5 Replies
Steve Flowers

Hi Doug,

I think this depends largely on your subject matter (your performance goals / problems / gaps) and your audience. But failing all else I'd start with this framework (not always in this order):

  • Deliver
  • Demonstrate
  • Practice
  • Assess

Once you clearly outline your goals and objectives, I'd establish a few "actor profiles" and "situation profiles". When you establish your player profiles you're looking to establish some kind of character that people can relate to. These are anchors that will carry consistency through the demonstration of your situations and any affordances you provide for practice.

Questions to ask about "actors":

  • Where are they from?
  • What do they do?
  • How long have they been doing it?
  • What's the relationship between one actor and another?

Questions to ask about "situations":

  • Where is this going to take place?
  • Over what span of time?
  • What special conditions apply?
  • How would you describe this situation in two sentences or less?

Once you get the situation details mapped out you have some pieces and parts to work with and can freely mix and match as you go. From here, you essentially want to establish some questions to ask yourself as you continue down the design path:

  • What's the perfect result?
  • What's a result that's almost as good but not optimal?
  • What's a result that's borderline suitable?
  • What's a result that's completely unacceptable?

I'd begin by mapping out questions. Once you have questions you've got mini missions to work out that are relatively clear (without clear questions to ask / answer, it's easy to get lost). I'd also be tempted to start at the end and work backwards after establishing the situation details. The cool thing about working these out first (at a rough level) is you can use these for delivery of concepts, facts, procedures, or principles that underpin the desired outcomes. You can also use these for demonstration, practice, and assessment.

As you work backwards you'll see opportunities for stimuli and response chains. Asking "what could lead up to this?" will help you map these backwards. In the end, you could aim for the creation of a conversation that models what you want to see from your representatives. These also make dandy contextual launching points for deeper exposition of a solid foundation (the why's and what's that underpin a decision calculation that results in a communication).

http://www.jellyvisionlab.com/examples.php

Once you finish working through from the end result, you have a great start to work forward and straighten any kinks. If you want to get a view of how things might play out, this software makes a dandy prototyping tool. Though you could do something really similar right inside of PowerPoint.

http://gimcrackd.com/etc/src/

Good luck

Doug Willner

Steve -

Thanks for the detailed reply. The JellyVision has some excellent examples as a dialogue presentation but did not give me an idea on creating a decision tree type of training dialogue.

By chance do you have an example of a character driven dialogue?

I understand what you are saying about the character creation but I am still not getting enough of a visual to attack building the interaction.

Steve Flowers

Sure thing Don't mind helping out. A couple of questions first:

  • Can you provide me one to two sentences that encapsulates one of your problems or conflicts?

For example:

We've received complaints from some customers that indicates the product they receive wasn't well matched to their needs.

  • Based on this question, what's the ultimate positive outcome?

For example:

Ideally, customers will receive a product that matches their needs. The customers needs are determined by these factors: expectations, budget, length of need.

Here are some other questions you might ask (this is our standard salvo for compliance courses):

  1.  What is the overarching goal?
  2. What is the organizational policy regarding this goal?
  3. What does each member of the target audience NEED TO KNOW about this topic or goal to align with the organization's objective?
  4. What are the consequences (positive / negative)?
  5. How does the goal relate to the organization's values or ethos?
  6. What scenarios or real-life case studies are available that best illustrate proper adherence or improper appliation of the policies associated with this goal or topic?

You'll want to clearly answer these questions:

  • What do you want people to do? How do you want them to do it?
  • What are they doing now? How is what they are doing now unacceptable?

Once you're here you have a good starting place. An approach you might use is mapping out your decision logic and describing the factors associated with the choice. I've attached a PPT file that might help, but this mapping is probably best done on construction paper and post it notes. This process begins at the beginning and the end of our chain. I'd start with outlining the questions that should be asked to derive an optimal strawman of an interaction. Once you have that it's less challenging to pick an event node (question or customer response) and vary this from the lab perfect Q&A.

I have examples but unfortunately they aren't public:)

In my opinion, the secret to success with these types of interactions is:

  1. Keep them brief. Nobody will tolerate a long chain and you're going to lose goal cohesion if each chain is crowded with multiple factors.
  2. Keep them natural. It's rough to write this way since we're all trained to suck the life out of our prose.
  3. Keep them authentic.
Doug Willner

Steve

Sorry for the delay in response, this got side burner'ed. Thanks for offering to provide more input. To address your questions:

1. Problem or conflict: Our sales team needs to increase their effectiveness at targetting the right products to the right potential customers.

- We do not have a customer complaint driving this but rather an opportunity to increase sales performance

- We offer over 400 products that are very specific to what type of work the customer is doing

2. Ultimate positive outcome: Our sales people are able to quickly identify the product needs for customers and potential customers so they increase their new customer close rate and increase the product usage in existing customers while reducing the sales cycle time

- As in most sales situations now, getting to potential customers is very difficult, and no one wants to talk to sales people

- We need to be able to gather the right information from the customer quickly (without sounding like we are grilling them) so we can understand their issues and then to direct the customer to our products where we may offer a value to them

I can come up with several example discussion flows but I am wrestling with how to present it in a module, how to build the interactivity.

What I am trying to uncover is a way to lay out an actual module that would allow me to have them start with a custoemr profile (brief), choose the correct question to uncover what the customer is working on, ask the next correct questions to understand and customer needs, and then choose the correct positioning of our product to address that need with the correct data validation.

I just cannot get a feel for how to lay out the screen flows....