What drama-based inclusion training can do for your workforce

At Inclusive Employers, we use a variety of methods and techniques to effect positive D&I change in the workplace. One of the most immersive is drama-based inclusion training. This may be an approach you haven’t heard about before or something you didn’t know we offered. Matheus Carvalho, one of our Senior Inclusion and Diversity Consultants, is here to explain what it is, why he’s passionate about it, and how impactful it can be.

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As some of my members know, before joining Inclusive Employers, I was a Learning and Development professional in the corporate media sector. Delivering engaging training solutions and programmes to employees of all levels has always been very close to my heart. Now, I also have the privilege of providing training on the subject I hold the closest: Inclusion & Diversity. It is always a great feeling when people come into a training room – whether physical or virtual – and leave feeling they have not only learned something but also been on a journey.

What you may not know is that I am also a big fan of cinema and the stage, especially the communal experience of watching or partaking in something with others. Like with the best training sessions, engaging with a work of fiction can be highly emotionally and intellectually stimulating – you laugh, you cry, you learn, and you may even expand your worldview as a result of it. And, as with the best training, hopefully, it will leave you with something to talk about and reflect on for days and maybe even years to come.

Considering that, for some of us, the experience of engaging in a highly immersive training session can generate a similar emotional reaction to engaging with a powerful work of fiction that encourages us to reflect on real experiences, why not bring both worlds together?

When learning, drama and inclusion come together

Having explained a little about myself, my excitement to be asked to lead on drama-based inclusion training when I joined Inclusive Employers shouldn’t come as a surprise. So what is drama-based training? Let’s look at the different components involved:

  1. Drama-based training is an interactive, instructor-led session led by an experienced Inclusive Employers facilitator, bringing in the right mixture of theory, lived experience, participation, and interaction. The first part of the training focuses on inclusion theory; this is the more ‘traditional’ element of the session and lays the foundations for what follows.
  2. To bring the content to life and allow delegates to react to and interact with a ‘real-life scenario’, two of our associate actors act out different scenes to the attentive eyes of the delegates. These scenes are designed to demonstrate the impact that exclusion and inclusion can have in the workplace. Written in partnership with our client, we ensure that we make these scenes as true to their work-life as possible: from exclusion in meetings to banter in the workplace and unconscious bias, we explore these issues and many more.
  3. After the scenes are acted out, delegates have the chance to interact with the characters and ask them questions, make suggestions of ways to behave differently and voice what they would have done instead. I cannot overstate how ‘into it’ so many of our delegates get as they truly transport themselves into those conversations – largely because of the immense energy and charisma that our partner actors such as Robyn and James bring to these sessions (thank you!).
  4. After the conversation about the scenes, the Inclusive Employers facilitator relates this to the inclusion theory that has already been introduced. We provide some tangible best practice and actions that delegates can take away with them to truly make a difference in their work environments.

The lightbulb moments

Speaking about my own personal experience of delivering these sessions, these have been some of my absolute favourites to deliver here at Inclusive Employers. Besides the energy and dynamism that comes with having the actors in the session, seeing how delegates engage with the characters and get involved in the debates and conversations makes me think that these are sessions they will not forget about any time soon.

As a facilitator, my favourite element is seeing the ‘lightbulb moments’ in delegates’ faces when they observe a scenario that they have seen or experienced themselves from a different perspective that allows them to engage and practice inclusion techniques and feedback in a safe environment.

My opinion should not be the only voice represented here. Here’s some feedback from one of our delegates after a recent drama-based session we held at Port of London Authority, one of our long-term members:

“The trainers are very natural and personable, with great energy and passion. It was very engaging and thought-provoking, without the feeling of just being a ‘tick box’ exercise.”

Port of London Authority

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about drama-based inclusion learning and how it can be delivered to your organisation, get in touch with your Inclusive Employers account manager.

If you are not a member, you get in touch with us via our quick enquiry form