We were recently approached by a Central Government Department to design two bespoke workshops for both line managers and non line managers. The first focused on handling challenging conversations and managing emotional responses. The second focused on communication and understanding the impact of behaviours on others, particularly in conflict / high pressure situations.
Our trainers Nicki McKay and Angela Blacklaw designed a bespoke in-house training workshop to address these needs. They were keen that the workshops were interactive and high energy, so we designed them using forum theatre techniques. Forum theatre is an innovative, engaging and practical way of exploring common leadership and management issues. It allows participants to develop their understanding and skills in resolving difficult workplace scenarios, while avoiding the discomfort of taking part in role-play. Forum theatre acts as a laboratory for behaviour, where participants can experiment in a controlled environment to see what works well - and not so well!
We co-designed realistic, tailored scenarios with the Department, and used these as the basis for a powerful and engaged audience experience. Participants ‘coached’ the actor/facilitators to experiment with a variety of behavioural choices, and see what happens – which allowed participants to truly understand how small changes can have a big impact.
Head of Training and development, Private Office, said:
‘When I needed something a little more bespoke for my training purposes, the sheer brilliance of Forum Theatre was revealed to me. Practical sessions where delegates become active participants as opposed to detached spectators.
A wonderfully collaborative process ensued, prior to the sessions, whereupon I chatted with the very experienced trainers to ensure scenarios were developed and all requirements were met. Never shy to make suggestions and/or improvements to my own ideas, I quickly learnt to value the wealth of experience that had been made available to me, in a fashion that was: Welcoming; accommodating; professional!'