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How To Role-Play Scenarios for Better Business Conversations

Read Time: 10 mins

Role play scenarios can help you get ready for tough tasks in business. This is a powerful technique to address nearly every question and task.

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How do you roleplay, and what is it used for? It's a powerful preparation tool you'll learn in this tutorial. (Graphic source: Envato Elements.)

Preparing for a tough negotiation? Planning a sales call on a potential client? Getting ready for an interview?

These are critical tasks in business, and they can often be stressful. Your best option is to use role play scenarios to get ready.

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to apply role play to business cases. By embracing these tips and tricks, your business can successfully role play scenarios. These help you succeed by preparing you and your team for any eventuality. 

What Is Role Play? (And Why Should You Use Them in Business?)

What is role play in business? In essence, it’s a technique to rehearse and prepare for tough scenarios. Role play scenarios involve enlisting colleagues or others to act out roles. With roleplay, you can work through potential outcomes and tailor your potential responses. 

When you think of how to roleplay, also consider the “why.” It’s a risk-free way to polish and refine your message, while preparing for the unexpected. Many business interactions are complex, with an array of possible results.

Using roleplay, you can factor in every possible outcome in your preparation. Once you identify each outcome, you can prepare a response. This helps you offer a smooth, thoughtful response when confronted with any reaction. 

Consider real-world situations where roleplay could help:

  • Imagine that you’re meeting with a huge potential customer next week, trying to close a deal. But you know that they buy from a competitor with lower prices. If you don’t prepare in advance, the odds for making a sale aren’t very good. With roleplay, you can scope out potential pushback, and ready responses to make your case.
  • Imagine that you’re interviewing a pool of candidates for an important role. You might be expected to review resumes in moments and ask thoughtful questions. With roleplay, a colleague could create “mock” resumes using something like this resume template from Envato Elements. Here, you could review resumes, and practice asking questions based on what you’ve read.
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Use a resume with a mock hiring manager (like a friend) for a successful roleplay. (Template source: Envato Elements, mockup via Placeit.)

Role play scenarios are almost limitless. And they serve two key purposes:

  1. planning
  2. preparation.

By planning for any outcome in a conversation, you can tailor a message to cover each eventuality. Once this is done, you can prepare you and your team by practicing the delivery of those messages. 

Roleplay helps enable a more agile, robust response to challenges and questions. It helps you become (and appear) well-prepared and comfortable. This enables you to present your case from a position of easy strength. If you’re prepared for tough conversations, you’re less likely to fall onto the defensive. 

Roleplay helps you become well-prepared and comfortable. This enables you to present your case from a position of easy strength.

When you speak from a strong position, you’re more likely to succeed in your goal. This may be hiring the right candidate through a careful interview process. It may be closing a sale with a new client, defending against challenges on price. Or it may be in salary negotiations with a current employee.

No matter the circumstances, role play scenarios help you prepare and succeed. 

How to Prepare for a Business-Case Role Play

We’ve answered the question, “what is role play?” We’ve seen how useful role play scenarios are to help you succeed in business. But you may be wondering how to roleplay. Fortunately, it’s very easy.

Setting up a roleplay scenario takes only a few quick steps. And it sets you up for ultimate success. Let's walk through creating a roleplay of your own:

1. Choose a Roleplay Prep Tool

How do you roleplay? Before diving in, it’s important to choose a tool to organize your plan with. A good idea is to use a PowerPoint slide deck. These are easy to use and built for sharing with your team.

By nature, roleplay isn’t a solo exercise. So, it’s helpful to use a tool that’s easy to share with others. In this example, we’ll use the Minimal Pitch Deck Presentation from Envato Elements to organize our roleplay scenario. It includes a variety of business-themed slides that you can edit.

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You can use the Minimal Pitch Deck PowerPoint template to outline your role play scenarios.

2. Assess the Situation

To begin, you’ll need to begin noting the circumstances of your situation. Here, let’s imagine the scenario is a sales conference with a potential new customer. Knowledge of the situation is the firm foundation upon which your roleplay will be built.

Next, you’ll need to identify all stakeholders in the event. If you’re roleplaying for a sales meeting, you’ll need to assign actors to portray all key players. Of course, you’ll be yourself. Key members of your team may also play their real-world roles.

But successful role play scenarios also need actors for those on the other side of the table. In a sales negotiation like this, you may know that you’ll be working with three members of the client team.

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Identify your team and the roles that they'll play, and share this with your entire group.

That means you’ll need three colleagues to depict those three members. Assign roles to each one and share them on slide #7 of the slide template. List each person’s “name” and “role” in the roleplay. This is how to start a roleplay, assigning your team to their individual roles. 

3. Map Out the Potential Questions

Now, pause from working in PowerPoint to step back and think. You need to identify every outcome. This involves planning for each eventuality that might occur in the actual situation. In the case of sales:

  • Your pitch might be enthusiastically received.
  • Your pitch might be challenged.
  • Your pitch might even be rejected.

Each of these outcomes - and any potential others - should be identified and listed like this. Consider who would originate each idea, whether it’s your team or those on the other side of the negotiation. Assign roles to the roleplay team to ensure each of these outcomes is raised and rehearsed. 

4. Develop Your Responses

Finally, you’ll need to develop your responses. With every outcome identified, you must craft a response. In many cases, this is a trial-and-error process.

Allow the team members to put you on the spot, challenging your words, actions, and assumptions. Only through this repetition can you succeed. As you refine your answers and reactions, list them out for review. In essence, you’re building a “study guide” to prepare for the event. 

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Map out scenarios and responses to demonstrate how to roleplay.

Now that you know how to roleplay, you can see the tremendous value it offers your business. It’s a simple, direct way to plan for success. You can avoid surprises and ensure you've got ready, strong answers for any circumstance. 

5 Top Tips for How to Start a Role-play Training Session in Your Business

We’ve answered the common question: “how do you roleplay?” Essentially, you act out scenarios that you’ve identified. These scenarios are those deemed likely to arise in a real-world business situation. In doing so, you rehearse and refine your responses so that you’re well-prepared.

But sometimes, it’s tough to know how to start a roleplay. You may encounter questions and resistance from your own team! This is normal, and you can work through it. Let’s learn how to jumpstart roleplaying in your company to drive success:

1. Teach the Value of Roleplay

Role play scenarios are incredibly useful. But your team may not have experience with them. To begin using this approach in your business, you must communicate how valuable it is.

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Use a group discussion and implement these roleplay tips to prepare for any scenario. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Research successful roleplay outcomes and share them with your team. Explain how roleplaying is more than just a theory. It’s a helpful tool that'll benefit each person in a direct way.

2. Start With an Easy Example

Start with an easy example. Roleplaying is valuable, but not always easy. Many people will be nervous, like those playing roles outside of their usual scope of work. To help with adoption, begin with an easy example.

Don’t wait until a critical project emerges to start roleplaying. Choose an easy (even hypothetical) scenario, and help your team get up to speed. By starting off slow and simple, you and your team will be ready to roleplay high-stakes scenarios.

3. Drive Involvement

Role play scenarios require a broad team. Involving more people gives them a sense of contribution to your project. Plus, your roleplay will benefit from a wide range of perspectives.

After all, it’s almost impossible to think of every outcome by yourself. The more people you've got involved, the wider and more robust your planning will be.

Learn more about kicking off conversation with this tutorial:

4. Recap and Refine

Seldom will a first attempt at role playing scenarios be completely successful. That’s okay! The key is to learn, recap, and refine. When your team finishes a first roleplay training session, gather to share thoughts.

Capture what went well and learn how to repeat it. Focus on shortcomings and errors and learn to overcome them. This strengthens the process while recognizing all team members for their contributions. Learn more about how to take feedback (and give it!) below:

Roleplay is one of the best planning tools in business today. Start using it now to succeed in 2022!

The Best Source for Roleplay Resources (With Unlimited Downloads)

Envato Elements is the best place to source everything you need while running your business. It offers great templates that you've already seen in this tutorial that boost your role play scenarios.

Envato Elements homepageEnvato Elements homepageEnvato Elements homepage
Download unlimited creative resources, perfect for role play exercises, all for one flat rate.

Your role play scenarios will vary based on case. Luckily, Elements all-you-can-download package gives you everything you need. Whether that's a presentation template, resume, web template, or something else - you'll never increase your costs. It's all included for the single flat rate.

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Leverage resume templates as a starting point for your role play scenarios.

No matter what type of template you need for your roleplay, Elements has you covered. The flat rate model is impossible to match so that your costs never increase while preparing for the future. You can grab mockup templates that'll assist you while you practice scenarios.

Need these types of templates but don't want a subscription? No problem! We've got you covered with another great service, GraphicRiver. This pay-as-you-go service also includes resume print templates, for example. Use it to grab every template design you need!

You Just Learned How to Start a Roleplay

What is role play? Now you know: it's the secret to anticipate questions in high pressure situations. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for a big moment. By going through this process, you'll put your responses top of mind.

Here's a challenge: it's time to try out role play scenarios of your own. Think of a big situation that you're set to tackle, then apply roleplay to it. Grab a few friends or co-workers and show them how to start a roleplay that prepares you perfectly.

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