O2 Line Managers Training Event
O2 requested a training programme in Communication Skills for all 350 Line Managers based at their UK sites. We delivered this training in 25 workshops through May and June. Each Line Manager went away with a Toolbox of Communication Skills.
In our discussions with O2, we all felt that to consolidate this learning, the Line Managers needed to apply these skills using role plays based on real life situations that they face as Line Managers.
The problem was one of numbers: how to give all 350 Line managers a chance to role play?
We resolved this by staging an event at an O2 conference in Twickenham where we employed a specialised Role Play technique called FORUM THEATRE.
We created a script to be performed by two of our actors. In it, the actor playing a Line Manager has to deliver a difficult message to their team. The message could have a negative, de-motivating impact on the team.
The challenge is for the Line Manager to steer the situation away from that negative impact to one in which the manager motivates the team to help overcome the problem. The role play was acted out in front of a group of Line Managers.
Several versions of the role play were performed. In Version 1, the actor playing the Line Manager is instructed to get everything wrong. This is because they were NOT using the Toolbox of Communication Skills taught to all the Line Managers in the lead up to the Conference.
FORUM THEATRE uses an MC whose task is to run the event by encouraging the involve the audience of Line Managers.
After Version 1 of the role play, the MC asks the audience for their reactions and suggestions for a different approach. The MC relates this to the skills toolbox that the Line Managers have been taught.
As the event proceeds, the MC keeps stopping the role play, inviting audience to make increasingly detailed suggestions to improve communication. Doing this, the audience of Line Managers will have a chance to see the impact of using the toolbox.
When the MC judges the moment is right, Line Managers from the audience are given the chance to take the actor’s place and carry on the role play.
The feedback from the conference event was universally positive.