Scenarios / Role Plays


Participants practice responding to different, real-world scenarios


  • Better understand scenarios that may arise in the workplace
  • Get ideas on how to optimally respond
  • Practice responding in a safe environment to better respond in real life
  • Since many men are interested in this kind of action-oriented activity, the event can bring in men who otherwise might not come to allyship events
  • Theory of Change

    • Scenarios encourage reflection on many different allyship concepts that can push people’s thinking forward
    • Learning about different situations and asking people to respond to them make people realize they’re real
    • By practicing these kinds of situations, people will be much much more likely to act in ideal ways (it's easy to get caught off guard and be frozen in shock with some of these situations)


    Costs and food

    Food and drink. Good timing for this event is after dinner so provide drinks and/or dessert.

    Target / likely audience

  • Mix of men and women
  • Likely a 50/50 split will attend. Men spanning the allyship spectrum can gain a lot from this event.
  • Location / Participation Size

    • Reserve a room big enough to accommodate multiple small groups having conversations at the same time.
    • Each small group should have max 6-7 people. The small groups ideally 

    A/V Needs

  • Audio ampliffication
  • Projector – can be pretty important for this kind of event so that everybody’s on the same page with the scenarios
  • Other resources needed

    • Handouts (e.g. flyers, postcards) that explain initiative basics (i.e. mission statement), how to join, event calendar (or next event), a quote about the initiative’s importance

    Roles and responsibilities

  • Program lead – Facilitate the agenda, run people through scenarios, facilitate large group debriefs. Should feel equipped to answer questions about best practices around the different scenarios.
  • Co-Facilitators – One male and one female. Run the session. Engage participants. 
  • Small group facilitator (optional) –If you have the volunteer capacity, consider having a facilitator for each small group. This allows for more in depth conversation with the scenarios.
  • Food logistics – Order food, ensure proper tableware (plates, cups, utensils, napkins, etc), ensure food delivery arrives to right location on time.
  • Photography, social media, and documentation – Take pictures during event. Document learnings to be shared out to larger audience.
  • Agenda / Program

  • Intro to make participants feel welcome; special attention to create nonjudgemental atmosphere for men
  • Explain how scenario / role play process works
  • Do role plays, with group debrief in between small group discussion
  • Closing and thank you
  • Tips / pitfalls

    • The right tone matters, especially for men. They'll probably be tentative about not wanting to "screw up" or get called out for not being "woke" enough. Give an intro about how nobody speaks perfectly, explaining that this is an opportunity to practice and get better.
    • Not all groups will actually do role playing without a group facilitator. Many will just discuss. That’s fine – people still get a lot out of it
    • Doing the scenarios and debriefs often takes longer than most people realize. Each scenario takes around 20 minutes.
    • There probably will be people in the audience, both men and women, who come off as a self-righteous or condescending. It’s important to both confirm that they're right, but also that these situations are tricky and it's understandable for others to not know exactly what to do. If one guy gets shot down or criticized for not being woke enough, you'll lose most of the male audience. They don’t want to embarrass themselves. When that happens they also stop practicing these skills and pushing their understanding further.


    2 months prior to event

    • Reserve room(s)
    • Begin recruiting co-facilitators (or Program lead can be one of the two facilitators)

    1 month prior

    • Being marketing event
    • Open RSVPs
    • Finalize scenarios

    2 weeks prior

    • Have rough guest list
    • See how many groups are necessary
    • Finalize volunteers/roles

    1 week prior

    • Update guest list

    1 day prior

    • Remind participants of logistics
    • Print one packet of scenarios per table
    • Print evaluations

    Event day prep time:

    • Bring all handouts
    • Make sure A/V equipment is working
    • Set up room for small groups to discuss and role play the scenarios.
    • Make sure person in charge of food knows how to collect the delivery and set everything up and that they have all eating materials required

    1 day after

    • Thank participants for showing up and send out questions and topics that arose during the event

    1 week after

    • Have links to articles and other resources that begin to answer some of the questions and topics that came up that went unanswered previously


    Subject: What if your manager started massaging your female coworker?

    [day] [date] 
    Please RSVP here: [Link]

    You will be in uncomfortable situations related to gender during your career. It is inevitable that you'll come across these scenarios – the only question is whether you'll be ready for them.

    They range from small awkward moments like when your boss keeps asking your female colleague to take notes and never you... to hearing a client talk about how hot your coworker is when she leaves the room and how he'd like to arrange a lunch with her... to learning that one of your supervisees keeps making sexual comments to the summer interns.

    These situations catch many people off guard – and that shock can leave you silent, only realizing too late what you would have wanted to say and do.

    Join us to discuss some real situations that people have been in, learn best practices for dealing with them, and practice how you'd respond.