The Power of Creating a Memorable Experience

growth mindset Mar 06, 2023


What is it that makes some experiences so memorable that they really touch us, and make us want to tell our friends all about them? And how can we tap into this power to create meaningful, memorable experiences for the people we serve?


Links for Today's Show


What Makes an Experience Memorable?

We've all been impacted by memorable experiences in some way, haven't we?

An experience is memorable because of how it touched or spoke to us, stuck with us long past the experience, and motivated us to some kind of action, which could be as simple as telling others about it, or something else.

Sometimes memorable experiences just happen - like when we take the family camping and it rains for days and we're stuck in the tent the whole time playing games. No one would have asked for a washout camping trip, but it created a memorable shared experience that the family still talks about years later.

But memorable experiences can also be created, and certain businesses, like Disney and Apple, are famous for creating memorable experiences for their customers. 

How would our families, churches, and businesses be different if we got better at creating memorable experiences that build a deeper connection between us and the people we love and serve?


What a DIY Flower Demo Taught Me About Creating a Memorable Experience

This past weekend I attended the West Michigan Home & Garden Show, an annual expo at our local convention center. The huge exhibit halls are filled with booths and displays hosted by dozens of landscapers, remodelers, home improvement products, etc.

I always love this event because, no matter what our Michigan weather feels like outside on an early March weekend, it always feels and smells like spring inside the convention center, because of the beautiful landscapes that are showcased - complete with trees, flowers, wood chips, stone walkways, water features, and more.

In addition, there are several event stages where "experts" do demonstrations - everything from cooking to DIY remodeling, landscaping, flowers, home organizing, and more.

One of my favorite things to do is sit in on cooking demos, because you get free samples, of course! And this year did not disappoint, because I enjoyed some really great elotes street corn and carnitas tacos.


I sat in on another demo I hadn't expected to appreciate as much. It was a flower arranging demonstration hosted by a famous local guy who has his own show on PBS, with quite the national and international following. His name is J Schwanke (pictured), and his TV show is called J Schwanke's Life in Bloom. Have you ever watched it?

To be honest, I was surprised at how simple J made it look to make your own cut flower arrangements from flowers in your own garden or yard, or flowers you picked up at a farmers market or bought at a local store.

He actually made me believe that I could do it myself, which completely surprised me!

And one thing that was really cool besides, was how, after he made a cut flower arrangement, he gave it away to someone in the audience. He had several additional bunches of flowers, which he gave away as well. I think 15-20 people got free flowers to take home!

But it wasn't just that he gave flowers away. It was how he gave them away.

You could tell that J really delighted in his craft of showing us how easy it is to create these flower arrangements. But he was equally excited about how he selected which person should receive each one. It felt like, for a moment, he made a personal connection with each person.


5 Keys for Creating a Memorable Experience

So what are some things I learned from this experience? Here are 5 takeaways for creating a memorable experience:

  1. Inspiration - J helped me believe something about myself, that if he could learn a few simple techniques for arranging flowers, I could too. He gave me confidence by showing me how easy it is to arrange cut flowers to add beauty to my home. And now I'm convinced that I can do it, and I'm committed giving it a try this spring.
  2. Fun - J had so much fun creating the flower arrangements, and his energy and excitement rubbed off on everyone in the audience. It was contagious. And as I mentioned, he had just as much fun deciding who should receive each flower gift. J definitely made their day. And everyone in the audience cheered and celebrated as each gift was given and received.
  3. Connection - J's generosity and enthusiasm created a more meaningful or deeper connection between him and the audience. Each gift endeared himself to us more.
  4. Intentionality - It doesn’t have to take or cost a lot to make something memorable. But it does take intentionality. J made the effort to have all these flowers with him at the show - way more than he needed to do his demo. But it made his demo so much more interesting and fun for everyone, and he gained many new fans - myself included - as a result! 
  5. Permission - Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to do for some what you wish you could do for all. In times past I've suffered from the limited thinking that says, "Because I can't do ____ for everybody, I'm not going to do it for anybody." I now believe this presents a false choice. J didn't give everyone flowers. I didn't get any. (Sniff!) But he created a memorable experience for some that rubbed off on us all. Enough so that I'm here telling you about it now. Even though I myself didn't get any of the flowers. Oh, did I mention that already?


The Power of a Not-So-Memorable Experience

After J Schwanke's flower arranging demo, the next person to take the stage showcased an interesting product that he created - a self-watering flower pot/planter.

It was definitely an innovative and interesting product. And one that I'd like to have in my own landscape. But the presentation was mostly information, not inspiration.

The product was special. But the presentation didn't really match it.

I'm not knocking the guy, I'm just drawing a distinction between these two experiences, which again spoke to me of the power of a memorable experience to create inspiration, energy, and connection, and the power of a not-so-memorable experience, which is interesting but not life changing.


How Can We Create Memorable Experiences for Those We Serve?

And this caused me to reflect on how many times I've been "all info" and "no inspo," and wonder what I could do this week to make something "routine" more memorable for someone else?

How can I inspire someone and help them grow in their belief? How can I make it more fun? How can I deepen a connection? Be intentional about creating an experience? And do for some what I wish I could do for all?

Is there something I could do differently for you the listener to this show? Or for my guests? Or my coaching clients?

I don't have any grand answers...Just starting to ask the questions. And while I'm at it, here are two more questions, for you...

  1. What's a memorable experience that has impacted you? What made it memorable?
  2. What's one way you could recreate the magic from that experience, and create a memorable experience for someone else this week?


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