Practising “I-speech” through Role Play

Exercise description

Participants are divided into four groups (of four or five participants). They have 10 minutes to come up with a short conflict role play. It would be best to do something from personal experience – a situation

where they were bothered by the manner of communication.

Step 1 – Everyone goes back to the plenary and the first group does their role play.

Step 2 – Brief discussion in the plenary: What did you not like in the role play?

Step 3Switch-around. Invite the people who watched the role play to think about whose role they could take on and try to use a new way of communicating to change the role play. If only one or two roles communicate in an unpleasant or conflictual way, do not change those roles in the beginning.

Step 4Evaluation of switch-around: What changed in the attitude of the persons involved? What did the observers notice? How did a change in behaviour affect the person whose communication was unpleasant? What was it like for the others in the role play?

Then the next group does their role play and steps 1 through 4 are repeated until all groups have had their turn.

Type of exercise:


90-180 min


Each role play can be changed a number of times, depending on the time available and the effectiveness of the modifications. The recommended duration of the exercise foresees about 25 minutes for each role play group.

If a theoretical introduction to “I-speech” was not done before this exercise, it can be done now if you think the switch-arounds are not going well, or it can be at the end of the exercise.

Possible difficulties:

Related Workshops:

Nonviolent communication

Workshop example:

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