Steps demonstrates how drama can help managers to handle difficult conversations

Steps Drama, the UK’s leading drama-based learning provider, will be running a practical, ‘how to’ conference session at HRD 2009, showing how managers can become better skilled at handling the difficult conversations involved in appraisals, performance management and career development.  The conference delegates will see emotions and behaviours brought to life as Steps tackles this complex and challenging issue.

Founded in 1992, Steps designs and delivers interactive workshops and learning programmes in which professional actor-facilitators depict recognisable characters in credible situations.  Steps programmes use drama to challenge people’s assumptions and encourage them to question their own behaviour and working relationships.

Three actor-facilitators from Steps will demonstrate this approach, on Tuesday 21 April, in an interactive presentation, called Handling Difficult Conversations, which will be chaired by Mike Emmott, the CIPD’s Employee Relations Adviser (Session Time: 3.30-4.45pm, Code: A12). 

“When they need to have a difficult conversation with a member of their team, some managers duck the issue, others blunder in tactlessly,” said Mark Shillabeer, Director of Steps Drama.  “The skills involved in handling a difficult conversation are the same whether you’re tackling annoying employee habits, managing poor performance or making someone redundant.  This session will help managers to improve their effectiveness and respond appropriately whenever a difficult situation arises.”

In the dramatic scenarios, the actor-facilitators will highlight issues around managing expectations, communication, giving feedback, dealing with different working styles and self management. 

“Trainers can find it a challenge to present interpersonal and communication issues in a way that feels relevant to people,” said Mark Shillabeer.  “Drama encourages discussion and debate about best practice and the delegates learn by challenging behaviours, contributing ideas and helping the characters work toward a successful resolution.”

On stand 443 at the show, the Steps team will explain how their innovative approach can be applied to meet individual and organisational training needs in areas such as managing in challenging times, performance management, diversity, customer service and restructuring.


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