Our 4MAT team headed to the Serious Business conference in New Orleans to facilitate a best practice learning session and to take in the great line-up of presenters. Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate, shared a great story about her experience riding Walt Disney World’s Mission to Mars® attraction.
Hogshead shared that when you approach the entrance to the ride, you are given one of two options which we will call “intense” and “neutral.” The intense version promises danger, extreme risk and possible heart failure. The signs posted which predict possible death from the ride, the smell of fear and the attendant’s final warning before getting into the ride all escalate the anticipation of the ride. The neutral ride, on the other hand, promises a fun, safe ride for the weak at heart. Hogshead chose the intense version and lived to tell about it.
The minute she survived the intense version of the ride, Hogshead began to wonder what was the difference between the intense and neutral versions of the ride. She was compelled to go back and see for herself. Are you wondering what the difference was? No difference, whatsoever. Yep, those Disney folks are so clever.
I’ve been researching this concept of what makes an event memorable and believe there are three elements that contribute to the “memorability” of an event: anticipation, the peak of the experience (good or bad) and the tail end of the experience.
Anticipation: Think about how you anticipate and plan for vacations, weddings, that special night out … the more you anticipate, the more positive energy you bring to the experience.
Peak moment: When the peak of an experience is positive, the experience tends to be labeled as positive. When the peak moment is negative, it colors the rest of the experience. Think about that food poisoning from the sushi in Mexico. Food poisoning=Bad Trip.
The Tail End: When the peak positive moment comes at the end of an experience, you walk out on a high. Think of the encore at a rock concert — exploding fireworks, thousands of frenzied fans screaming and the lead singer smashing his guitar. Most excellent.
Marketing expert, Seth Godin, shares:
“Research shows us that what people remember is far more important than what they experience … The easiest way to amplify customer satisfaction, then, is to under-promise, then increase the positive peak and make sure it happens near the end of the experience you provide. Easy to say, but rarely done.”
What can we learn from this? Three ways to make training memorable:
1. Increase anticipation of the event. Think about how you can focus positive attention on the event before the event begins. Themes, invitations, reflective reading, provocative quotes are some of the many ways to get people thinking before they arrive.
2. Increase the “positive peak.” Powerful learning experiences include powerful learning moments. How can you amplify this? Are there any detractors from the experience that you can minimize or eliminate?
3. Create a memorable ending. If you had to graph the trajectory of a learning experience, where does it peak? Is the best, most powerful moment happening near the end of a learning event? Or, does the experience start strong and trend downward from there?
Can you think of an experience that created anticipation and/or included a positive peak moment near the end?