If you want to improve employee communication, then you may want to use a special acting technique. Exploring acting can help prevent costly mistakes and misunderstandings, as well as create a better sense of teamwork.
The technique sees an actor create a backstory for something that happened off stage or screen. For instance, an actor may be required to run into a scene out of breath. While the reason for the dramatic entrance may be implied, it’s not necessarily spelled out in the script.
Some performers like to fill in the gaps for their characters. He or she will come up for a reason for being out of breath. Did a traffic jam make them late, did they have too much coffee, or were they just playing the trumpet?
Whatever story is selected by the actor becomes part of the character’s backstory. When done well, the process strengthens the performance, making the character seem more real.
At work, it can be a good idea to apply the backstory technique. Consider these applications:
If you run an air conditioning repair business, then a customer who calls you in July is likely feeling hot, tired, and grumpy. They are experiencing a really bad day.
By creating this backstory, you can train your customer service team to prepare for these interactions in such a way that acknowledges pain and delivers comfort and hope. It’s a different mindset than customer service at an online shoe company. Unhappy people can be good for business at an AC company.
Sometimes requests may come from other department that make little sense. Before you react negatively to them, do some thinking.
Consider whether an urgent problem or a lack of knowledge has resulted in the request. In this situation, reality may not match the backstory. But it’s better to think through these scenarios, rather than go into an adversarial mode and immediately say, “This is the dumbest thing ever.” That has a chilling effect on teamwork. Your focus should be on improving employee communication.
Making Your Own Requests
When you need something, use the backstory technique to prepare your pitch. Sometimes, you’ll be focused on the future, rather than the past.
Imagine the person who is receiving the request only has one minute to consider it. How would you deliver it differently versus an unlimited amount of time?
Another scenario would have you imagine how the person would react if, moments before, his or her budget was either cut or doubled.
This kind of role playing can reveal different approaches to making a request. That way, the conversation can become less of a yes or no scenario.
Actors are paid to use their imaginations as a way to add depth to their characters. A similar commitment can improve employee communication by helping you get your message across and better understand other people’s needs.