Carmen Simon is a cognitive neuroscientist, bestselling author, and leading expert on using memory to influence decision-making. Her most recent book, Impossible to Ignore: Create Memorable Content to Influence Decisions, has won the acclaim of publications such as Inc.com, Forbes, and Fast Company, and has been selected as one of the top ten books of the year. Simon speaks frequently to industry, academic, and government audiences on neuroscience research findings related to the future of the human brain against the background of automation. She has over 20 years of experience in the fields of computer interface design, and multimedia, and holds doctorates in both instructional technology and cognitive psychology.
In this conversation, Carmen discusses her keynote at the upcoming Presentation Summit 2016 series.
Geetesh: You are presenting the keynote on Wednesday called Again: How to repeat responsibly. Give us a curtain-raiser introduction to your session and what you believe the attendee will take away from your talk?
Carmen: I am excited about my presentation because it resolves the tension that often occurs in presenters’ minds: we know that repetition leads to memory, but we also know that repetition can turn to annoyance very quickly. How often can you say, “buy this product” or “believe in this idea” without sounding like a parrot and getting on people’s nerves?
Ironically, after viewing hundreds of presentations each quarter, I am noticing that the problem in business is not too much repetition, it is not enough repetition. Paired with that is also the problem of inconsistent repetition or repetition of a message without a reward. When supporters of the exit plan for England wanted to be on people’s minds, they repeated the “Take Back Control” mantra constantly. One of the main reasons it was successful was because it followed the formula: repetition reward.
Overall, after attending the keynote, participants will take away practical techniques for addressing questions such as why repeat a message, how to repeat a message (and how often), and when is an optimal time to repeat so the brain remembers. And all of this only matters because customers make decisions in your favor based on what they remember, not on what they forget. Optimal repetition can indeed open doors.
Geetesh: Carmen, you have done several keynotes at the Presentation Summit conferences in the past. What is your secret in successfully delivering fresh, new content each time?
Carmen: It is easy to find fresh content. Just pay attention to challenges you have when you’re creating your own presentations or other people’s presentations. Our firm, Memzy, uses brain science to create corporate presentations and/or deliver brain science workshops. In that process, I look for frequent questions people ask when they work with me or when they attend our workshops. A recent technique I’ve embedded in every single presentation our firm creates is the repetition of a consistent message. If I were to generalize, regardless of the format (presentation, blog, conversation), I’ve been coaching clients to constantly return to one main, consistent message, regardless of the length of a segment (e.g., speaking for 10 minutes or one hour or one day). But this advice begs the question: how do you repeat without running something into the ground? And that’s where the idea of “optimal repetition” for the keynote came from: people’s fear of looking foolish in front of an audience.
Repetition leads to memory but… does it also lead to annoyance?
What is the Presentation Summit?
For many years now, Rick Altman has been hosting the Presentation Summit, a highly popular event that is geared towards users of PowerPoint and other presentation platforms.
Date: October 23 to 26, 2016
Location: Green Valley Ranch, Las Vegas, United States
The views and opinions expressed in this blog post or content are those of the authors or the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.