More and more people are seeing the benefits of using actors to enhance and improve their training objectives these days. It makes sense: it’s an arena where people can try out new techniques and learn from mistakes in a way that they will remember and gives confidence in a real situation.
What is the actors starting point? Our approach to training with actors is very much the same as approaching a script for a stage play or a film. We start with the character: who they are, what they do, where they are from, etc. It’s also very important to take on board the culture of the company we are working for or that prevails in the scenario, so as to depict someone in a realistic way. There the comparison ends though. There is no “playing it up for the camera” or “looking for the drama” and definitely no “take two”! If anything, it’s played down. The ultimate aim is to create an immersive learning environment, where people feel as if they’re just doing their normal job, and meeting a different employee, helping them to relax into their normal role and practise the new techniques they’ve been learning.
There is another level beyond that of creating a realistic character for us though. The “feedback” element is something that is often required by clients and so an actor has to faithfully portray a realistic character, within the confines of their brief, keeping in mind training objectives, AND keep an objective eye on how the interaction goes because they will have to feed back to a trainer afterwards. It’s like keeping a little version of yourself in your mind, separate yet visible, (like a sign language interpreter on a TV programme), and sending little notes to that person to then recall after the session.
It’s something that comes with experience and every actor has slightly different techniques but it’s definitely a skill that is appreciated, when required.
We have done so much immersive training over the twelve and a half years we’ve been in business, from Police interviews to Sales forces and Management reviews and are always ready to accept a new challenge and provide a solution to someones training needs – it’s always exciting for us!