Actors are another great tool to implement if you want to level up your experience. And they need not only be for the in-person experiences. Using actors for the videos either in live-action or online learning experiences adds another level of realism to what the participants are experiencing.
In our Corporate Crisis role-play scenarios, bringing in actors for characters that participants need to deal with will aid them in honing their communication skills. Such as going through difficult conversations or dealing with unpleasant or distressed individuals. The realism and the stress that comes with that will help in embedding the learning fully into the participant’s minds.
With online or digital offerings, a video with an actor that truly conveys the emotions of the situation will resonate far more powerfully with your participants than a transcript of the same scenario would.
Sound effects may sound a bit gimmicky (pun intended) but remember that sound effects can create atmosphere and can also be used as audio cues for specific events within your experience.
Many of our scenarios are timed experiences and have specific events that occur during the scenario. By using sound effects, we can alert participants to the fact that something special is happening, perhaps a change in the course of scenario or maybe a call to action for them to act due to an ‘unexpected’ turn of events.
Sound effects can be the sound of air rushing by, or waves lapping on a beach, all of these can set the scene and the mood of a specific moment in an experience or for the entirety of it. In our Stranded scenario for example, we would have the sounds of waves and seagulls on a deserted island to set the scene for the participants, and to bring home that they are stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Do keep in mind that the sound effects must be on theme and augment the music chosen for the experience. Having random sound effects for gimmicky purposes, such as honks, or sound effects that are jarring with the music chosen, will disrupt the suspension of disbelief in your participants.
Last, but not least is music. Music is likely the most underrated feature that any experience can benefit from. Far too many facilitators focus primarily on handouts, the knowledge pieces, the videos and sometimes on the props to bring everything to life. But music is such a powerful feature for immersing people into something that it should not be ignored.
As an example, and experiment, try and remember an important event in your life from 10-20 years ago. You’ll likely remember it fairly well. Now pick a song you loved from 10-20 years ago, around the same time as the memory you picked just now. What do you remember now and how much clearer was the memory associated with that music? Did the memory and music come with a whole set of emotions and tangential memory experiences? I suspect it did.
The purpose of the example is to show how much music can connect us to the memory and knowledge of a point in time. Coupling this with a group-based experience, it can lead to an experience and its inherent learning being cemented quite strongly in an individual’s mind for a very long time.
Therefore, spending an appropriate amount of time on creating a playlist for your experience that effectively sets the mood and atmosphere can go a long way to engaging even the most reticent of participants into your experience.
Music and the accompanying sound effects can create entire worlds in which people can lose themselves. The desired effect should be that if the participant were to close their eyes for a moment, that they would be transported to the location of the story in their imaginations.