Feel free to use this provocative exercise which asks diverse stakeholder groups to impersonate each other to demonstrate an understanding of each other’s interests. We use this often at PDSA Consulting to break through seeming impasses in collaborative problem solving / negotiations. Each takes a pride in demonstrating a deep understanding of each other’s worlds. This works well with one group representing another group. It also works well with one individual standing up to represent a broader group. We suggest they stand and deliver their responses to those they are pretending to be. After they read through their responses. The person or group being impersonated gets to ask additional questions and they determine when the impersonator gets to sit down. Then it is their turn to represent the other.
Exercise Instructions (It is helpful to print these out as a worksheet with sufficient space to hold responses):
Take 5-7 minutes to prepare answers to the following questions from the perspective of the persons/group that you will be speaking for. When you are ready, you and your team members will go to the front of the room and begin to speak as if you were the other using these answers as a guide. You will field questions from the group you are representing and must answer to their satisfaction before you sit down.
Who are you?
What matters to you most? Why?
What are you most concerned (worried/fearful) about in general?
When are you happiest?
What kind of support do you need from your peers?
What kind of support do you need from the “Other?”
How do members of the “Other” see you? What do they appreciate/resent about you?