Any activity that occurs with a group of people obviously has an amount of communication in it. RPG’s are the same, but they test this soft skill in a unique, as the player is required to communicate from the perspective of their role within the imagined narrative. What it teaches players then it to learn how to communicate effectively in a variety of settings. As well as how to communicate in a variety of situations.
As an RPG is a microcosm in terms of both space and time, a player can in a single session be required to request for help from various individuals, either fellow players or imagined characters. Need to communicate under pressure and stress, and perhaps even take part in difficult conversations that either leads to or need to resolve a conflict. In an RPG, a conflict is inevitable, but at least it is a safe environment to practice those resolution skills.
For both the GM and the player, the need to learn clear communication is of the utmost importance, as explaining an idea, plan or narrative so that a large assortment of different individuals can all quickly grasp the essence of it, is a very useful skill. And with it also comes secondary skills such as improving customer interactions and managing tensions and disputes in the workplace.
An RPG is based on the concept of a cooperative basis, of working together to overcome large (epic) challenges that no individual player could face alone. With that of course also comes the skills and challenges required to effectively work as a team though.
RPG’s offer low risk- or risk-free environments where players can be part of a group to practice and test out roles within a team. For example, how they fair as leaders, followers, ancillary roles and so forth. With effective feedback and debriefing, players can learn how effective they were and where they need to improve.
For the GM, it also teaches them how to motivate teams. As a manager or leader within a business, motivating teams can often be the most challenging aspect. Within an RPG, you can learn and practice which intrinsic motivational methods work best, to get the most out of your team. Since an RPG is all make-believe, short-term motivators like extrinsic rewards will not always work.
Often the most desired skill, but one of the most difficult to practice is critical thinking. If a GM has a well-designed narrative scenario, then it will have layers of problems that players must figure out solutions to achieve the myriad of goals and objectives laid out before them. Imagine it as onion, peeling away each layer, uncovering new clues and answers, each leading closer to the resolution of the overarching dilemma. I’m sure project managers can relate to this metaphor.
Within a good scenario, players can test out new methodologies, techniques, and theories and iterate upon them as the story continues. A skilled GM will offer ample opportunities for their players to think on their feet, and deal with the unexpected, while often managing scarce resources. All things that they would encounter in a real VUCA world.
What the role-playing experience primarily does within this area is develop your player’s ability to improvise and their capability for innovative thinking. To overcome the unexpected challenges in the imagined scenario, they may not be perfectly equipped for it, and therefore they will need to think outside of the box to come up with new ways to meet the challenge head-on and win.