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Showing posts from 2019

5 Reasons NOT to use Fellow Students in Roleplay Simulations

Perhaps you've heard this before:  Global spending on training tops $350 billion annually.  Estimated is that more than 15% of this goes towards 'Soft Skills' development with the vast majority focused on  Communication Skills, Coaching, Feedback, Conflict Management and Self Awareness.  That's A LOT of money spent on trying to improve people's interpersonal skills, leading to a growing demand for a high return on investment.  The logical next question is, what training method is most successful when it comes to  implementing the newly acquired knowledge into day-to-day workplace interactions?  Research consistently shows that one of the most effective ways to achieve success and a high return on investment is to simulate a real experience by incorporating Role Play into the training programs.  Roleplay gives workshop participants those “in-the-moment” experiences and it allows them to experiment with the new behaviours in a safe-to-fail setting. Sadly,

Role Play as Essential Tool in Soft Skills Training

Soft skills are key to effectiveness in life. From self-confidence to communication skills and emotional intelligence, they all play a significant role in determining a person’s success and happiness.  Per the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs” report, emotional intelligence , creativity and people management will be the top skills required in 2020. However, 'soft skills training' is always challenging since it requires people to change their habits that have been developed over a lifetime. Hence, for any training to be effective in the development of interpersonal skills, it has to allow for repeated practice and provide extensive feedback. Roleplay with professional actors is a medium that has all these as built-in mechanisms. What soft skills can be honed using roleplay? 1. Self-Confidence:  Roleplay helps to build self-confidence by encouraging participants to practice difficult situations and try out different strategies in a safe to fail en

The Secret of Great Roleplayers

Recently I recruited for a new corporate actor for our growing team.  During one of my interviews, I asked the actor sitting in front of me what he thought to be the most challenging part of corporate acting. His answer:  “Challenging? If you know your lines you should be ok, right?” Wrong.   The art of corporate acting is a lot more than just learning the lines of a role-play scenario.  Corporate actors are expert improvisers and can create believable characters and in-the-moment performances. You know that feeling when you watch actors on stage or film, and you are transported to places that seem real and believable. Well, t he same applies when actors take on corporate roleplay. The person they are interacting with quickly forgets they are with an actor, as the situation comes to life. At InterACT we only work with first-class role-play actors. Our actors are trained to create those ‘real’ situations in imaginary circumstances so that participants can pra

New Way to Address Mental Health in the Workplace

At the age of 11, I learned my mother suffered from manic depression. Today, 30 years later, we call it bipolar disorder but however you’d like to call it: she struggled tremendously with her mental health. She still does. Over the years I have seen a dramatic change in the way we talk about mental health. Growing up in a small town where everyone tried to hide their struggles, my mum was a bit of an uncomfortable exception. She never tried to hide how she felt. She thought it was important not to look away from pain. From the psych ward she would send me brochures about her disorder. And she would ask her psychiatrist to explain her disorder to me. At the age of 11 that was a lot to take in. But as an adult, I am so glad she did. Because it taught me how to have conversations about mental health. And how to recognize the signs.   It doesn’t really matter who you are. Your size and shape, or gender. Mental illness doesn’t care and it affects 1 in 4 of us at some p

Why You Are Not a Good Communicator

One of the ideals of many people is to become a ‘great communicator’. Truth is though...very little of us truly are. Why is that? I believe that a ‘great communicator’ is someone who has the capacity to give another person an accurate picture of what is happening in his or hers emotional and psychological life – and in particular, can describe the very darkest, trickiest and most awkward sides in such a way that others can understand, and even sympathize with them. Now I realize that sounds very daunting, so perhaps it’s no surprise that many of us or not such great communicators because we simply do not wish to expose ourselves that way. But make no mistake: Where we don’t ‘communicate’ a message, we still manage to get our points across, but just in toxic forms. As the expression goes, ‘if we can’t talk it out, we act it out’ So when someone asked me recently why we are not all great communicators, I shared these three important reasons:   1.    No good ro

Do you swear to tell the truth?

Yesterday I picked up my son Sam from school. When we came home and I unpacked his schoolbag, I noticed there was a toy in there that didn't belong to him but to the school. When I asked him about it, he said he got it for Christmas. When I probed him a bit more he said his teacher gave it to him as a present. And when I asked him if his teacher would confirm that to me he admitted he liked the toy, secretly hid it in his bag and took it home... Because my son is only 4 years old he's not very good at lying. Moral Development hasn't quite kicked in yet. But by the time he is an adult, he will probably be a lot better at it. And he will still tell several lies a day. Six, to be precise. According to research. As adults we lie during presentations, during job interviews. We lie about purchases we made. We lie to friends and to strangers. We lie about how we feel. Mostly with just one simple reason: to avoid confrontation. So does the truth always set us f

Smell to Boost Learning Power

Only true die hards have read the novel 'A la recherche du temps perdu' by French writer Marcel Proust, but one particular scene from that book is famous: The main character dips a cake called a Madelaine into a cup of chamomile tea, which evokes a torrent of memories from a forgotten childhood.  Marcel Proust understood intuitively what science would only discover many years later: T here is no sense that reaches more deeply and suddenly into our emotional center - right into our solar plexus - than the sense of smell.  So if smells can take us back to various memories, can they help us remember facts?   Science has already proven that smell can influence our behavior.  Like the scent of citrus that makes us want to clean more. Or Auping, a large bedding retailer, who spreads the smell of freshly washed linen through their shops because it increases sales . And what to think of the Dutch Tax Authorities? In their offices the s mell of orange circulates every afternoon

The Fear of Feelings at Work

I remember it like it was yesterday... Monday April 11th 2011.  I was about to present a Leadership Development Program to one of my biggest clients. However the night before my partner of 11 years had decided to end our relationship. He met someone else... That morning I decided to suppress all my big feelings and 'stay professional'. I needed to lock in this deal. So I started my  presentation.  A few minutes in I suddenly felt tears welling up from down deep inside. I tried really hard to not to display my emotions and push them away, but the harder I tried the stronger it grew. And then it happened... I started to cry.  In front of my client, in the middle of my presentation.  Ashamed I tried to get out of the meeting room and hide in the toilets. But my client stopped me. He sat me down and asked me why I was upset. I told him what had happened the night before. And then he said something I will never forget. He said: "Janine, showing your true emoti