Really! That’s What You Remember? —
I am routinely amazed about random impactful statements that get remembered. I have given talks many times in my career with plenty of great and useful information. This includes too many PowerPoint conversations with countless slides of bullet-pointed information. People will see me years later and what they remember is good for me to hear.
My unscientific list of what gets remembered most includes (In random order):
- Real life stories I told to illustrate a point
- Statements that compliment or offend the listener
- “By the Way” comments I made privately
- Short talks rank far ahead of long ones
- Responses to challenging audience questions
I will elaborate on each of these.
Real Life Stories
A well-told story needs to be the appropriate length with appropriate detail—not too long and with interesting details. A little self-depreciation and vulnerability are typically helpful for your audience to relate. Tying it together with your point brings it home.
Compliment or Offend
People remember how they feel and will often only remember a well-placed specific compliment or worse, an insult. Standard compliments don’t count and are gratuitous. A great funny example is my 64-year-old female neighbor was recently in a car accident near where we live. Her car was totaled – she admitted 100% fault. As the EMT’s made sure she was OK (she was), one of them commented to his peer how good she looked at age 64. It seems like this was pretty much all she remembered from the entire event. We remember comments that make us feel good or bad about ourselves.
“By The Way” comments
I have had many business lunches; they all have an agenda that I make sure gets covered. I have found that covering my topics early allows for longer and more detailed answers. This allows me to better understand what I need to do next. My direct approach often fails to work well because many people would prefer to avoid the more challenging issues at hand.
I have had cases where the other party disclosed important information while walking them out to their car after lunch – this is a less confrontational environment and statements are made in a more casual and private manner.
Short talks vs. Long talks
We often say that “less is more.” More can be 45 flavors of ice cream or a brewery with 30 types of draft beer. Most of us can’t process that much information and we need fewer options to make an easy decision. Long talks dilute the value of a few very important points. Less points with a story to illustrate is far more effective.
I will ask myself – what are my take-aways from attending a talk – “Less” makes this question much simpler to answer.
Many of us like to play “gotcha” as a way to show how smart we are. These types of questions allow for a speaker to better enforce their point and cover a topic that other people in the room probably have. It’s also often more interesting to listen to a dialog back and forth.
Using this short blog as an example, I can guess you may remember most what the EMT said.
Bob Williamson, Pest & Lawn Director
PCO in the Know | Blog #4