Negotiations Skills via Second Life 3D Immersion Experience

15 12 2009

Yesterday I attended an energizing, entertaining and powerful session in Second Life that was facilitated by Mark Jankowski, one of the Leaders at Shiparo Negotiations Institute (SNI), a company that specializes in training and consulting on Negotiation, Influencing, Sales Optimization and  Conflict Resolution.

Mark, an attorney by trade, has leveraged his real-world expertise in conducting a range of high-level legal negotiations for SNI clients into an array of real and virtual world corporate training programs.  As part of his desire to “give back” to his community, Mark (whose avatar is Marc Wizenheim) presents four insightful and impactful training sessions (all at no cost) in Second Life that are developed by Virtual Training Partners (a division of SNI).

A case study about Mark’s work in Second Life can be read on the 3D Training and Learning Collaboration site.

The session I attended focused on Preparing for Negotiations where Mark covered four key steps: Precedents, Alternatives, Interests, and Deadlines.  Right from the start, Mark’s relaxed and engaging style created a supportive environment for learning where participants were encouraged to share their opinions.  His impactful stories about customer experiences served as a springboard for discussions and the exploration of an IT procurement Case Study (purchasing new computer monitors) that was leveraged for each of the four steps.   This was not a “death by PowerPoint” slides in Second Life!  Rather, Mark’s development team has created four highly immersive and visually appealing scenes that enhance the story and allow participants to think outside the proverbial “box” when choosing a course of action.

The background contextual material for each scene is just three presentation slide projectors that Mark rezzes on demand.  Mark’s avatar changes clothing into appropriate attire to compliment each scene and before he tells an appropriate story.  For example, when discussing Precedents, Mark’s avatar was dressed as a baseball player and we stood in a skybox at Baltimore Orioles baseball field while Mark told a story about Carl Ripken.  The learning begins through reading the scenario slide (on the fist slide) then considering one of four possible options (on the second slide) which are courses of action that can be taken.  Mark then reviews a definition slide (the third) which also serves as a summary for each learning “nugget”.  Participants are asked to move and stand on one large floor panel marked with the four capital letters representing the options.  Selected participants are subsequently asked why they chose each option and Mark facilitates the discussion with background ideas of why/why not each option could be the best choice, depending on interpretation and the perspective from both the buyer’s and supplier’s viewpoints.

I’ve attended numerous events in Second Life and rate Mark’s session as one of the best I’ve experienced.  Not only did I learn valuable points about Preparing for Negotiations but I also had fun in an environment that supported and encouraged my contributions.  Great job Mark!  I’ll definitely be back for other sessions and will recommend your Second Life experiences to all my in-world friends and colleagues.

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