We have stressed the advantages of role-playing in all forms of telephone training, but there is no point in denying that there are difficulties which must be overcome if you are to get the full benefit.
Many trainers avoid using role-plays. Some have had bad experiences in using them; others have heard of the problems and prefer not to run the risks.
These attitudes are understandable, but the common problems discussed below should not deter you from trying role-playing, because they can be solved.
Lack of Control
“You can’t predict the outcome of a role-play; it’s out of the trainer’s control.”
True up to a point. The right techniques in introducing and using role-plays will help to reduce the unpredictability, but you can never do away with uncertainty when two people are talking to each other, however well briefed they are. However, we see this as one of the strengths of role-play. The variety of outcomes between different pairs gives a tremendous opportunity for learning when the experiences are shared in analysis and discussion.