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James Quinn

GRASP. Learning & Development

Learning & OD Consultant

Read more from James Quinn

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Verbal Communication Exercises?


7 Responses

  1. Could you give us a bit more of a clue…

    …of what you are trying to achieve?


    Thanks! 🙂


    Julie Cooper  Spring Development

    Author of The One to One Toolkit

  2. Hi Julie

    I’m just trying to find an exercise (ideally that isn’t straight roleplay) around how to use mirroring of pace/pitch/tone or how to use sensory enriched language.

    In fact, any verbal rapport building exercise would be handy.

    I’d like to get our call centre operatives to understand exactly how using the tone of their voice can make an impact.


  3. A few ideas

    Something that worked brilliantly for me was hiring a drama student from the local college (although I already knew he was talented and so would be impressive enough!) The problem with role play is that you don’t have control over the outcome. Hiring an actor you can prime to respond in different ways was really useful. (A student is cheap and grateful of the experience!)

    Other approaches – a form of role play where several people play one character, so that they can observe each other and hand over to colleagues when they want to adds a new dimension. I can email you the rules of how it works if it helps.

    I’ve also passed a dictaphone round the room asking everyone to say the same thing into it, however they like, so that we can play it back and discuss tone, impact etc.

    I know you want alternatives to role play but…I recently had a similar challenge with call centre staff and I gave them quite detailed case studies. They had to play the part of the customer, and were really encouraged to think what it was like to be in the customers shoes. The scenarios contained all kinds of stresses, health problems, difficult life situations which really made them think about what they were doing.


    Julie Cooper Spring Development

    Author of The One to One Toolkit

  4. Hi James

    Have emailed a couple of things over. Hope they help! 🙂


    Julie Cooper Spring Development

    Author of The One to One Toolkit

  5. Developing awareness

     One thing you can do to help people separate the "music" from the words is to play videos of foreign language speakers and get the participants to describe the tone of voice of the speakers and what meaning they derive from that. Try doing this in  a dissacociated and associated (ie how would you feel if this person was talking to you?) style. This will help build awareness of the impact of voice tone before they practice it themselves.

    In the practice, start with very obvious examples, like getting people to say "I am really excited" in a dull, monotone voice. It seems a bit frivolous but it does get people tuned into the right wavelengths, and can be a good icebreaker. Most of our reactions to voice tone areunconscious, so they will need help bringing this to their conscious minds.


  6. Verbal Communications exercise

     I would suggest to watch the film Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. In it Judi Dench gives a training session to someone working in a call centre. It is invaluable.  

Author Profile Picture
James Quinn

Learning & OD Consultant

Read more from James Quinn

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