything to offer when it comes to the best techniques for effective communication skills.  
So below are 3 ways you can use the skills of an actor to improve the impact and influence of your own speaking. 
1. Choose an intention Before delivering their messages, actors mustunderstand with great clarity how they want their audience to react to each message. They think deeply about how they want their audience to feelas a result of their communication.  In day to day life however we often develop a message focusing primarily on the words and content we are delivering. What we fail to ask ourselves is why that overall message should be important to our listener. Why should they care? What would make them care? This very common mistake is usually fatal to effective communication. Understand…

Dating my clients...

Ok. I'm not really dating my clients, but i figured that headline would make you curious enough to read this article... Because you know what?
I sometimes do FEEL like I'm dating my clients.

Ever since I started my own business InterACT WA two years ago, I can't help but think courting new clients isn’t that different from courting a potential mate. You’re nervous as hell, but you still want to make a good impression and hopefully seal the deal. We all know the feeling of that first date that can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking.

So I dusted off the good old date rules that served me well back in the days that I was single. Funny enough they still prove to be very useful in running my own business.   Rule #1: It takes two to tango. We’ve all been in relationships where we felt we were giving 110% and the other person was giving nothing. It stinks, right? I try to remember this when I'm chasing down a client who can’t commit or when I'm trying to please someon…

Captivating every audience.

Last week I was asked to read a book to all the kids at my sons daycare because of Children's Book Week. I decided to bring one of my favorite books on all the things you can do with cardboard boxes. They might even learn something, I thought.

Full of excitement I sat down in front of the group of two year old's until I felt a butterfly in my stomach. The butterfly then quickly turned into a knot and seconds later I concluded with a shock: I AM NERVOUS!  I immediately had a firm inner talk, telling myself that it was ridiculous to be nervous and that a group of 2 year old's would be peanuts in comparison to the groups I usually face as a corporate trainer. But I still felt a bit unsure. You see, for every person who loves group facilitating the ultimate quest is always to unlock the secrets of engagement. How do we engage others, and then keep them in that state? I'm confident in dealing with adults but suddenly engaging 15 toddlers felt like a herculean task.  So I d…

5 Strategies to improve Role Play

Today I saw this video on social media.
It's showing a role play simulation taking place during a seminar and boy, did it make me cringe...

Not because of the lovely people doing their absolute best, but because of the lack of roleplay techniques. I guess that when you work a professional role-play actor every day you deal with a lot of people who fear role-plays and had very traumatizing experiences. This made me extremely passionate about making sure role-play simulations are being done correctly.

Because in a world of e-learning, learning bites, blended learning and brain based learning, the simple act of role-play is still one of the most effective and impactful ways of changing behavior.
If... done correctly.

So what can we learn from this video?


1. Roleplay needs to be voluntary. 
In the video we see Stuart being forced to do the role-play scenario. The presenter puts him in front of an audience without any consent. Stuart jokes to the audience "I never signed up for th…

I hate role play.

For many it's a modern, workplace form of torture by humiliation. The idea alone of having to do a role play. I notice this every day when I present myself to groups as a Communication Trainer and Professional Role Play Actor.   "I never learned anything from a role play" or "Oh no. I hate role play..." are frequently heard comments from people participating in one of my workshops.    So why doe people hate it so much?  Possibly because people imagine that they will have to 'act' and, as most do not see themselves as performers, this equates to being asked to do a school play...  at the office... in front of all those people who are about as afraid as you are.  More often than not, role-playing scenarios with colleagues do not work due to a variety of reasons.  People in the same team know each other well so it becomes impossible to see colleagues as that supposed frustrated customer, eager-to-please supervisor or whoever they are supposed to be portrayi…

Let's play!

Last week I asked my partner to get our son dressed for daycare.  After 10 minutes they still weren't back. I decided to wait another 5 minutes. Then I started to get annoyed. What was taking so long?
I opened up the bedroom door and there they were.  My partner, covered in a sheet, crawling over the floor, pretending to be a tiger. And our son hiding in the wardrobe, giggling out loud. 
Needless to say, my son was still in his pajamas. 
When we were young, we used to do it all the time: Playing games with others.  And I remember vividly how it made me feel.  School was just an annoying interference with my play time.
Now, as adults, unfortunately we don’t play that much anymore. Yes, we play with our kids, but when it comes to work we don't play tag during our lunch breaks. 
And you know what?  That’s a shame because play gives energy, boosts creativity and is lots of fun. 
Fortunately, more and more people rediscover the power of play and they even have their own profession…

Learning Styles

We've just bought a new remote control for our television.
Our toddler managed to destroy our old remote, so there was no way around it:
We had to go buy a new one.

A universal one.
One with lots of unfamiliar buttons...

Now something you should know about me is that whenever a new electronic device enters our household I get a bit uneasy. Because it means I have to learn how the damn thing works all over again.

Here is a snip-it of the conversation that took place between me and my partner last week after buying the new remote:

Me: (pressing all buttons hysterically): I can't change the channel!!!
He: I'll grab the manual so you can look up what to do.
Me: Nah. (disgusted face) Too many pages.
He: Well there's no logic in just randomly trying things.
Me: I don't understand... This used to work with the old one.
He:  Just take your time. Turn it off and start from the beginning.
Me: Never mind. I'll just keep trying and see what happens.

Needless to say my partne…

5 reasons role play fails

Role playing is one of the most effective learning methods. Especially when you choose to work with a professional actor. Surprisingly it’s also one of the most misused techniques. 

So what goes wrong?
Well, pay attention and learn which 5 failures make role play fail miserably:
1. Unsafe practiceenvironment
Most people are not dying of enthusiasm to do a role play simulation. That is why its extremely important to invest time and effort in creating a safe practice environment. Never ever push people intro a role play scenario if they really don't want to. They wont learn a thing and will only be more reluctant to do so in the future.

2. No alignment between learning goals and role play.
 The role play has to be completely dedicated to the learning goal of the participant. Unfortunately sometimes people are eager to change the role play into an interesting theatrical scene. Perhaps fun to look at, but not very helpful to the participant. No role play should ever start without a clear le…

That's not right...

My 1 year old son received a book about the four seasons and this morning I decided to read it to him.
On the first page Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street say:

"Summer starts in December. It's a great time to go to the beach!"

I instantly stop reading out loud, thinking: That's not right...
Summer starts in June, not in December. December is wintertime.

Having lived in Europe for the first 35 years of my life, this is still my truth.
And after being in Australia for three years now, I'm still not used to the reversed seasons.

So my first impulse to that truth, that's different to mine, is with judgement...

The same thing can happen with cultural differences in the working place.
With so many people in Perth coming from different cultural backgrounds, there is a wide variety of truths. It's worthwhile to learn how to deal with these differences and avoid the judgement to become a more emotionally intelligent person.

As a simple start these three steps can…