187: Carmen Simon - On How to Make Your Talk Memorable
Carmen Simon - neuroscientist, best-selling author, speaker - uncovers the importance of knowing why and how we can remember things in the hopes that the message we have will stick with our audience forever. Her neuroscience background gave light to important insights to how we can tailor our talk to be extra impactful!
Carmen shares with us her fascination with the brain and why it remembers some things but not others. She recently traveled to Europe where her experience there made her realize how much we forget in our lives - even the important things. This led her to question how WE as speakers, can help our audience to remember the key points to our message.
- How to be in charge of making a memory happen instead of letting it happen
- Being clear on what you want people to remember in your talk
- The brain loves familiarity - Why is that?
- The importance of metaphors in your talk and to avoid the cliche ones
I recently discovered a podcast called RFK tapes and it’s about the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968. It is so well done and it's by the same people who do the show Crime Town. Honestly, I never got into that show but I love the Kennedy’s and I love their sense of oratory, their care of words and the aspirational message that they brought at such an important time in our countries history. Now I am just feeling that and I want that for our country, we need RFK to come back right now! Anyway, this episode that they put on early August, they shared an episode of one of the speech writers for Robert Kennedy. He talked about this beautiful set of oratory and pros that they put together. It made me bawl and this speech writer still remembers it word for word. You hear in the background Robert Kennedy saying these words and he was talking about how the Gross National Product does not encompass our curiosity, our creativity, our effort, it doesn’t encompass the quality of our children’s play, it doesn’t encompass the love that we have for our spouses, it doesn’t encompass the way our flowers smell. It just went on and on and all these beautiful remembrances of what life is about. It just blew my mind that a politician went so deeply in that direction and was so strongly trying to shift the tone and tenor of oratory and in an age where I feel like the words and the public center are so ugly and icky. The words that came out of this mans mouth and speech writer, I was like this is the power of words. It was really beautifully done.
“Yesterday for instance, I was traveling on a Southwest flight. Southwest is already known as the airline that moves people physically. On my flight was a flight attendant that was helping with this flight and it was her first day of work and her birthday. As we landed, we were just taxiing to get to the gate and the other flight attendant says, ‘Hi everyone, I wanted to let you know that it is Heidi’s first day at work and would like all of you to sing happy birthday as we are taxing.' Now here you have a 100 people or so, all strangers, singing happy birthday to Heidi. As we are taxing on this area, I just thought that moment was so touching for some reason.
“I went to Toronto once. They have these restaurants in the dark and you are served by blind people. Before you go in, you have the choice to order something you can see or you have the choice to choose something from the surprise menu. I picked that choice and I went in with a client of mine in Toronto. The minute you get in everything is pitch black and you are being guided by your waiter. You find your way and sit down with no notion if you are surrounded by 5 people, 50 people, or in the middle of the restaurant. You just hear the noises of the silverware. At some point not too far away from us, there are some people eating and we hear the waiter recognize, ‘Oh I am so glad that it is your birthday!’ So here I am singing happy birthday in a foreign language, in a foreign land, to someone I don’t know.”