8/100 Things – Try role playing to train and perfect

Most people say they hate role playing. But it can be really helpful.

I spent this morning rehearsing interview questions with a few board members and staff of one of my clients. This small nonprofit came to me looking for help building its board. In that initial discussion, it became clear to me that the organization was running a few programs but was pretty unclear as to how relevant and valuable it was to the community it had traditionally served.

Board members agreed to get out and interview about 20 community members face to face over the next month or so. As we talked about who they might interview, I was impressed by their connections within their community … and curious as to when they had stopped having ongoing conversations with all of these people.  Unfortunately, I no longer find this unusual among groups that come seeking my help.

So we practiced interviewing each other to test our questions. This helped us structure a nice flow as well as highlighting missing questions or confusing ones.

AND, even though this was just practice with each other, I think we learned a lot about the two people who were interviewed this morning… and a lot about each other’s perceptions of the community and their own organization’s role in it. Just by role playing.

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