Yesterday I wrote about the fact that our current content charts are great, but perhaps can’t tell the full story. And as Julian commented on, these are useful for sign off with clients – but I feel that perhaps they don’t give a full enough overview of the whole thing.

Why do I think that?

Because I am holding many things in my head that sits above this chart and therefore these thoughts and ideas aren’t getting discussed and improved. So here is my proposed idea for increasing engagement by planning a secondary layer – an emotional / engagement / experience graph.

I picked up this idea from Bruce Block, a visual structure expert who teaches at USC and is the producer of films such as The Holiday. His use of this graph was limited to screenplays, as I wrote about on my own filmmaking blog.

It’s a simple, very simple, graph showing your target level of engagement over time. ‘Over time’ could mean the length of the workshop, or the CD-ROM.

Flat graph

This graph shows obviously a flat experience. A good level of engagement, but constant. But with no variation this course would probably not be very memorable.

Decline Graph

This graph shows a poor experience for the delegates – the course tails off.

Doing the graph neat and electronically as it is here is perhaps over blown. I see these graphs being used much more as a drawn sketch initially to help our discussions. But still, why do it? Why would this actually help? What would you do differently? This graph might show our first draft for a course. 

Clearly we can see it is too front heavy. And then the second half has low engagement for a long time. That would result in poor feedback for all. But what should we do about that?

Firstly, if we changed the order we could create a course that had more variety, had more engagement. However that might cause a giant slump as we go into the competencies detail. It’s clear now that this set up needs to create hooks and perhaps almost cliffhangers that set up difficult questions but offer no immediate solutions right then. So we may write that introduction in a very different way.

Secondly, our skill drill now lifts up the audience again.

Thirdly our reflective conclusion is too limp for a climax. If we did an active conclusion in the form of a game or getting people to move around the room that would lift the end of the day. Result…

Now I believe these are things we all do anyway in our minds. But in our minds makes it hard to share and hard to pitch.

This idea is coming out early so I may be off in the implementation or the value of it. But I’m going to try and use it on the next project.