1. Anticipate What Could Go Wrong During the Simulation Exercise  

During the exercise, it is important to anticipate what could go wrong in order to challenge participants and create a realistic problem-solving experience. As issues arise, think through how they can be addressed in the context of the simulation. 

2. Acknowledge Emotions & Stress Levels 

Remember that simulations can be intense and challenging for participants. Allow for breaks throughout the exercise, especially when multiple crisis scenarios are simulated in a short period of time. Additionally, acknowledge stress levels among participants and provide support as needed. 

3. Create Reasonable Objectives & Expectations 

Set reasonable objectives and expectations for the simulation to ensure that it is a realistic and achievable experience. Reevaluate objectives and expectations as the simulation progresses to ensure that they remain reasonable in the context of the exercise. 

4. Allow for Reflection & Debriefing Afterward 

Once the exercise has concluded, allow for reflection and debriefing among participants so that they can discuss their experiences and ask questions about the overall goals of the simulation. This is a great opportunity for participants to debrief and learn together about how best to handle crisis scenarios in the future.  

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Cyber Security Tabletop Exercises

5. Monitor Participant Engagement & Participation 

Make sure to keep an eye on participant engagement and participation throughout the entire exercise, as this will ensure that everyone understands what is happening and is able to contribute in meaningful ways. Paying attention to participant engagement can also help you identify when participants may need more support or assistance.  

6. Evaluate & Assess the Simulation 

The success of any type of crisis simulation exercise should be evaluated and assessed, as the feedback from the participants can help identify what worked well and what could be improved in the future. Also, use the feedback to help adjust objectives and expectations for future exercises.  

Follow Up & Develop Action Plans 

After evaluating and assessing the simulation, it is important to follow up with participants and develop action plans that can be implemented in order to prevent similar crisis scenarios from occurring again in the future. Doing this will ensure that the lessons learned from the simulation are applied to real-world situations.   

Related: Finding Gaps During Simulation Exercises: Now What?

These steps will ensure that the crisis simulation exercise is a positive learning experience for everyone involved.  By following these tips, you can make sure that your exercise is effective and meaningful for all participants. 

Rob Burton
Rob Burton

Rob is a Principal at PreparedEx where he manages a team of crisis preparedness professionals and has over 20 years of experience preparing for and responding to crises. Part of his leadership role includes assisting PreparedEx clients in designing, implementing and evaluating crisis, emergency, security and business continuity management programs. During his career Rob has worked for the US State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, as a crisis management consultant in Pakistan and Afghanistan where he negotiated with the UN and Pashtun tribal warlords and he served with the United Kingdom Special Forces where he operated internationally under hazardous covert and confidential conditions. Rob was also part of a disciplined and prestigious unit The Grenadier Guards where he served Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Palaces in London. Rob was a highly trained and experienced infantryman serving in Desert Storm and commanded covert operational teams and was a sniper. Rob has keynoted disaster recovery conferences and participated in live debates on FOX News regarding complex security requirements and terrorism. Rob has a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.