That’s where theatre and art-based method has made its mark, because it’s engaging, no-nonsense and practical. It’s been proven research after research.
“Arts-based training is part of overall strategy and commitment of McGraw Hill to help surface creativity,” said Terry McGraw, former chairman and CEO of McGraw-Hill Companies. In India, according to reports, the corporate training industry is worth close to $1 billion and there is a ‘drama-tic’ yet silent revolution happening among corporates called ‘theatre and art-based behavioural training’. This methodology, which started as being used for ‘employee engagement’ in corporates in the late 1980s, grew to fight ‘death by ppt’ in 1990s and in 2000s is being embraced as a powerful training methodology. Organisations like Accenture, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, GSK, Vedanta, Vodafone, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Finance have embraced this methodology across areas like productivity in sales, managerial competency trainings, diversity and inclusion , leadership development, and it is delivering results. So, how does it work? While everyone would agree that .ppt-based training is the foremost method among corporates , it’s termed boring, sleep inducing and even called ‘death by .ppt’.
That’s where theatre and art-based method has made its mark, because it’s engaging, no-nonsense and practical. It’s been proven research after research. You remember 10% of what you read, 50% of what you hear and see, and 90% of what you do and experience. Think cooking, cricket, public speaking—you learn best by doing, not through .ppt, or books or e-learning and TEDx Talks. The world of theatre and arts has a lot to offer to corporates. There’s a lot common between the world of performing arts and business, such as goal setting, prioritisation, teamwork, trust, empathy, vision, delivery, deadline, finance, people management and performance.
For example, ‘corporate storytelling’ techniques help sales team pitch more effectively; ‘forum’ interactive theatre helps align leaders resolve conflict, and art-based simulation helps understand concepts like ‘urgent importance matrix’. Theatre and arts provide a safe and creative means of collaborative learning. Add to that dance, visual arts, music, gamification, simulations and activities, and we have a methodology that is highly valued in today’s competitive corporate world. The growth of art-based training companies in India is itself a testimony to this trend. These theatre-based training companies work with corporates on unique agendas. For example, Cisco uses theatre for induction, Reckitt Benckiser for diversity and inclusion, Accenture for team building, Viacom18 for organisation values, Bharat Matrimony for customer service, PlasmaGen for sales, Vodafone for performance appraisal, and so on.
By: Sunil Vishnu K
The author is co-founder of Training Sideways, the art and theatre-based corporate training company