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The Role Of Role Playing

In our last blog, we told the story on storytelling. We discussed finding the right yarn and offered tips on telling your tall tale well. 14 Hear the story.]

Today, we’ll discuss how to use role playing, both professionally and personally.

We’re not pretending to be the have all and be all of role play discussions here. We’re talking about a specific use of it. So let’s define what we mean when we say role play:

Practicing human interaction before you actually do it.

Rehearsing in your mirror is better than nothing, but it’s not role playing. With role playing, you’re going to have a mentor, a peer, or a buddy. When done right, it’s a much richer experience than simply rehearsing.

Practice makes perfect.
Imagine an athlete who never practiced. Or an actor who never rehearsed. Would you expect them to rise to the top of their profession?

So why do we think it’s any different for us? It’s not. By role playing, you’ll enter situations with more confidence, because you’ve been there before. You’ll face less stress and perform better. You’ve made the unfamiliar familiar.

Simulate the situation.
Create the exact same environment. Come as close as you possibly can to setting up the same circumstances you will face in the actual situation. This really needs to be done with you and another person face-to-face. You can role play over the phone (especially a phone call), but it’s much better in person. Let’s look at some examples of situations that you might want to role play.

Annual review / ask for a raise
Are you going to be sitting or standing? How about your boss? Most likely, you’ll both be seated around a desk. So when you role play, sit around a desk (or something you can pretend is a desk).

Sales call
You’ll probably be standing, at least at first. Practice your greeting while standing. Practice down to the handshake. You want a handshake Goldilocks would like – not too hard, not too soft.

Service call at homeowner’s residence
Practice ringing the door bell. What if the door bell doesn’t work? Practice knocking. Where will you stand as the homeowner opens the door? What will you say?

You can use these same techniques personally. For example, if you’re a parent, you may want to role play an important conversation with one of your kids. Personally or professionally, role playing is a great preparation method. Practice it, then do it.

Our quote today is by the great tennis player, Arthur Ashe.

“One important key to success is self-confidence.
An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

Willingness to prepare helps you succeed. Role play your way to a great day.

Tomorrow’s the day before Thanksgiving here in the U.S. So we’re going to talk about ‘taters. We’ll ask, “What kind of ‘tater are you?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Review: Geek Gap

By Bigg Success Staff
November, 25 2007

Bigg Book Review

The Geek Gap: Why Business And Technology Professionals Don’t Understand Each Other And Why They Need Each Other to Survive

Book by Bill Pfleging and Minda Zetlin 

Technology and business pros (“geeks” and “suits”, respectively, in this book) often find working together to be a challenge. Bill Pfleging, self-proclaimed geek, and Minda Zetlin, representing the suits, have written this insightful book to help you understand the other side.

As the use of technology continues to proliferate, you’ll find that knowing how to close the gap between the two worlds is a critical skill.

First, seek to understand
In this book, you’ll find a specific example of Steven Covey’s general principle – “seek first to understand” – as discussed in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The authors assert that geeks like to solve problems, while suits rely on influencing people. Through numerous examples, you’ll come to understand the other side, so they can understand you.

Then, learn to value
Suits view technology as a tool to accomplish their goals; geeks see technology as a “living, breathing thing.” These diverse points-of-view strengthen your organization.

Whether you’re a geek or a suit, you’ll find practical suggestions to help you learn to value the complementary skill sets of your co-workers. That’s a skill that will help you advance in your career.

Final note
While this book reports to be about geeks and suits, it’s really a book about working with people who think differently than you. If you want to improve your ability to communicate with others, we think you’ll find this book useful.

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Work Life Teeter-Totter

By Bigg Success Staff
November, 25 2007

teeter-totter

Work-Life Balance 

There’s a fantastic article by Stephanie N. Mehta with Fortune magazine. It’s entitled Confessions of a CEO, but it’s less CEO, more confession about one man’s dilemma to balance work and life.

The subject is Dominic Orr, who’s generally regarded as a very successful CEO. We admire Mr. Orr for sharing some of the difficulties he faced as he tried to become a complete man.

We also applaud Ms. Mehta for this piece. We’ll hit some highlights here, but you should check out the full article to gain insight from a person who has, and still is, struggling to strike the proper balance.

We refer to a teeter-totter, in the title to our article, because it seems we often are up on one side of the equation while being down on the other. This is evidenced by a common problem faced by many of us today.

When you’re home, do you ever find yourself catching up on all the work you didn’t get done that day? At work, do you find challenges from home spilling into your day? So what lessons can we learn from Mr. Orr?

Organize your day. One solution Mr. Orr discovered was to work different hours. He didn’t work less; instead, he organized his day so he could spend time with his kids when they were available.

Define success properly. Mr. Orr felt constant pressure to not screw anything up. That’s a tough standard to uphold. You should allow yourself to be human. Humans aren’t perfect. For a realistic standard, see 7 four things you must do to insure success.]

Do the right things right. First, determine what the right things to do are. In other words, 8 visualize the future you want.] Then, you can do the right things right. If it involves things, focus on efficiency. Find the shortest path to get your project completed. If it involves people, focus on effectiveness. Connect with the person you’re trying to reach. Mr. Orr’s vision was to die a complete man. This meant changing his ways.

Use balance to your advantage. Mr. Orr’s management style has changed as part of his journey. He’s more rounded now. That comes into play at work and home. Find ways to use lessons learned in one world to benefit the other. Now you’re using your balance to your advantage. Let your balance drive your success, rather than detract from it.

Get the cat out of the cradle. Note how Mr. Orr used the only model of parenthood he knew. What kind of a model are you setting for your kids? You’re creating your granchildrens’ childhoods now. Are you happy with how they’ll grow up?

Work your teeter-totter. Mr. Orr took time away from work after selling his business. He focused on his children. He tried going back to work and still found it difficult to balance his career and family. Make the teeter-totter your friend. Accept the fact that at times your work will be up, family down. Then make it reverse. Work the teeter-totter, don’t let it work you.

A balanced life is one of the most difficult challenges we face today. Following these tips will help you work toward a more balanced life. It’s a process. Take baby steps, but be sure you take at least one today.

(Image of teeter-totter by mayr, CC 2.0)

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