- Use any preparation time before the role-play to plan your approach. Read the information given and make some notes. These will help you get back on track of what you wanted to cover if you find yourself losing your way.
- Don’t expect the situation to feel false- as soon as you go into the room and are interacting with the character(s) in there it will feel like a real situation which you will get fully involved in. It’s impossible not to because the actors will be professional and very convincing, and you will be in there with a job to do!
- Figure out what your objectives are. You aren’t just going in to have a nice chat, there will be something you need to achieve, whether it is to gain agreement, formulate a plan, understand different perspectives, establish your expectations and improve performance. What you need to accomplish will be apparent in any instructions/ background information you are given, so read it carefully and stay focused.
- You will enter with an idea of your agenda but don’t forget other people usually have their own as well. Be prepared to come up against additional issues that you might not have been expecting. You will need to react flexibly and think on your feet.
- Make an effort to gather information from the other people in the interaction. They will know things that you don’t and unless you ask questions you will never find out. This information can be crucial to you progressing the interaction effectively.
- There will be certain things the role-players will say deliberately in order to see how you react. So listen carefully. If you ignore certain points or fail to respond you may miss out on getting marks in that area. An example of this is if a role-player says something inappropriate or discriminatory against another member of the team who isn’t present. If you don’t respond to this you are missing your chance of demonstrating how effectively you challenge unethical behaviour in your team.
- If you aren’t directed where to sit try to position yourself so the assessors can see your face. It may be tempting to try and hide away from them but they need to hear what you are saying and this is easier if you are facing towards them.
- Although it seems daunting having assessors in the room you will quickly forget they are there as you get drawn into the discussion. This probably doesn’t sound plausible but most candidates agree, after the role-play, that this is true.
- Don’t be nervous and think that you will be put in a situation where you will be completely out of your depth. There is no value to an organisation to do this. They need to gently push you out of your comfort zone by testing how you would respond to relevant, but challenging situations. So for instance, if there is no part of the job which relates to sales, you won’t be asked to have a sales type conversation. However, if a large part of your role is dealing with customers or managing staff you can expect that your role-play may want to examine your approach to some of these things.
- You’ll probably have water on the table- if in doubt ask for some before you go into the exercise room. Not only will lots of talking give you a dry mouth, but taking a pause to take a sip can give you valuable thinking time if you find yourself a bit stuck as to where to go next.
- Get some practice of these sorts of exercises, and get a sense of what sort of topics might be covered. You will feel much more confidence if you feel prepared.
These tips scratch the surface- there are also more in-depth strategies which will help you get the most from a role-play scenario. For more information check out our role-play products.
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