Role Plays ‐ Filling in the agenda
Role plays are often used to provide hands‐on experience throughout an agenda. You should give
serious consideration to the purpose of each role play exercise and plan steps to make sure you meet
your objectives. Remember to ask your group to ramp up the emotions when playing a caller. This
makes it more fun and more realistic. I usually have 2 role plays per agenda item, one to get started and
one to really be useful. Besides everyone wants a turn being an actor.
Role play as an ice breaker – Have trainees partner to interview someone they DO NOT already know,
gather 2 or 3 pieces of information (name, where you work, favorite actor, leisure time activity or some
other personal preference) and introduce their partners. This sets the tone for your training content
and also promotes networking. Be advised, however that this activity can take time. You may need to
watch the clock during debriefing of each team.
Role Play as an example of skills, techniques or values as part of the Assessment Process – What is the
purpose of the role play? Give clear directions that will keep the role play on track. In my experience
when asking the group to participate in an active listening role play most people will bypass the listening
skills and techniques to jump directly to providing a resource. When you debrief each team the
questions you ask can reveal the intent and value of the role play. Ask questions like, Can you describe
an active listening skill or technique your interviewer used? , or give the direction to attempt at least 2
skills or techniques. You could ask for 3 pieces of client information that would seem to be necessary
for research and referral giving based on the scenario.
Role Play as an example of research and referral giving – Use brochures, directories or online resources
for searching and have a set of simple, uncomplicated scenarios to hand out to trainees, either as an
individual or as a partner exercise. As part of debriefing you can ask questions about location,
transportation, fees and eligibility to illustrate the value of the Assessment Process. This exercise using
brochures and flyers in the mix of resources can also illustrate the value of directories or online
databases that incorporate the AIRS record management standards. As in, “What do we need to know
about an agency/service to empower a caller with enough information so that they will take the next
Role Play to wrap it all up – During this exercise you may want to consider using an observation sheet
and working in teams. The observation sheet offers check off items from each step of the intake process
from the interview, assessment, research, referral giving and follow up. This role play can be a powerful
reinforcement tool for all of the steps you have placed in your training.