Just days before the whole of the Netherlands ground to a halt, I spent two days in Amsterdam. I had a great excuse to be there: I was attending the Robocopy train the trainer bootcamp.

Only eight months ago, I was a conversation design-rookie. So what’s it like to be on the other side of the classroom? I’d like to share my three key take-aways:

1. Read the room

My fellow trainees were from different backgrounds: they were conversation designers, product owners and even sales gurus. Which was great, because it provided a perfect reflection of an average workshop. In any workshop, there will be people with different roles and needs. So how do you handle that?

My advice: read the room. Who is afraid to lose their job? Who is just there for the technology? And who is looking for the goose with the golden eggs? Because you will encounter all three of them.

So what do you do? Easy. Use their doubts as a springboard. Find the connection, and you can get even the most suspicious trainee to join in.

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2. Make it weird

A Conversation Design workshop isn’t just theory; you also have a hands-on component. And many people will really have to step out of their comfort zone because you have to create user- and bot personas, and you have to work out use cases. What’s more, is that you have to do all of this live, using improv theatre. Improv theatre?! The world of ‘yes and..’!? Those of us who aren’t born thespians might find it odd, even uncomfortable, to play the role of a chatbot. So make it weird.

If you don’t have to be serious, be as weird as you can be. Because it’ll make you take yourself less seriously, too. Which makes a sample dialogue seem like a piece of cake! To show you what I mean, here’s a collection of the bot persona’s that my team created in those two days:

  1. Fernando. The Brazilian Influencer living in Milan, who only speaks using street slang
  2. Martina. The seemingly boring receptionist with an intense passion for bouldering
  3. LeMMMa. The Lean Mean Meme Machine, who will only answer in memes
  4. Chadbot. A ‘bro’ who helps you lift. Shares his recipes, but it’s always chicken and rice

    3. Have a little fun

    The training to become a certified conversation designer takes a few days. And even the shortest version of this workshop can take a few hours. So it is even more important to have a little fun. A few tips to re-energize the group:

    1. Icebreakers: Some of us - I won’t point fingers - see a workshop as the perfect time to relax. Consumers: I call them. By energizing everyone from the start, you’ll make them join in.
    2. The Brain Game: Should the energy leave the room, e.g. after lunch, then it’s time for a game. My personal favorite: the Dancing Queen.
    3. Coffee breaks: Coffee breaks are holy to me. Why? Because it is at that moment that people will really say what they’re thinking. I always like to ask what they talked about, before resuming the workshop.

      photo: Robocopy

      Train the trainer robocopy2

      In stores now: your own licensed Conversation Design Trainer

      The Conversation Designers at Crossphase make your content conversational - it speaks the way people speak. We already do that for different corporates. Now, we’ve extended our repertoire and give training and workshops according to the Robocopy-method.

      Whether you’re at the start of your chatbot journey or are a well-versed traveller, we love to help you take the right next step. Maybe you’ve always wanted to know more about conversational copywriting, and how it can help you save time on development. Or maybe you’re ready to improve your chatbot persona, to get more consistent content.

      Whatever you need, we’re happy to help!

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