“Okay.” Jess was still laughing. “What was the surprise?”
“So Susan–she’s the compliance attorney–is going through her list of compliance topics, right? Everything is boring and fine, and then she asks me if I can make the course engaging!”
“Really? That’s great! I knew I liked her!” Jess looked at him, prompting him to go on. “What did she mean by that?”
“That’s exactly what I asked her!”
“And what did she say?”
“I’ll tell you…I’ll tell you her words exactly. She said…I’m not kidding…this is what she said…” Damien lowered his voice, “I love a good story.” He leaned back in his chair, “That’s what she said…’I love a good story’…that’s it!”
Jess looked past Damien in a far-off look kind of way. “Yeah,” she said.
Damien could see his actress friend imagining a staged production of compliance-on-Broadway. He wasn’t having it and tried to bring her back to reality. “Isn’t that crazy?” asked Damien, looking for a little bit of empathy.
“You know, I think she’s on to something,” said Jess.
“Come on!” said Damien, “You’re siding with the lawyer?”
“Listen, I tell stories all the time when I’m facilitating training.”
“Yeah, but that’s with sales people in a classroom! We’re talking about eLearning for thousands of employees!”
“So?” she challenged him.
“So, it’s a huge difference!”
“How is it different?” She went on, “I tell success stories, I tell stories about sales people who make missteps, we do role play…you could do something like that in eLearning, right? Maybe not role play per se, but what about writing some scenarios?”
Damien didn’t like the direction of the conversation, but Jess made some sense. “Okay, maybe I could see where scenarios would be helpful…maybe.”
“Look, it’s not that complex,” she said. “You have some fictitious employees in some sort of an ethical dilemma. Right?”
“Okay,” Damien relented. “You’re the actor. Any tips?”
“Well…why don’t you find out what’s really happening out there and build a scenario based on that? Did the compliance lawyer give you some examples?”
“No, but…yeah, I guess I could ask her about that.”
“Damien…” she stopped. She looked serious. Jess took a pen out of her purse and scribbled on a napkin. She slapped the napkin face down on the table in front of Damien. “This is your mission. I want a report next week.” She got up and joined a group of friends near the bar.
Damien chuckled. “Always the actor,” he said as he turned the napkin over. There was Jess’s dramatic flourish and his mission:
“Write a story they’ll love.”