Real engagement in a virtual environment: Training soft skills online

University and professional training courses are fostering soft skills more and more (Charoensap-Kelly et al.2016). Drama has proven to be a powerful tool for that. However, what happened when lockdowns forced workshops to move online? Can performative training be as effective online?
Countless performers and performative trainers were forced to stop working or reinvent themselves to find a way to apply their training techniques and performances online (s. ITI Newsletters with interesting suggestions, and personal training experience with my local theatre association in Padua, Cambiscena).
This workshop is based on a recent training experience for an Interactive Learning Laboratory to train export managers – ALL EM – organised by SELISI (School of Economics, Languages and Entrepreneurships, Campus Treviso, Ca’ Foscari University), fully carried out online. In my module regarding soft skills “Competenze trasversali attraverso il teatro d’impresa” I adapted improvisation exercises to a virtual environment, working on team building, creativity, flexibility, critical thinking, and other soft skills of an Export Manager.
In the workshop participants will experiment and play with some of the exercises used during the workshop, and there will be an opportunity to share ideas on how to adapt them to different training contexts and situations.

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Serena Cecco is an interpreters’ trainer, interpreter and translator, and language consultant. She has been a lecturer of dialogue interpreting (English-Italian) at Ca’ Foscari University, Campus Treviso since 2012. She is interested in exploring innovative training methods, with a special focus on performative teaching. Recently, she has designed and carried out a soft skills workshop for an Active Learning Laboratory to train Export Mangers, which will form the basis of this workshop. She has been an improviser since 2010.