Dramatic performance conversations

Dramatic performance conversations – overview

Recognising the value of, and practising, clear and open communication at all levels is the first step to improving performance, whether at an individual, team, management, leadership or organisational level.

We all know this, but why is it so difficult? This unique programme will make it much, much easier for you by giving you a robust framework to use – and the opportunity to practise your skills in a safe, supportive environment.

How to hold effective performance conversations is a highly appropriate topic for the drama-based training approach. This programme makes full use of an expert trainer working alongside two actor/facilitators to deliver a very interactive, fun, high energy day. It is carefully structured to ensure an optimum balance between theory and practice – between listening, watching and doing.

This programme will help you have conversations that deliver tangible results.

Full details below or download course outline.

Learning objectives

This unique programme will help your people:

  • Develop an increased awareness of the way in which the medium affects the message – how quality of voice and the dynamics of telephone calls affect communication and understanding
  • Reveal and sharpen their sensory skills, enabling them to accurately ‘read’ customers over the phone and adapt their behaviour accordingly
  • Understand and apply a model appropriate to all telephone calls
  • Improve their listening and questioning skills to help them achieve the objectives of their calls (whether inward- or outward-bound)
  • Learn through practice, practice, practice!
Who should attend?

Managers (at all levels), team leaders and supervisors.

Course format

This one-day workshop combines a series of drama-based performance conversation exercises, with powerful forum theatre technique and one-to-one skills practice sessions with every participant.

To ensure an appropriate level of interaction, the programme is limited to 12 participants.

The workshop focuses on creating awareness, developing attitudes and beliefs and embedding newly acquired skills and behaviours as habits. It is highly interactive, very powerful – and great fun!

Special features

For added value, participants should bring their own targets and role description (and/or those of the people who report to them) for use in the exercises.

Honest conversations don’t have to be performance conversations: this programme can be tailored around any type of challenging conversation, whether with colleagues or clients.

Expert trainer

Cyrus is an exceptional trainer, facilitator and coach. He specialises in helping managers to focus on their role and responsibilities with the aim of getting great results with the people they manage. He has helped organisations in both the public and private sectors to increase their performance through a range of interventions covering leadership challenges, motivational management and corporate and executive 1:1 coaching. Formerly an internal learning and development consultant to the Ministry of Justice, his achievements there ranged from a major business process re-engineering (BPR) project to designing performance management systems and competency frameworks for over 12,000 staff and creating a range of management programmes for middle / senior civil servants that are still being run to this day.

Cyrus is passionate about coaching as well as training, and has recently developed an organisational-wide coaching programme for the Big Lottery Fund. He currently works with Thomson Reuters graduates on a global graduate scheme, delivering a week of self-discovery, supported by the FACET5 profiling tool. His other current / recent clients include the BBC, 3M, Accenture, Inter Hannover, Legoland, Merlin Entertainments, Mouchel, Phytopharm, Office of the Public Guardian, The Gap Partnership, Central Bedfordshire Council, Finsbury Foods, Lancashire Group, RED Consulting, Gala Coral, De Lage Landen, the Methodist Church, Shaw Trust and the Housing Solutions Group, to name but a few. Whether delivering a one-off workshop or designing an innovative management development programme, Cyrus delivers with understanding, enthusiasm and passion, and truly believes that learning is about creation, not consumption.

Cyrus’s academic and professional qualifications include a Masters Degree in Management Practice, MBTI accredited, SDI accredited, Facet5 accredited, DiSC accredited, Diploma in Executive and Corporate Coaching, Diploma in Business Coaching, Diploma in Business Excellence (EFQM), NVQ Assessor, etc. Cyrus is enthusiastic and practical in his approach, with tools and methodologies explained clearly. His strong facilitation skills and focus on his audience create a powerful learning experience and the response from individual participants is invariably appreciative, as the following comments show:

‘Cyrus was fab – as usual.’

‘Building a Customer Mentality’ course participant, Inter-Hannover

‘This session was exceptionally brilliant. The trainer drew me out of my shell.’

Graduate Development Workshop participant, Mouchel

Stephen and his team of drama-based learning specialists have been delivering highly successful, hands-on, practical presentation and personal impact training solutions for the past six years. With a combined experience of over 50 years’ in theatre-style training, Stephen and his team can help you to overcome the challenges associated with standing up and speaking in front of others, resulting in a highly polished professional presentation using drama inspired techniques. Stephen’s clients include, among others, Boston Borough Council, Camden Council, Kent County Council, EBP, Oxford University, Westminster Council, British Telecom, Legoland Windsor, Nutricia, Sodexo Jeans for Genes, Vizards Tweedie, Biz Unlimited and Vodafone.

‘For a presentation on social enterprises, I came to Steve for help and advice. He helped me communicate in a relaxed and natural way, giving me the confidence to face my audience and engage them by expressing my style and personality.’

Lynne Brooke, Partner, Vizards Tweedie Law Firm

‘Stephen listens to our needs and delivers professional and engaging work. He sees the opportunity to inject the learning with fun and humour. We feel Stephen gives us the edge when developing our people.’

Mary Tobin, Repairs Contact Centre Manager, Camden Council

Dramatic performance conversations – course outline

1 The warm-up

  • Welcome to the programme
  • Aims and objectives
  • Learning diary / action plan

2 Preview

  • What is an ‘honest conversation’?
  • Why don’t we have them more often? What stops us?
  • The cost of not having them

3 Rehearsal

  • Understanding the difference an honest conversation can make
  • Actors demonstrate the importance and effects of having (or not having) honest conversations
  • Conversations will be humorous and entertaining with relevance to ‘typical’ scenarios
  • It will be very clear to the audience that the characters are not saying what they are thinking, ie, not having honest conversations
  • The trainer will facilitate audience participation, getting the actors to run through the scenes again. Participants will be asked to influence the conversations and in doing so affect the final result. They will ‘red flag’ or stop the scenes when they think something needs to change. The trainer will ask people what the actor needs to STOP saying/doing and what they need to START saying/doing. The actors will change what they do/say from the instructions of the audience and will improvise what happens as a result
  • This model will be used in the following sessions to demonstrate the learning points

4 Act 1 – The feedback conversation

  • A 5-step model for giving feedback
  • Viewing feedback as a ‘gift’
  • Exercise: Giving performance related feedback
  • Dealing with the impact of feedback conversations
  • 5 different styles of feedback ¬– impact and when to use
  • Exercise: Giving feedback in different styles
  • Preparing for conflict

5 Act 2 – The expectations conversation

  • Using ‘role profiling’ to set clear expectations
  • How to set and agree expectations as part of a conversation
  • Exercise: A real ‘conversation’ to challenge and question the expectations of a role

6 Act 3 – The targets conversation

  • The ‘target cascade’ model – how targets are cascaded through an organisation to ensure they are properly aligned
  • Importance of setting goals/targets which are specific, measurable and personally controllable
  • How to use ‘SMART’ questions
  • Exercise: Identify a non-SMART target and then have a ‘conversation’ to review and challenge the target using the SMART questions

7 Finale

  • Honest conversations checklist
  • Exercise: Prepare and plan for a genuine honest conversation back in the workplace using perceptual positioning

8 The curtain call

  • A final humorous scene from the actors drawing on the key learnings from the afternoon’s activities
  • To be developed by the actors over the course of the afternoon
  • Group discussion reflecting on the key learning points from the day and committing to change