How and why to use real people and situations to engage audiences, to enhance training and communications, incorporating actual experience with videos or other communications tools, blending in interviews, documentation, and role-plays that bring a sense of relatable, motivational, real life experiences to audiences that simply cannot be matched with expositional, narrated communications.
From at least the time of Plato, people have tried to pin down what is actually real, or how our perception may be influencing what we think is real, or what is perhaps someone else’s reality but not our own. And when we are communicating about some reality – including with the intent to motivate or train – we are by definition at least one step removed from that reality. We can refer to it, we can try to explain it, but what we are presenting is not actually a reality, at least in many people’s minds. In other words, reality can be hard to impart, but we do still strive to let people know about facts, real issues, validated procedures, and other useful information that we feel is important to them.
Why Present Reality?
Presenting reality brings an added power to communications. Few of us are good at memorizing theoretical information and accepting its value to us. But if we can relate to the content, and see the significance in our own lives, we will be more motivated to pay attention, to learn, and perhaps most importantly, to incorporate the information as part of our future behavior. The point is to engage audiences, plus provide a personalized experience, and thereby to make the learning experience and future behavior change more successful.
Effectively Using Reality
Good communications and training developers understand the value of engaging audiences. However, paying attention is only the first step. Colorfully designed print materials or dynamically edited videos may get their attention, but this alone may not offer enough. Holding the audience’s attention, supporting retention, and especially achieving audience buy-in is also necessary.
Video is unique in its inherent ability to closely mimic reality. Motion pictures, television, as well as YouTube are so much a part of our lives in part due to this special ability to offer experiences that can draw people in and and be relevant to them. This visual media can engender empathy like few others, often by including real people, or at least quality actors that seem real. Consider what may be more acceptable – a dictating narrator in a video, or hearing directly from peers you respect?
Role-play videos allow the audience to see actual behavior. With an experienced director, employees or other non-professional actors may fill the “acting” roles.
Interview-based videos – meeting real, relatable people who we see in real-life situations while they tell their stories – can provide personal experiences for audience. Again, an experienced interviewer/director is required.
Good storytelling will enhance audience engagement, while strengthening characters and adding compelling dramatic arcs. This particularly requires a good writer (scriptwriter).
Print and Other Communications
Video isn’t the only tool that can provide relevant engagement for audiences. Print and other communications can tell similar stories or use similar interview information. While not always as attention-grabbing as a video, these other tools can be quicker to develop, less expensive, and often more practical to deliver. And perhaps they may be part of a package with the videos, serving as a summarizing, reinforcing
Even without a specifically developed communications or training media tool, audiences or students can be placed in a sharing environment, with opportunities developed for learning from others. For example, many good trainers know the value of facilitating the student learning experience, and opening discussion opportunities, rather than simply delivering lecture content.
Vienna Media Group specializes in videos, curriculum and communications development that integrate these and other reality-based engagement experiences.