Steps for the Activity
- Introduce the idea behind the exercise and divide the group up into smaller teams (one per character).
Give the group an overview of each of the characters. (Detailed pen portraits can be found in the attached slides.) We’ve included some here but feel free to tweak and change to make them more relevant to your group.
- ZAAAARGGG the alien: ZAAAARGGG is from the planet MEYRHFIWX. He has been monitoring radio transmissions from our planet for some time, so he has heard mention of Greenpeace, but he doesn’t understand what you do. ZAAAARGGG understands language and logic but not emotion.
- Snr Gomez the Judge: Snr Gomez has been a judge for 40 years. He isn’t very familiar with the modern world. Fashion, trends and technology are not something he know much about. He like facts that allow him to understand the heart of the issue. He is very quick to spot any nonsense and does not like dishonesty or manipulation. He would like to know exactly why he should believe the story you are telling and what makes it more appealing that the stories he’s always been told.
- Maria the 5 year old girl: Maria is 5 years old. She likes ponies, rabbits and dancing. She thinks boys are stupid and mean because her brother always steals her toys and ends up breaking them. When she grows up she wants to work with animals. Or be a pop star. Maria gets very excited when she’s happy, but she’s got a short attention span… She gets bored and distracted when people use long, complicated words or ideas.
- Valentina the Now Person: Valentina is 34 married to Alejandro, has 4 year old, Ana. She studied design in NYC, lives in Mexico City in La Condesa. She’s a designer and Innovation Officer for el Laboratorio para la Ciudad (an experimental gov’t office for urban creativity and innovation). Among her friends, she’s the one who: is looking for more creative and fun ways bring people together, whether it’s her friends & family, her team, or Mexico City’s inhabitants. She aspires to: be at the cutting edge in her field with her own consultancy; go to Italy with her family on holidays; get to yoga class more often.
In small groups, spend some time individually and then as a team, familiarising yourself with your character and the Greenpeace story map. Jot down what you think will resonate with your character and what you think will be less important. What sort of language will engage them? How much detail do they need? What analogies could you use? Share your thoughts with your group
Role play the story - choose one person to be the character and another person to be the storyteller. The rest of the group play the role of observers and listen and take notes about:
- What aspects of the story the teller emphasises
- What language works and doesn’t work?
- What is engaging/ not engaging?
On a flip chart write up your top 5 bits of feedback based on your experience. Teams then feed this back to the whole group
- Slides or handouts with character pen portraits
- Big sticky flip charts
- Markers and pens