Any golf fans out there? Though I rarely play any more, I remain a huge golf fan. As all such beings know: this is U.S. Open week. It's showtime. This is one of the year's four major events in the world of professional golf. The scene for this year's contest is Torrey Pines in San Diego.
My brain has locked onto the fact that The Open always falls on Father's Day weekend. Golf is something that I've shared and enjoyed with my Dad for many years. So it holds a special element of significance for me, which makes this one of my favorite weeks of the year.
This morning my thoughts raced back, in fast-rewind mode, searching for U.S. Open recollections. Despite having attended last year's Open at Oakmont, what came to mind for me was the 1999 contest. Payne Stewart wrested the '99 trophy from Phil Michelson at Pinehurst. It was a dramatic and turbulent battle. On that Father's Day Sunday, Stewart prevailed as champion. I clearly remember that Michelson was about to become a father, carrying a pager and "on alert" the whole weekend. In a sweet and classy moment, Stewart upon sinking the winning putt, rushed to embrace runner-up Michelson and to offer the advice that becoming a father was a far greater reward than the trophy. (Sadly, Payne Stewart would die in a plane crash later that year.)
This story of the 1999 U.S. Open and all of its sideline elements are all so clear to me. But why? What makes that event so memorable? The answer is emotion. The details are so clear and vivid in our brains because they were etched into those neurons with emotion.
Powerful, powerful thing, emotion. The drama of the contest fueled the emotion. The expectancy and anticipation of the Michelsons' coming child added to the emotion. The tender moment between Stewart and Michelson: more emotion. Moreover, the year was 1999, one in which the whole world was amped-up a notch or two for the coming Millennium. (remember Y2K?) And of course, the whole episode was further etched with another dousing of emotion related to Stewart's tragic, untimely death.
Want to make your important stories more memorable? Inject some emotion. Whether you are giving a 15-minute speech to the local Lions Club, or crafting a 00:30 television advertisement designed to spearhead the launch of a new product, throw some emotion into it. The emotional elements don't have to be sad or nostalgic, joy and humor work well, too.
And if you want to learn how to make your stories more emotional--or more "sticky"--check out our previous posts on storytelling, persuasion, emotion, creativity and color.