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Role-Play Exercise

Role-Play Exercise

Since personality types are keyed to problems in collaboration (Myers & Larson, 2005), this activity helps students begin to examine roadblocks personality types create, to think about strategies to deal with varying personalities, and to prepare students to handle issues on their team project.

By this time in the term, teams have been formed for the large project. In guided role-play, each team is assigned a specific personality type that they must act out for the class. I get the personality types and strategies for handling that personality type from an article they were assigned to read. One member of the student team will play the problem personality type. The other team members will then act out communication strategies to temper the personality type. For example, the student who must portray the slacker personality type may start his role play by slouching in the chair, staring off into space, and answering inquiries by his team mates with “whatever” or “sure.” The other teams have to guess what the problem personality type is.

After they warm up with the guided role-play, they move on to free-form role play. From a hat, each team draws another personality type. The free-from personality types are ones that I have created based on years of workplace and classroom experience. The free-form personality types are more complex figures (e.g. the nitpicker, where the person only focuses on the picky details) that require the students to get rather creative in their communication strategies. An alternate method is to assign two or three teams guided role-plays and the remaining teams, free-form role play.

While students may be tentative at first, this is normally a fun exercise that generates a lively and useful discussion. An alternate method is to assign two or three teams guided role-plays and the remaining teams, free-form role play.

Personality type doc                  Personality type pdf

Role-Play Exercise doc             Role-Play Exercise pdf


Myers, L. & R. S. Larson. (2005). Preparing students for early work conflicts. Business Communication Quarterly, 68, 306-317.

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