How to write scenarios that deliver

robert 5 years ago 0 21

Here’s 3 Tips to Maximize Engagement

Many in crisis management and business continuity think that they’re “not creative enough” to write really engaging scenarios. But polish your work with these 3 easy-to-apply tips and you’ll see a huge improvement in exercise results without becoming J.K. Rowling or Shakespeare.

What do we want to achieve?
Great scenarios transport the training audience to a new place: they get into the exercise, focus on the issues and leave wiser, more prepared. That’s called engagement.

Tip #1 – Know what you want to say
In writing terms, this is known as “the premise”. The premise is the underlying message you want to convey to the audience. In a training exercise it’s the key take-away.

Yes you have training objectives – that’s what you want to achieve with the exercises, but the premise is the core teaching.

Tip #2 – Add detail & emotion
Adding detail and emotion will make your exercise memorable and immersive. This ensures that the training audience use their imagination to visualize the situation.

Rather than writing “A flood makes it impossible to enter the building”, try “With the water now above waist height and emergency services rescuing the old and infirm, the offices on 24th & Market are cordoned off and inaccessible until further notice”.

Tip #3 – Show stakeholder reaction
Many exercises, especially those that use Powerpoint for table top exercises, are written with the training audience as observer – like the example paragraph above.

A better approach is to put the training audience at the centre of the exercise and have stakeholders communicate with them directly. For example, rather than read about the flood, have a stakeholder communicate directly “Hey, there’s no way you can get the office on 24th & Market today, tomorrow or likely the rest of the week. I can see first responders wading through water at waist height rescuing dogs and senior citizens. Our offices are closed my friend!”

Of course, change the tone and style to match the medium and the stakeholder.

The case for simulation
All the above tips are applicable whichever way you’re delivering exercises and they’re sure to work!

However, you can give yourself a huge leg-up by working with simulation software like TeamXp to impersonate the stakeholders and automate those parts of the scenario you feel can be automated.

So… Next time you write a scenario, follow these few tips to make it emotional and memorable and you’ll deliver better results!

For a deep look at improvements you can make, check out this recorded webinar and the presentation below.


Blog post cover image by Linh Nguyen on Unsplash

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