And I was taken back to my youth when I used to set up a concert stage in my room, put the LP on the turntable, and jammed out a LIVE concert. I even played bass left-handed like Paul McCartney.
I was role playing. I was practicing. And I had some pretty good moves. I even identified which tennis rackets were the specific guitars of John, Paul, and George. As in, I would get mad when my friends played George’s guitar on the tennis racket I had designated as Paul’s bass…
Ok, so maybe I wasn’t a normal kid…
…or was I?
You see, I think this is what kids do. They role play. They pretend. They practice. They dream. They envision.
And I think the problem is we have gotten away from this behavior as adults.
I have no idea. But I think it is time we bring this back.
I can list (at least) eight presentation scenarios where playful role playing would be meaningful practice to hone the message:
1. Speaking gigs.
2. Podcast interviews.
3. Sales calls.
4. Product pitches.
5. Initial meetings over coffee with new prospects.
6. Product demos.
7. Creative brainstorm sessions.
8. Convincing internal colleagues to take action on your behalf.
And I am not talking about sitting quietly, and alone, and rehearsing…
I am suggesting that we “set up pretend concerts” and rehearse these big, important work scenarios in a big way, with dramatic role playing, props, and seeking the active involvement of others on your team. I even give you permission to have fun with this.
[GASP! How dare we have fun doing meaningful, important work...]
But why doesn’t this happen? Are we embarrassed?
Perhaps. Perhaps we live and work in a “too formal” business culture that discourages the playfulness of such an act. Perhaps some in our organizations look down upon this as childish and immature.
What a shame. I think we’d all do well to add some fun to rehearsals such as this.
Honestly, I think role plays like this that are, perhaps, over-the-top, playful, and fun have a few other side benefits:
1. I think they would stimulate a lot creativity.
2. I think it would strengthen teamwork.
3. I think it would sharpen the message.
4. I think it would break down cross functional anxieties.
No, don’t waste time, but I think there is value in “acting like a kid” and engaging in some role play in what are very important business functions.
Apart from improving teamwork, I think the activity could result in better output, and better, more purposeful communication.
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