Systems Thinking for Marketing Execs LO21851

koebelin (
Mon, 07 Jun 1999 10:46:05 -0700

Replying to LO21821 --

David Kramer wrote:

If you are able to contemplate delivering training in an optimal way, and
are not too bound by time constraints and other limiting protocols, then I
would recommend a hands-on training combined with reflection and other
experiential methods. In order for the training to be "hands-on," it will
need to occur over time, such as a series of meetings over the course of a
few weeks, so that people can practice skills as they learn them and then
gather to discuss what happened. Reflection discussion should focus on
very basic questions such as 1) What happened? 2) What was different from
usual? 3) How did the customer respond? 4) How did you feel? 5) How
could it have been done differently or better? 6) What tools do you need
to increase your knowledge base and improve your performance? 7) Were
our communication goals reached? 8) What is the point of this change in
the way we communicate with customers?

Other experiential methods to use include role play--I would recommend
playing scenarios from a variety of perspectives, and having the players
switch roles for further insight in to how the customer is responding. I
ask people to deliberately make mistakes in a role play, so that the
criticism won't be so hard to take.

Following a discussion identifying areas in which communication could be
improved, these scenarios could be enacted. Goals should be clearly
identified--to feel better, more natural, more emphathetic with the
customer, etc. You should return to these goals periodically to confirm
that you are all on track, and to question their purpose and
effectiveness. Like the "5 times why" discussion, this repetition of the
goals and insights will lead to the participants themselves uncovering
layers of meaning. The "why" will be different each time. For example:

After the first "round" -- to make more money, to increase sales in the
After the second -- to feel better about what we are doing
After the third -- to gain a real appreciation of the customer's
Fourth -- to create real, long-term, give-and-take relationships
based upon mutual trust and respect

The scenarios could be created by the participants themselves, working in
pairs and responding to questions like: How do you currently sell
products and services to customers? How would a "good" coversation go?
How would a bad conversation go? Now, if you were the customer, how would
you prefer the conversation to go? After each brief role play, the
discussion following could: begin by describing what occurred
(observation), go on to identify various communication skills demonstrated
(courtesy, emphathy, understanding, etc.), and then proceed to analyze,
synthesize, and evaluate each scenario. Finally, I would always return to
a discussion of the point of the whole thing--questioning and reinforcing
the premise underlying improved communication and requisite behavior

I would end each training period with this discussion of what is really
important, the most meaningful insights reached, and possibly a plan to
practise the skills again within a certain time period, and to meet for
further reflection.

Also, I would try to model the real, authentic communication you are
seeking, including initial time spent observing and discussing the needs
of participants, both physical and in terms of learning styles.

Hope this is helpful!

Genene Koebelin


koebelin <>

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