Thursday, 3 May 2012

Story Selling - training with audience directed participation

Joe and Glenn have a discussion in the office
Scene1 The Staff survey
At this year's HRD 2012  show there were a number of suppliers who offer training based around "story."

One company of players who  ran a taster session in the Learning Arena (sponsored by Reed Learning) were People deliver change.  People Deliver Projects  (PDP) are in the people development business. They provide training, coaching and consultancy for organisations that deliver projects and change.

Their session was an engaging approach through experiential learning. Facilitated by Managing Director, Andy Taylor we were asked to watch an HR project manager dealing with tricky stakeholders on a change project.

The little scenes were skillfully and amusingly played by the actor/coaches in front of a backdrop photograph on the TV screen - very simple but effective backdrop which took us out of the Hall in London's Olympia to an office, a field where the onward bound course took placeand back to a pub !

"Four Actors in search of room full of directors"
 As the audience we got the chance to control the action as quasi directors.
It made think of the forthcoming world premiere of Steven Berkof's  new play ( May 16 -23rd June) 6 actors in search of a director at the Charing Cross theatre London

  PDP's $ actors in search of a room full or diectors was a bit like the way the audience in the old Channel 4 TV show with Clive Anderson -Whose line is it anyway ?  or BBC 2 Mock the Week  with Dara O Briain ask the  actors/comedians improvise. 

The People Deliver Projects'  'company' included regulars Danny Long ( Glenn the Unit MD) and David Rowan ( 'Joe , the HR manager) Fun particularly when your suggestions were put into immediate action by the skillful actors with consequences one had not necessarily foreseen !!.

(The photos in this post are of the HR Manager Change project - story they played scroll down)
PDP prefer to call role play - skills practise,  and it is clearly the ingredient most valued by their customers reading the feedback in literature and the web site. 
Through using professional actors who bring a special sense of reality to  the skills practise -the scenarios to come to life with authenticity. 

 The experience they showcased felt very real and  involving. That  is important for any learning.
Skills practise is more than just playing a character.  All their actors are  also trained coaches, giving high quality feedback- also I suspect key guidance needed to help changes in behaviour with the clients. 
In the taster at Olympia  'the words, music and dance  were faced' as the troubles of the MD went ahead in the play.

This communication session had impact. The actors/coaches came across as authentic business types. 
Bringing this  group session to life actors  are  clearly comfortable improvising in front of an audience and so brought it  to life even in the corner of the frantic HRD 2012 show.. 
PDP call this style of work 'forum theatre' and it is a little like Edinburgh fringe' impro', where the actors carry the show, and the audience get to contribute, and even control what happens next!
Fascinating and fun. I reckon it would also work well for sales training

Fiona and Joe on the outward bound
day orienteering and 'lost'

Joe and Fiona discussing the problem with Glenn at the
 outward bound day that included milking an Yak!

The denouement in the mini HR case study
Joe breaking the bad news to Glenn at the Pub -
roles played by people deliver change team.

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