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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – If a picture is worth a thousand words imagine what a group of actors can accomplish. Enter TeamAct, a business theater company with branches in eight countries including a new office in New York City. TeamAct incorporates live theater, improv comedy and audience participation into corporate communications and training presentations literally bringing the message or session to life. “We see theatre as a corporate communications tool to entertain, inform and train,” said TeamAct Managing Director Sebastian Dungan. “And in order for it to work, we like to create sketches by doing research into what daily life is like. So what they see on stage reflects their own day-to-day challenges and their victories with some humor added to it. The result is increased retention of key messages, company loyalty and stronger teams.” Christian Poissoneau founded theatre a la Carte in 1984 in Montreal Canada based on the belief that every company has a story to share. “What the live theater does is help create an environment that values creativity and rewards communication,” said Dungan. “By turning a message about the importance of good customer service into a skit people recognize a little bit of themselves or their colleagues on stage and it becomes easier for them to change their behavior or see certain principles that are talked about really brought to life.” The company offerings run the gamut from product launches and communication skills training, to seminars on diversity or harassment and holiday parties/award presentations. Recently TeamAct worked with United Nations Federal Credit Union, New York City, to launch its newly refurbished learning and development center and spice up the sales and service award ceremony. Each UNFCU employee participates in a five-week service training program that emphasizes providing excellent service to both internal and external members. First staffers engage in a self-study prior to working with their coaches, usually their managers in one-on-one sessions that include role-plays tailored to an individual employee’s position. At the end of the program employees are videotaped providing service in specific situations and on viewing the tape, they are encouraged to assess their own skills and identify areas in need of further development. Throughout the year employees send “ServiceGrams” to one another as a means of expressing thanks for “going the extra mile” in service to members or colleagues. When a certain number of ServiceGrams are collected, employees then have the chance to spin the ServiceGram “Wheel of Fortune” for prizes. “The Service Plus program has been going for six years and because we all go through it there is a certain camaraderie between us and we treat each other with the same respect we have for our members,” said UNFCU HR Generalist Lynne Healey. “This year we wanted to boost morale at our awards ceremony and get everyone even more excited about the opening of our new state-of-the-art learning and development center which comes complete with a revamped audiovisual capability including a new sound, lighting, video and projection system.” TeamAct interviewed different sets of employees about their position and covered such topics as how they felt about being videotaped, the launch of the training center, any fears or concerns about how the center would be used and their experiences during service training. “We then incorporated all those elements into the sketches so we could really give them a voice while highlighting how great the service environment and the new center are at UNFCU,” said Dungan. According to Healey, not only did this event attract a huge employee turnout, but the entire room was filled with laughter from the first few seconds of the performance. “I couldn’t believe how Team Act picked up on all the details of our service culture,” said Healey. “Everyone had a great time. It is sometimes difficult to find humor in something serious but we were all able to look at our day-to-day experiences and just laugh.” [email protected]

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