Why use roleplay?
Let's take empathy as an example. We often read about how it's an invaluable tool in a manager's arsenal, how it can improve results, motivation and engagement. And of course it can. But knowing about it and putting it into practice are not the same. What might it sound like? How does it FEEL to try it out? What behavioural indicators tell me if it's having the intended result? Very rarely do I see the specifics of the behaviours discussed so that they become actionable.
Just because we read about how to drive a car doesn't mean we can then sit in the driver's seat and drive away with any degree of competence. The same applies to almost any skill at work. They need PRACTICE. Only practice can help you get used to using these skills, feeling them as you use them. It should be an essential part of any Management, Talent and Leadership Development Program.
That's why roleplay is so invaluable and why I'm so passionate about using it within training programs. It might be more comfortable to listen to a speaker describe how to use certain skills, but it will never be as useful as actually trying it. I would ask, can you afford not to practise?