When you consider that 87% of work training materials are forgotten 30 days after a presentation, per a Corporate Executive Board study, it’s easy to see we could be doing a better job engaging our audiences.

One sure way to boost a presentation’s value is through anecdotal examples, like scenes from TV shows or movies. Movie scenes do more than entertain your audience.  They can help reinforce key messages by driving engagement, learning and retention levels.

But you can’t simply select a scene and hope your audience receives the message you’re trying to deliver. To gain maximum results from your movie-scene investments, here are a few things to take into consideration before, during and after you use video scenes in your presentation:

Before you Search for a Scene

Determine the message you need a scene to convey before you search for it.  Is your work training about helping employees navigate change within the organization?  Are you helping managers learn how to deliver critical messages?  Are you simply trying to motivate your staff?

When you go into the search with a message in mind, you’ll be more likely to find something relevant, as opposed to looking at a scene and trying to find a connection or way to make it work. Think also about the questions you want to ask, so you know when you find a scene if it gets to those questions.

  • Is there a certain character you need to analyze?
  • Is the scene being used as an example of what not to do?

Understanding your audience demographics will also determine the movie scenes you select. Consider the film’s rating, language and content. You want to make sure the content you select is appropriate for everyone involved.

Related Reading: Getting Permission to Use Video Content at Work

During the Presentation: From Movie Watching to Movie Learning

At home, we watch movies for entertainment, or to relax. One challenge of using movie scenes in a work environment is to make sure the audience is watching to learn.

To make sure people watch diligently, assign tasks that reinforce the main message throughout the movie. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Have half of the room analyze one character, while the other half of the room studies  another.
  • Have questions posed for the learners to take notes on during the scene. They can then discuss them later with the group.
  • Use polling – clicker questions. This ensures full classroom participation, and audiences will appreciate the anonymity in their selections. It also is a great technique for assessing learners’ basic understanding of the core concepts in the scene.

After the presentation 

After you’ve shown the movie scene, maximize retention with follow-up activities that complement its messaging.

Here are a few ways to keep the audience thinking about what they just saw afterwards:

  • Dig into the deep questions. “How” questions get to the application piece of the scene, which is when people will start to relate the scene to their own work. (Examples could include, “As you watch that scene, how will you apply this to yourself?  How would you react to what happened in the scene?”)
  • Create character webs or charts
  • Role-play using pieces of the movie script
  • Write alternative endings to the scene
  • Debate over a controversial topic in the movie

Get more insights from Becky Pluth on using videos for work training here.

Learn more about how to lawfully use movie scenes with CCC’s Motion Picture License.

Author: Becky Pike Pluth

Becky Pike Pluth of The Bob Pike Group is a training professional with more than a decade of experience in training, project management and business operations. She is also the author of the best-selling title 101 Movie Clips That Teach & Train
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