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  • Writer's pictureKate Crawshaw

Good role play actors and the iceberg

Many people watch actors doing role play and marvel at how ‘easy’ the whole thing seems to be. For the untrained, unobservant eye it DOES appear that the conversations and the emotion seem effortless.


A highly experienced role play actor (and they are the only type we use) is like an iceberg in this interaction.  Behind the easy flowing conversation there is an intricate process occurring to ensure that YOU as the participant have the best learning outcome.

We don’t want to share ALL our secrets…. But we will. We aren’t afraid to share this because we know the sweat it takes to get good at this stuff!   So hold onto your hat as we travel:


STEP 1:  Assessment.  Key Skill:  Observation

INTRODUCTION.  The actor is assessing you as a communicator.  How do you operate? How does your body move? How much eye contact do you make? How confident are you? How fast do you talk?  Are you listening to them? - This helps an actor work out what your challenges might be in a communication setting and what approach they may take to ensure you learn from your conversation

STEP 2: Invitation.   Key Skill: Listening

The actor or the participant may now bring forward the problem or purpose of the scenario and start to discuss what the issues are. They will start to ask key questions of the participant and listen intently to the amount and clarity of the information given to them

STEP 3: Challenge. Key Skill: Negotiation

The actor will usually now throw a challenge at the participant, based on their communication styles and the amount of information that has been shared with them. They will remain very open and aware at this stage to ensure that they only push you into a space of learning, not negativity or degradation. The actor will become more challenging, or less, depending on the capabilities of the participant and will at all times be hyper aware of the physical and verbal cues coming at them.

STEP 4:  CONCLUSION. Key Skill:  Support

The scenario will now draw to a close and an actor will ensure they leave the participant in a safe, supported place where they know there have been key learnings in the conversation and that the participant has done a good job. They will then share their feedback and observations about the experience

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