Organizational Development Consultant

Nineteen Techniques to Gather Information: #8 Skits

June 19, 2014

“We are constantly trying to maximize the efforts of our organization. But it’s difficult to know how to help work teams without knowing exactly what they do or the problems they face. How can I lead work groups to share this kind of information without being boring?”

#8 Skits

What are Skits?

Skits allow groups to share information about their responsibilities and work situation with other groups in their organization. In this way they can help others better understand the reality of their situation.

Skits use the power of example to illustrate a position, depict a problem, or illuminate a typical work situation. In addition to being a fun and creative group exercise, Skits can be an extremely effective technique that exposes emotional, difficult, and frustrating work situations in memorable, profound, and powerful ways. Skits can also be used in many other ways such as to celebrate the end of a project or as an alternative to presentations in a large conference.

When Do I Use SKITS?

  • When it is important to share job information with other departments
  • When you want to illustrate a feeling or point that is not well explained in words alone
  • When you want to get a point across in an interesting, memorable way

How Do I Use Skits?

1. Ask participants from each group represented in the meeting to create a Skit that describes what it is like to work in their department. Include as much information as possible, such as the atmosphere, roles, responsibilities, as well as frustrations they might feel.

a. Have each group first agree on the key points they would like to make in their Skit.

b. Next ask them to plan the best way to portray those points in their Skits. This information is best presented on a chart, as in the example below.

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In addition, establish clear groundrules for the exercise by posting a chart as illustrated below.

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c. Allow approximately twenty to thirty minutes for preparation.

NOTE:  To begin, it is a good idea to allow twenty minutes for the preparation. About fifteen minutes into the exercise, ask each group how they are doing and allow them to negotiate for more time if necessary.

OPTION: Groups could come to the meeting already prepared to do this.

2. Have each group present their Skits.

3. Debrief the Skits. The debriefing exercise should take place in small intact work groups. Use the same debrief questions for each Skit, as shown below. The group who presented the Skit does not debrief their own Skit.

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4. Have each group report back the summary of their discussions.

NOTE: If you have more than one group debriefing the same Skit, have each of those groups share their debrief for that same Skit before moving on to debrief other Skits.

5. Ask each group to take up to twenty minutes to create an action plan based on the information contained in their summaries. You might introduce this section by asking, for example, “What can your department/you do to improve communication and diminish the frustrations you observed in this skit?” Their action plan should be typed and distributed as soon as possible after the meeting.

6. Ask the group to define when and how to best follow up. Take responsibility to make sure that the follow-up does occur in the manner and time frame that the group agrees to.

In Summary:

Skits is a technique for sharing information across departments or groups. It is especially effective at educating people or groups about another group’s roles and responsibilities, and describing frustrations in working effectively with those groups or individuals.

1. Introduce Skits and ask each group that is represented to create and prepare a Skit that describes what it is like to work in their department.

2. Have each group present its Skit.

3. Debrief the Skits in small groups.

4. Report back a summary of all discussions.

5. Ask groups to create an action plan for improvement. Distribute agreements to pertinent other groups.

6. Ask the group how and when is best to follow up on their actions. Follow up as appropriate.

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