Activity 7 47
Activity 7
Totally Professional
This activity starts with a general discussion of what makes someone appear “totally
professional.” The participants then take part in short role plays (working in groups
of three) and give each other constructive feedback before a final discussion is led
by the trainer.
Target Group
Less experienced support staff who are still “growing” within their roles.
To increase participants’ sense of professionalism
To strengthen other people’s (colleagues’ and customers’) perceptions of the
professionalism of support staff
To build the confidence to contribute as an equal within the department
Number of Participants
6 to 12 (the total number of participants must be divisible by three for the role plays)
60 minutes
Flipchart and markers
Paper and pens for each participant
Copies of Worksheets 7-1 and 7-2 for each participant
1. Read through the worksheets and make sure that you are familiar with their
2. Ensure that the venue is large enough for participants to work in groups of three
without getting in each other’s way.
48 50 Training Activities for Administrative, Secretarial, and Support Staff
Activity 7 (continued)
1. Write a heading on the flipchart “Visible Signs of Professionalism.” Then ask the
participants to tell you what they consider these to be and list their suggestions
on the flipchart. If the following points are not volunteered, lead a discussion to
highlight them and add them to the list:
Neat hair
Clean nails and shoes
Appropriate attire (ask for examples of what this might be)
Organized work area
Few personal items on display by the desk
No one eating at their desk
No chewing gum
No smoking
2. On another sheet of flipchart paper, write the heading “Audible Signs of Profes-
sionalism.” Lead a similar discussion, making sure the following points are
Prompt telephone answering (within three rings if possible)
Clear, pleasant speech (in person and on the telephone)
First and last names given in face-to-face introductions and over the
Positive speech, for example:
Not… Instead…
“I can’t help you.” “My colleague (give name) will be
able to help you with that.”
“I don’t know.” “I will find out and call you back by
(a definite time).”
“I don’t know where he or she is.” “He or she is not available at the
moment. Can I help you?”
3. Explain to the participants that you will be asking them to do short role plays in
groups of three. Each participant will take a turn playing each of three roles:
A. Department representative
B. Visitor or telephone caller
C. Observer
When playing roles B and C, participants will need to give constructive feed-
back to role-player A on how professional he/she looked and sounded.
*This is a key element in sounding professional. Most managers will give both their names and, if support
staff do likewise, it makes them appear both confident and more responsible.
Activity 7 49
Activity 7 (continued)
4. Distribute Worksheet 7-1 and discuss it with participants, ensuring that every-
one understands. Explain that points made should be helpful in the workplace
as well as in this training session.
5. Distribute Worksheet 7-2 and then select groups of three for the role plays.
(You might want to refer to the Introduction, page viii, for ideas on how to do
6. Allow a total of 40 minutes (maximum) for the role plays. While the role plays
are in progress, observe each group silently, in turn, for a few minutes. Look for
behaviors that you feel are either excellent examples of professional behavior
or poor examples. Note these for the final discussion session.
7. Reconvene the whole group and lead a discussion on what has been learned.
Start this by asking the participants to volunteer any useful feedback that they
received after they had played the role of person A, the Department Represen-
8. Close the activity by reminding the participants of the key points of professional
behavior that were listed on the flipchart at the beginning of the activity.

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