As we round out the holiday season with a new year, experiences are at the top of your mind. How many times have you asked or been asked, “How were your holidays?” or “What was that show/family event/trip like?” And as we look ahead, we envision great experiences for 2020 through goal and intention. We’re mentally set to make it all happen.
Over my holiday, I began reading, “Designing Experiences” by J. Robert Rossman and Mathew D. Duerden. My number one takeaway so far is that creating customer/employee experiences is purposeful. As with all great things, great experiences require effort, too. Did you know that “by 2025, Millennials and the younger generations will account for 75% of all consumers and travellers”? What that tells us is we’ll continue to see increased attention toward experiences as motivation, inspiration, goals and how we go about designing our professional and personal lives.
So what really makes an experience a great one–one worth mentioning and sharing? This is what I’ve learned so far.
WELL PLANNED/THOUGHT OUT
The first factor of great experiences is that they’re well planned or well thought out. What that says deep down is that the right amount of planning along with action is key. And this matters whether you’re reading with a brand in mind or thinking of personal experiences you want to create and have.
Planning well doesn’t mean to plan for perfection. If you do that, you probably won’t execute. Planning well does mean that you plan with intention and pay attention to details. Those details will vary from one experience to another, but they’re always going to be important.
As a result, you won’t think twice about the positive feelings that come with these experiences; it’s expected in a way. It’s meant to be like that.
Next, great experiences are immersive or engaging. Think of any time you’ve felt immersed–in a game, a book, at a concert or sporting event. We like to be engaged. Any entertainer, artist or speaker understands as they’ll ask audiences to cheer as a sign of excitement or to compete in the room or support one another, or raise your hand “if you…,” or even invite some of you to come up onto the stage.
Engaging experiences tend to create stronger memories because you or your audience are actively participating and experiencing.
YOU ARE A DESIGNER
Lastly, you are a designer and that means quite a few things. Firstly, you have the ability to influence your own and others’ level or participation, and therefore the overall perception of a good, bad, or great experience. Think of an event which you and some friends attended, and your level of enthusiasm and your friends’ levels didn’t match up. Maybe someone wanted to stay on the sideline or that someone was you.
Secondly, you can design your experiences. Say you were the one on the sideline of the dance or concert or speaking event. You can now create a great event where there’s comfort or a level of engagement that is more in line with what you seek. Perhaps that’s a monthly book club with the same friends or a different group. Perhaps that’s a weekend employee retreat instead of a day at an amusement park or ballgame trip.
The design is up to you.
The reason designing experiences is so important is because they will stand out so positively in the mind. Bad or terrible experiences stand out, too, sure, though as ones you don’t want to have again or remember. That only emphasizes the significance of intention when you design your next experience.
Practice designing personal or professional/brand experiences with this exercise:
Identify the experience you’re going to design or would like to have. Then, think and write down all the ways it could go wrong. From start to finish. Once you’re done, you’ve now identified all the details to pay attention to.
Now, think and write all the ways the experience could go GREAT. Because you already identified what details to pay attention to, you’re better prepared to create its opposite–the optimal experience– with intention, purpose, deliberate engagement and results in mind.
Do this exercise with me! Download How to Design Great Experiences worksheet
Not sure what to do or where to go next? Not all of us are ready to design the next experiences for ourselves or our brand. Book a One Note Session with me today and I’ll walk you through strategies and insight for your personal or professional growth so you can start experiencing your best note!
Do you consider yourself an experience designer? Drop a comment below on what you’ve learned about great experiences. Feel free let me know how the exercise went for you! And of course, keep those design factors in mind as you begin to create, and go out and experience your best note.