Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
There's nothing worse than being forgotten.
Actually, there is one thing.
When no one even acknowledges you in the first place.
But people spend their whole lives wishing that others would remember them and, well, constantly send them money.
I'm sorry, I slipped in a reference to myself there.
However, the theme today is how to make yourself unforgettable. In a good way, that is.
I'm stunned to the rafters that the Daily Mail managed to corral the insights of cognitive scientist Carmen Simon, author of a book whose title I've forgotten.
No, wait, it's Impossible to Ignore.
Of course, I haven't read it. But the Mail distilled Simon's message into three essentials, which I present with my own annotations on the Mail's distillations.
1. Back up your points with facts -- and repeat them three times.
Apparently "people are much more likely to remember what you say if you stick to the facts, rather than using opinions or abstract points." What? Have you watched any news lately? Or even the Kardashians? Oh, dear Lord. Is there anything more memorably dull than someone spouting facts at you and then repeating them three times? I would rather have three helpings of anything from Olive Garden than have to endure that. Haven't we all learned that entertainment trumps facts? Believe me, it does. And I have the best entertainment.
2. Surprise them and ask questions.
"When you're in conversation with people, the element of surprise is what will keep them hooked -- and help them remember you for all the right reasons," says the Mail. What? If I drop my trousers at a networking event and sing the collected works of Cinderella, I'm sure I'd create a big surprise. But would it be a welcome one? How does one know what will surprise people in a good way and what will surprise them enough to dial 911? I was once in a meeting when a dreary design company lectured me on the "fact" that, and I quote, "green is the color of reading." It was memorable. I still tell the story today. But I tell it because it was the result of Bunkum having a one-night stand with the daughter of Balderdash.
3. Motivate your audience.
All righty. So you're sipping on a subtle cocktail when Barry Diller wanders up. All you can think is: "How can I motivate him?" And all you can answer is: "I'll tell him he's overweight and give him the name of my yoga teacher." Would that make you memorable? Yes. Would he be motivated? I fear not.
The problem with such distillations is that human interactions can be slightly more complicated than your usual self-help-pamphlets-fleshed-out-with-diagrams-to-look-like-books can ever encapsulate.
Human interactions are full of pesky nuances. Smell, for example. And tone. It's really very hard to remember anything that someone with a shrill voice says because all you are likely to remember is the shrill voice.
Please remember that we're addressing the Daily Mail's encapsulations here, rather than the book itself.
For all I know, Impossible to Ignore is impossible to put down.
Even the Amazon synopsis makes it sound slightly more subtle than the Mail's version.
It offers phrases such as: "Use memory-influencing variables to control what your audience remembers."
Control? Lordy, it sounds like a Scientology manual.
Then again, no one ever forgets about Scientology. Thanks, Tom Cruise.