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Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions (Business Books) Hardcover – May 11, 2016
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From the Back Cover
“If you want to evangelize and enchant people, you must influence their memories. This book shows you how to do it.”
―Guy Kawasaki, bestselling author of Enchantment
“Carmen Simon has broken the mold by showing how to enhance memory for our good ideas―not just in ourselves but in others.”
―Robert Cialdini, bestselling author of Influence
“Residing memorably in others’ minds long enough for them to transform is how to change the world. Impossible to Ignore shows you how to do this in a well-researched and practical way.”
―Nancy Duarte, bestselling author of Resonate
“Your ideas matter. They matter a lot. You may have the greatest idea in the world, but if people can’t remember it, they won’t act on it. Carmen Simon has done a marvelous job of capturing the techniques that make your ideas stand out in a sea of information.”
―Carmine Gallo, bestselling author of Talk Like TED and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs
“This provocative book helps us to reconsider the way we craft our interactions with others in order to stay on their minds long enough to make a difference.”
―Francesca DeBiase, Chief Supply Chain and Sustainability Officer at McDonald’s Corporation
“People can’t do what you want unless they remember what you want. This insightful book is an easy-to-follow instruction manual for getting attention, being memorable, and―let’s be honest―influencing others.”
―Bruce Kasanoff, LinkedIn influencer and author of How to Self-Promote without Being a Jerk
“This book will help you leverage Dr. Simon’s brain science techniques to make your content and training not only more memorable but also more actionable.”
―Jeff Cristee, VP of Global Sales Training at Cisco
“It does not matter how much our audiences forget; what matters is that we impact the little they remember. Ensuring we do not leave our audience’s memories to chance is a skill of the future and an important premise of this book.”
―Rona Starr, Director of Supplier Workplace Accountability at McDonald’s Corporation
“This is the book marketers have been waiting for―and it couldn’t come at a better time. With the massive focus on technology’s role in marketing, we can’t forget what drives people to make decisions. Dr. Simon’s insights remind us that choice is a reaction to stimuli. As marketers, we need to think about what’s most important to us, what we want consumers to do, and to really be intentional about the stimuli we’re showing them!”
―Kevin Lindsay, Director of Product Marketing at Adobe
“Today, 53 percent of clients base their decision on the sales experience. Carmen provides memorable insights on how you can differentiate yourself from your competition that will make you stand out. This is a must-read in today’s highly competitive market!”
―Eli Boushy, Director of Sales Operations-Central at Xerox Canada, Ltd.
“Rewire how your audience thinks and behaves. Carmen shows us how to make your speech count―by deliberately leading your audience to remember, and then to act.”
―Jeremiah Owyang, CEO of Crowd Companies
“With more and more presentations delivered remotely or online, it is increasingly critical to ‘get it right.’ Impossible to Ignore provides proven techniques to ensure your presentations, whether in person or online, are impossible to forget.”
―Malcolm Lotzof, CEO of Inxpo
“Anyone in marketing should understand the brain science of attention, memory, and decision-making. Impossible to Ignore describes complex concepts in a very engaging manner and offers practical examples to help translate psychological principles into application.”
―Leah VanZelm, Vice President of Audience Strategy at Merkle
“Our agency spends every day building and delivering experiences that are impactful and memorable. Dr. Simon reveals a breakthrough approach to influencing other people’s memories of the future as a way to shape their behavior. Impossible to Ignore will become an essential part of our strategic planning process.”
―Chris Meyer, CEO, George P Johnson Experience Marketing
“It is important to dream big about resolving important issues: climate change, alternative energy, boosting the economy. And in that process, others must remember your dreams. Big dreams are never accomplished solo. Dr. Simon’s book points to the benefits of social memory: it is only when others remember us that we impact important issues and become impossible to ignore.
―Rex R. Parris, Mayor, Lancaster, California
About the Author
Carmen Simon, PhD, is changing how the world communicates. A cognitive scientist, she has helped America’s most visible brands craft memorable messages by focusing on how the brain works. Carmen is the cofounder of Rexi Media, a presentation design and training company. She holds doctorates in both instructional technology and cognitive psychology, and is a recognized expert in presentation design, delivery, and audience engagement. Her sought-after keynote speeches unveil science-based techniques for getting others to see your way, remember your way, and go your way.
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Top Customer Reviews
The intriguing premise of the book is that marketers need to create "prospective memories," i.e., memories that will be recalled when buyers are ready to take action. As I understand the concept:
The customer obtains information at time t. She needs to recall this information at time t+1, t+2 or even t+365 or more, where numbers represent days. So as a marketer, you're creating events that will be retrieved as memories at the future time when the buyer is faced with a decision.
"Prospective memory" sounds a lot more solid, intellectual and worthy of a consulting gig, compared to "getting customers to recall your message in time." But that's what it amounts to.
Most business books tend to be heavy on examples and anecdotes but light on theory and principle. This book was just the opposite. The author's PhD background was obvious. She cites a lot of studies (which I really appreciated). She shows an academic bent, distinguishing similar concepts, such as novelty and surprise, expectation and anticipation. And she didn't repeat the same-old, same-old studies. Much of the information was new.
My biggest quibble is that I'd have liked to see more practical examples of how an ordinary business could apply these principles. I was really struck by the discussion of making a PowerPoint slide stand out. That's an idea I can use immediately: I do tons of PowerPoint videos and webinars. I liked the discussion of context and cues. The section on gist vs verbatim was enlightening.
But then we get a section on "adaptive coherence," very abstract and without an obvious application. The discussion of metaphor moved into a discussion of meaning seamlessly, and I would have liked clear examples. The section on influencing with imagination will be familiar to copywriters but a few more in-depth, relevant examples would have helped.
Impossible to Ignore is densely packed with ideas and concepts. I can't hep wishing the author had focused on fewer ideas, but more in-depth. Reading this book was like racing through a museum, spending only a few seconds on each object, the way bad tour guides operate. Ironically, given the title of the book, it was hard to remember and appreciate the various concepts and ideas individually. I'm not optimistic about the creation of prospective memories!
If you are a presenter of any kind, if you're in sales, or if you are routinely faced with the task of convincing people of something and having them take concrete action, then this is one of the BEST books I've ever come across. (BTW, persuasion guru and all-around-smart-guy, Scott Adams is the one who I first heard about the book from).
HOW I FOUND IT, and WHY I LIKED IT IMMEDIATELY
Based on Scott Adams' effusive recommendation I knew I would like the book. I ordered the hard copy so I could easily flip back and forth.
After reading two chapters I decided to start furiously underlining, which I avoid with hard copy books because I feel like I'm defacing the book. I didn't care because (1) I'll buy another one later, and (2) the book became a learning tool and I intended to get the most out of it.
The book has excellent end-of-chapter summaries, but I still like underlining as I go. Oh, and I'm also writing separate notes by hand. And I'll transfer those notes over to a separate notebook, because I want to make sure to assimilate as much of this insanely valuable information as possible.
Why am I going to all this trouble? Because I intend to restructure ALL of my presentations to incorporate as many of the amazing tips as possible.
I've learned a lot about the psychology & tactics of marketing (specifically "direct marketing") and this book confirms many of the things I've learned. But it also adds some helpful nuance.
Most importantly, it's provides a clear framework for tying together a lot of (what until I read this book seemed like) disparate teachings related to cognition principles and practical psychology (especially related to sales and persuasion). The biggest insight comes when you finally take full stock of how difficult it is to get people to remember things, and then act on your recommendations.
THE BIGGEST VALUE
The biggest value, though, is the clarity of presentation—especially the concrete everyday examples, chapter summaries, and the end-of-book master checklist. I appreciated the author's offer to send me a PDF copy of the checklist, and I emailed her and she graciously sent it to me quickly and with a nice short note.