The 2017 Presentation Summit will kick off Monday morning, Sep 25, with one of its most popular speakers of all time, as Dr. Carmen Simon delivers the conference’s opening keynote address.
The noted neuroscientist and author of the newly-acclaimed Impossible to Ignore, Dr. Simon will speak on “The Fiction of Storytelling,” and will challenge conference patrons to answer the question: “How do you become truly memorable?”
This theme is in keeping with the conference’s mantra of not becoming too comfortable with any particular principle or point of view. The power and the value of storytelling have both been spoken to many times; now Simon believes it is time for us to gently challenge the notion that being a good storyteller is sufficient for your narrative to be remembered by your audience.
“There are not too many people on this Earth who get a permanent invitation to speak at our conference,” says Rick Altman, who has acted as the conference’s host and organizer since its inception in 2003. “But Carmen is one of those people. I know that year after year, she is going to deliver incredibly fresh and vital ideas, she is going to challenge our conventional thinking, and she is going to charm the socks off of all of us.”
Indeed, Dr. Simon has spoken on topics as far reaching as the concept of nothingness, the tyranny of making excuses, the science of boredom, the robotizing of communication, and perhaps most famously, how the art of seduction can help you as a presenter. In support of these various topics, she has indulged the host in a variety of ways, including agreeing to play tennis with him, on stage, wearing four-inch heels.
“I am really excited to be back at the Summit this year,” says Simon. “Besides its undeniable professional impact, each time I return, it feels like participating in a big family reunion. I get to spend time with the cute sisters who always carry a notebook, the smart aunts who are terribly shy, and the crazy cousin with a secret obsession with symmetry.”
“Well, if we’re that family,” responds Altman, “Carmen fits right in. You might go through your whole life without meeting someone as intriguing as she, and we are so incredibly blessed and grateful to have her join us anytime she can.”
Her bio hints at the intrigue. For one, Dr. Simon is a cognitive neuroscientist, a profession that you don’t encounter every day, and her area of specialty is in using memory to influence decision-making. Her most recent book, Impossible to Ignore: Create Memorable Content to Influence Decisions, has been selected as one of the top ten books of the year by the Persuasion Reading List. She holds doctorates in both instructional technology and cognitive psychology. And finally, she will deliver the keynote in her fourth language, English, behind French, Italian, and her native language of Romanian, where she spent the first 22 years of her life.
“See what I mean?” Altman concludes. “Everything about Carmen is unique.”
Preparation for Simon’s keynote begins right now, as she invites you to participate in her research study (irrespective of your intention to attend the conference). “Staying on someone’s mind is critical to business success,” she notes. “How do we stay on people’s minds? Everyone is invited to participate in a study on how storytelling impacts memory.” www.memorybydesign.com/research
Register this month for the Summit and get a free year of membership to the Presentation Guild, the newest advocacy and support group for presentation professionals. That’s a $99 value available to the first 100 to sign up for the conference. (Existing members of the Guild will get a 12-month extension.)