December 1, 2017

‘Power of Moments’ isolates impressions that drive us

“The Power of Moments” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, 2017, Simon & Schuster, $29, 307 pages.

It was quite the event.

Your staff members really outdid themselves, and you were proud of them. Everybody pitched in, clients were overjoyed, and there wasn’t one attendee who didn’t leave without a smile and a promise to come back next year. In “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath, you’ll see how to make your event even better.

Think back to all the biggest, best memories of your life: That milestone birthday party. Your first kiss. The day you got married or became a parent. You can remember those things like they happened this morning. So how do you make those kinds of impressions with your business?

The answer lies in the making of memories, or “defining moments,” as the authors call them. Those are moments that truly stick out, the lagniappes that make you rave about a hotel; the reasons you love your banker; why you shop where you shop. Many people think that those most memorable moments just happen, but Heath and Heath say that manufactured ones are equally defining, as long as they have at least one of these four elements:

— Pride occurs when we are at our best. It’s when you finally finish a 5K, after being a couch potato all your life. It’s when the CEO offers kudos. It’s when you finally land that difficult sale.

— Connection is completely social. A wedding, a team breakthrough, a “work triumph,” friends-only weekend, or graduation. These things strengthen relationships “because we share them with others.”

— Insight changes perception. It’s that moment when you know you’re going to quit your job, start a new business or eliminate a nasty habit. Insight, as a defining moment, might be a “pit,” rather than a “peak” in emotion.

— Elevation is when something is memorably delightful. A free coffee from a random barista, a rite of passage that’s unexpected, or small lagniappes that don’t have to cost much but that delight employees as much as customers. “Break the script” to get to an elevation moment.

“Once you realize how important moments can be,” say the authors, “it’s easy to spot opportunities to shape them.”

So many competitors, so little time to best them all in your customers’ minds. How can your business do that in this ad-saturated season?

“The Power of Moments” tells you, but first, authors Chip and Dan Heath will get you thinking about your own memorable moments in business, leisure and social time. Remembering them, and reading the anecdotes that Heath and Heath hold up as examples, leads to seeing why those events left an imprint in our minds and how they might be re-created with a business focus. The authors also include comprehensive wrap-ups at the end of each chapter, further step-by-step tales of problems solved, and plenty of cautions.

As it turns out, making an impact can backfire spectacularly.

And that, it seems, could lead to an impactful experience, couldn’t it — and another instance of definition? So then, just reading “The Power of Moments” could become a big event.

Terri Schlichenmeyer reviews books about businesses and business practice.


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